New digs: More construction on West Main

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Uncommon folks could be drawn to this residential area in the works. Photo by Erdy McHenry Architecture Uncommon folks could be drawn to this residential area in the works. Photo by Erdy McHenry Architecture

The mixed-use residential complex going up on West Main and 10th streets now has an official name: Uncommon. And the developers have a description of the type of people they hope will live there.

“Uncommoners are trendsetters who don’t try too hard,” the development’s website says, but this hip tagline doesn’t describe the planning they’ve put into building such trendy digs.

The city had previously granted a special use permit to build a nine-floor, 101-foot structure, but Erin Hannegan from Mitchell Matthews Architects says the residential building “was reduced for a variety of reasons.”

That’s probably just as well after the outcry following the development of The Flats @ West Village, the sheer bulk of which has caused some city councilors to ask whether such density is appropriate for West Main.

According to the developer, Ryan Doody of CA Student Living in Chicago, a smaller building with fewer units is better suited to fit the needs of the student population and is more in tune with the character of West Main Street.

Charlottesville city planner Brian Haluska says the decision on how high to build a particular site comes from cost of land, construction type, terms of the loan, minimum requirements or formalities of the building and that “there aren’t many sites left for large scale brand new buildings,” on West Main.

The Sycamore House Hotel is a nine-story hotel in review, but beyond that, he doesn’t see many more popping up.

This hotel will be built where the current Sycamore House Studio Art Shop sits at 1108 West Main St.—right down the block from Uncommon. John Bartelt, owner of the art shop, says the development of West Main Street isn’t preferred, but it’s inevitable. He’s noticed more foot traffic past his shop since the opening of The Flats.

“I don’t know if it necessarily translates to more business,” he says, “Probably not.”

Bartelt thinks business on West Main won’t increase until more retail shops are created instead of residential areas. He says the 7,100-square feet of retail provided by Uncommon isn’t enough.

The now six-floor, 66-foot-tall residential complex at Uncommon will house 162 units of 4-bedroom, 3-bedroom, 2-bedroom and studio apartments. Uncommon will include a community room along Roosevelt Brown Boulevard, which will be similar to CitySpace on the Downtown Mall, and scheduling preference will be given to the Fifeville and 10th and Page neighborhoods or residents in the building, according to Hannegan.

Residential and commercial parking will be under the building and the complex will include a fitness room, study lounge, club room, yoga studio and terrace-level swimming pool.

“Uncommoners live on the edge, but just down the street,” the Uncommon website says. As developments in this area continue popping up, more and more people may soon be “living on the edge” in an area that once took pride in staying true to its historic aesthetic.

However, Haluska says the building was approved by the Board of Architectural Review, which ensures that new construction is compatible with existing historic districts. Now that it’s only six floors, it will better fall in line with the UVA Children’s Hospital, which was an original concern, Haluska says.

And the changing of West Main continues across the street from Uncommon, where the former Team Tire building is being renovated for as-yet-undisclosed retail/restaurant use, according to Ecorp Real Estate president Mark Green.