Two construction projects advance

Two major UVA projects were up for review in the City and County earlier this month. A parking garage set for W. Main Street got the nod from City Council, and the County Planning Commission approved additional square footage for Fontaine Research Park.

A special-use permit was approved by City Council for a parking garage on W. Main Street. The garage will be used to replace the West Parking Deck at Lee Street and Jefferson Park Avenue, which is coming down to make way for the planned Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center.

Currently, a surface-level parking lot exists in the location near 11th Street NW. But, before the garage can be built, UVA faces a few hurdles.

The City Planning Commission has already expressed concerns about the effect of a parking garage on street appeal on West Main and asked for some mixed-use development. UVA said it would consider adding commercial space, possibly for a pharmacy, to the future clinical office building.

Before UVA can build, Cochran Street, a small dead-end road that intersects 11th Street between W. Main and Lee streets, must be closed. But, VaParc, LLC, a parking company that provides service to hospital patients, has objections.

John Russell, an attorney hired by that company, told Council that closing Cochran Street would redirect entrance and exit points to VaParc’s property and would increase traffic on 11th Street. “It’s abundantly clear that VAParc is going to be irreparably harmed,” Russell said. He also claimed UVA didn’t adequately discuss it with VaParc beforehand.

But, upon further questioning by Council, Russell acknowledged that entrances to the VaParc property wouldn’t be restricted by the project. The Cochran Street closing will be discussed again at the next City Council meeting on November 20.

“There’s some public interest in closing Cochran Street…insofar as the hospital provides a public service to all of us,” Councilor Kevin Lynch said.

UVA is also growing at Fontaine Research Park: The County Planning Commission approved an underground building, adjacent to the Advanced Research and Technology (ART) building, that will add 30,000 feet of space for a Life Sciences Annex. That would bring Fontaine to 565,000 square feet.

The County Planning Commission wondered if any plans are in the works for mixed-use at Fontaine. But Frederick A. Missel, director of design and development for UVA Real Estate Foundation, says it’s not a priority right now. “The space for research is so valuable and so limited that it’s been found that research really has to trump that,” he says. “As we go forward with the growth of the park, there’s a good chance that that might be something that’s needed and would be included in the future.”

This isn’t the first time UVA has discussed adding significant square footage to the resesarch park. As covered in C-VILLE in September, Executive Vice President Leonard Sandridge is discussing with the County the possibility of adding 500,000 square feet of space.

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