Frequently Asked Questions, UVA Affordable Housing Initiative


What is UVA trying to do?

UVA has established a goal to develop 1,000 to 1,500 affordable housing units over a decade on land in Charlottesville and/or Albemarle County that is owned by UVA or the UVA Foundation.


How does this project define affordable?

The development partners are being asked to maximize the affordability of the housing units. We anticipate a range of affordability, with final details dependent on financing, entitlement process, community input, etc. 


A lot of organizations are already doing affordable housing work in Charlottesville and Albemarle. Where will UVA fit in so that they are not competing for funding or duplicating efforts?

We want to understand the community's perspective on how we can participate in the overall affordable housing solution. The selected developer(s) will be tasked with ongoing community engagement to keep communication open. The developer(s) will need to bring deep experience in creative financing. 


Are you aware of the many studies and resources that already have been developed by others? How are your coordinating with the City and County?  

We understand that there have been quite a few community engagement initiatives by various groups in recent years, and we want to learn from the existing work and gain additional insight without duplicating prior efforts. We have been gathering information about work throughout the City and the County to build a collection of resources to study. If there are other studies we should be aware of, please email [email protected]Both the City and County are represented on the Advisory Group for the project, along with local organizations involved in this work.


Are you looking for opportunities to do mixed use, mixed income housing? Low-income housing?  What about home ownership?

The University wants to make an additive contribution that is desirable in the community. The selected development partners will work with the community to determine the best use for each site.


Why is UVA getting involved in Affordable Housing work?

Affordable Housing has been identified by the community as a priority and an area that UVA could work on with community partners.

Among the key initiatives in the University’s
strategic plan is the Good Neighbor Program that calls for the University to work collaboratively with our community partners to address challenges that include housing. Affordable Housing is one of five working groups working under the auspices of the President’s Council on UVA-Community Partnerships.


Is UVA trying to make a profit?

The University is not trying to make a profit. The development partners named are nonprofits that have strong track records in developing plans that provide affordable solutions to residents in their communities.


When will the units be built? 

The timing will depend on many factors, including financing, entitlement process, rezoning, etc. To begin, the University of Virginia Foundation is in a process of due diligence and negotiation with the selected development partners. Construction is not expected to begin before 2025 at the earliest.


Where will the units be built?

UVA announced that three properties in Charlottesville and Albemarle County owned by the University or the University of Virginia Foundation have been selected as the sites proposed for a new housing development initiative. The announcement follows careful analysis of land holdings and months of community engagement. The sites are:

  • At the current location of UVA's Piedmont Housing off Fontaine Avenue.
  • At the corner of Wertland and 10th streets.
  • Portions of North Fork, a UVA Discovery Park, on US 29 North.

Existing structures, other than a historic structure on the Piedmont site, would likely be replaced with new development. Leases for current tenants of Piedmont Housing and 1010 Wertland St. will be honored through their duration.



Are these units to be occupied by community members not associated with UVA? Student pressures cause high rents throughout city. 

The intention is to serve the community broadly. The units are not intended for students. In addition to this affordable housing initiative, UVA is studying the possibility of housing all second-year students on Grounds as part of a multi-pronged approach to creating affordable housing solutions. We hope this effort would alleviate some pressure on the rental market in Charlottesville. We hope to contribute by both providing more housing on Grounds for students and by supporting the development of affordable housing units for community members.


How will this project help marginalized groups? 

The development principles are foundational to our work. The principles were co-created with the community and endorsed by the Advisory Group. The development principles will guide the selected developer(s), who will be expected to adhere to them during the planning, construction, and operation of new communities. The principles state that developers should offer creative solutions that consider opportunities for marginalized groups.


What will happen to current residents of Piedmont Housing and 1010 Wertland?

Leases for current tenants of Piedmont Housing and 1010 Wertland Street will be honored through their duration. 


How will development on these sites be funded? Is UVA paying for it?

UVA's contribution in this initiative is the land, which will be made available to the developer(s) at nominal cost. This contribution removes the expensive component of land costs from the developments and will enable the units to be more affordable.


Will UVA build the units itself?

The University will work with a third-party developer - or developers - selected from a formal Request for Proposals (RFP) process. The RFP included development principles that were informed by community input.


Will UVA offer capital in addition to land?

At this time, we are offering land with the idea that will it enable affordable housing to be built in areas that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive because of the cost of land in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. We know it will take a lot of creativity to make the financials on each project work and we will look to potential development partners to think outside the box along with us. UVA is committed to supporting the development of 1,000-1,500 affordable housing units. 


Are donor funds supporting UVA’s affordable housing work?

No, donor contributions intended to support UVA are not being used for this initiative.