February 2018: Redevelopment Update
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE FOR REDEVELOPMENT
Friendship Court is home to 150 families. For some who rely on fixed incomes (SSI, disability, etc.), Section 8 housing at Friendship Court will possibly always be home for them. For others, Friendship Court is a stepping stone that helps stabilize turbulent economic or social conditions.
Every one of these families deserves to feel pride in the place they call home. The redevelopment of Friendship Court promises beautiful, safe, high-quality housing – this is part of the answer. Every one of these families also deserves the opportunity to grow and prosper. The redevelopment of Friendship Court can be a catalyst for economic transformation for families living at Friendship Court. We will pursue a broad range of wealth-building and educational opportunities and support structures including, but not limited to job training, exploring opportunities for worker-owned cooperatives, the development of an early childhood center, and the incubation of resident-owned business initiatives. These efforts will lace through all conversations and decisions along the redevelopment pathway.
We absolutely and unequivocally commit to ZERO DISPLACEMENT. The first phase of housing will be built on existing open land. Once that housing is complete, a portion of residents will move in. The resulting empty units will then be demolished and new housing will be built there. The next set of residents will then move in when the second phase of housing is complete. This process will repeat.
ROBUST, AUTHENTIC RESIDENT ENGAGEMENT
The redevelopment process is fundamentally predicated on benefitting the residents. The Friendship Court Advisory Committee was created more than 18 months ago to provide critically important input and guidance on how the redevelopment proceeds. The Advisory Committee is comprised of nine current residents, including two youth. The current residents were elected by their neighbors to represent them through the process. The Advisory Committee has an additional six members representing the at-large community, including one former Friendship Court resident.
February 2018 • As we refine and iterate the framework provided by the Master Plan, the Advisory Committee is participating in a series of design workshops (charrettes) as well as visiting relevant mixed-income developments in the DC area to speak with residents in those communities. In February 2018, we will have refined insights on the redevelopment plan to bring to the rest of the Friendship Court community. Through a series of group meetings and reaching out door-to-door, we will endeavor to get thorough feedback/input from the community of residents.
By April 2018 • After getting direct feedback from the broader community of residents, we will aim to have a finalized redevelopment plan fully supported by the Advisory Committee so that we can have the architects and engineers start their formal drawings for Phase 1 in April 2018.
May 2018 onwards • The resident engagement process will continue, but shift focus to other critical topics – building and apartment designs, the early childhood center, wealth building/workforce opportunities, open space details, commercial and retail spaces, etc.
PHASE 1 SCHEDULE
The first new housing will open in 2021. We are working earnestly to meet the timeline for Phase 1 in an achievable fashion that balances a variety of important factors:
Robust and meaningful resident engagement;
Time-driven financing deadlines;
Planning for additional vital amenities, particularly the Early Childhood Center;
Increasing competitiveness for critical financing (Low Income Housing Tax Credits); and
The desire to get started!
We are working very hard to make sure all these factors line up. Nonetheless, there will continue to be some factors fundamentally outside of our control (federal budget changes, local and state budgetary restrictions, construction costs, etc.). Assuming all goes according to plan, residents will move into the first new housing in 2021.
OVERALL PHASING STRATEGY
We are aiming to reduce the number of redevelopment phases to four. All residents will be re-housed by the end of the third phase. The master plan called for six residential phases. This pushed the arc of redevelopment as far out as 2031. The residents have expressed deep concern about this length of time. Additionally, from a risk management perspective, redevelopment depends on a stable economy over its course. Obviously, this is difficult to guarantee.
For both of these reasons, we are exploring how to reduce the number of phases to four. After preliminary assessment, four phases seem to be the minimum amount while also balancing other needs and desires for the site overall.
We are aiming to increase the number of tiered intermediate affordable units in the redevelopment. Ideally we’ll build 150 additional affordable apartments. Though the affordable housing crisis in Charlottesville has been growing for years, the difficult events of this summer have brought the issue front and center. Folks all over the city are referencing the need for affordable housing as a potential pathway to address the history of inequity and injustice in the City.
Further, residents have continually stated the need for opportunities for staying onsite as their income increases. Currently, residents who increase their income risk “income qualifying” out of Friendship Court – they then have nowhere to move to in the City that they can afford.
In light of both these issues, we have been exploring how to increase the number of tiered “intermediate affordable” units in the redevelopment (30-60% area median income).
Additionally, we have a continued commitment to including market rate apartments in the development. The market rate units will provide some subsidy to the financing of the affordable units. Additionally, though there continues to be questions about the appropriate ratios, the inclusion of the market rate units begins to weave our community together.
We are excited to present our work to date on the Master Plan for the future of Friendship Court. The plan incorporates the work of many of you, including Friendship Court residents, City leaders and staff, our design team, and others in the community.
For the 150 families who call Friendship Court home – including more than 250 children – redevelopment means opportunity, hope for a brighter future, and uncertainty about how it will all unfold. For the larger Charlottesville community, redevelopment represents the chance to remake a large part of our downtown and to get it right, creating new housing, jobs, and infrastructure without displacing anyone. Our goals for the new Friendship Court include mixed income housing in a mixed-use community, with 150 units of Section 8 assisted housing, additional affordable and workforce housing, and a large complement of market-rate housing.
We are excited for the future of Friendship Court, and we want your feedback. Please review the Master Plan Update and let us know what you think. You can provide your feedback by contacting Claudette Grant, Community Organizer, at the community center, at 295-9794, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You are also welcome to provide your feedback through this quick survey. Please be sure to click “done” after the three questions. Thanks!