Tag Archives: affordable housing

The Spring 2018 Update on the Friendship Court Redevelopment

For the last 40 years, Friendship Court has been a place to call home for hundreds of families. For some, the community has been a vital stepping stone, a refuge during times of financial crisis or the first step towards self-determination. For others, especially families or individuals who depend on small, fixed incomes such as disability or social security, Friendship Court has been, and will likely continue to be, a lasting home. At the same time, some families who arrive at Friendship Court hoping for stability become entangled in the veiled web of systemic hurdles that make it so difficult for anyone to fracture generational cycles of poverty.

Nevertheless, for all the families who have called the community home over the last four decades, and for the rest of us who recognize the necessity of supporting our neighbors and families during periods of vulnerability, Friendship Court has provided critical civic infrastructure that benefits all of us – the entire community of Charlottesville.

So why are we redeveloping Friendship Court? We are doing so because it is time. It’s time to replace the 40-year old buildings that are approaching the end of their useful life. It’s time to rewrite the stigma of economic and social isolation. It’s time to engage the residents with earnest transparency and committed partnership. Though redevelopment alone can’t redress the full history of structural racism and other systemized inequities, the work of redevelopment will continue to be fundamentally rooted in bending the arc of the future.

Courtyard conversationsOver the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more details of the work we’ve accomplished so far in partnership with the residents. The focus of our work over recent months has been taking the early master plan that was released in late 2016 and listening to the community, collecting the emerging comments and concerns. In partnership with an amazing design team, inclusive of residents and community advocates on the Advisory Committee (who we’ll share more about in a future post), we have been hard at work refining the plan to address critical issues.

How many new apartments should be built? What types of housing will be built? Where will the open and green spaces be located and what character will they take? What will the income mix of future residents be? How does a new, reconnected neighborhood get built while also retaining the existent sense of culture and place? How will the redevelopment balance zero displacement while minimizing the overall timeline? How do we maintain a positive quality of life during each phase of construction?

As we begin to unveil this resident-led work, you will see a site framework that reconciles these difficult questions remarkably well. While we know a great deal of complex work and difficult decisions remain in front of us, we have built a thoughtful foundation that will lead us all, the entire community of Charlottesville, towards a more equitable and accountable future.

Visit www.friendshipcourtapartments.com to learn more and follow the community’s progress by subscribing to e-news updates.


Local Media Reports on the Development of the New Friendship Court Advisory Committee

Kathy McHugh, Housing Development Specialist, Alex Ikefuna, Director of Neighborhood Development Services and Marc Norman, design team member and a recent Loeb Fellow at the Harvard School of Design

As Piedmont Housing Alliance welcomes back their design team for the redevelopment of Friendship Court this week, they also welcomed their new fourteen-member advisory committee into the pre-development process.

Today’s Daily Progress article  highlights the new members of the advisory committee, seven of whom are Friendship Court residents with the balance being made up of city officials and other experts in the industry.  The goal of the committee, which will start meeting on a monthly basis with the design team, will be to provide guidance to Piedmont Housing in two primary areas: physical revitalization and community life.

Piedmont Housing Alliance will engage residents, neighbors and community partners in an inclusive and respectful process. Our goal is to develop a mixed-income, mixed-use community that is welcoming to all,” said Frank Grosch, CEO of the housing alliance.

NBC29 also reported on the new advisory committee being formed and quoted Piedmont Housing Alliance’s CEO, Frank Grosch: “This is really all about equity and the design and development of Friendship Court. It brings together world class architects and planners with the real experts in Friendship Court and that is the people who live there,” said Grosch.

CBS19 news was also present during the first joint meeting of the advisory committee and the design team in which the process of sharing information and expertise to build bridges to the community to help create equity in the design and development of the new Friendship Court.

The design team will be holding open office hours at the community center on Tuesday, February 9, from 1:00-4:00 pm and also on Wednesday, February 10, from 2:00-5:00 pm for anyone interested in sharing their thoughts or concerns about the redevelopment process.

For more information, please contact Community Organizer, Claudette Grant at 434-295-9794 or e-mail cgrant@piedmonthousing.org.