The Martha Jefferson neighborhood, located in the heart of Charlottesville, is bordered by North Downtown, Woolen Mills and Belmont, is facing a significant transition – Martha Jefferson is leaving the neighborhood. This neighborhood is a prime example of how quickly a neighborhood can change, and also why it is important for a buyer to do his or her own due diligence when shopping for a home. Already, developments are popping up in the new location, marketing themselves due to their close proximity to the new hospital location.
From the C’Ville Design Center’s excellent site:
The Martha Jefferson Hospital is the major center of activity and employment in the plan area, which generates some related uses in the neighborhood, including a number of doctor’s offices. Historic Maplewood Cemetery is located just to the west of the plan area but within the MJANA area, with graves dating from the 1840’s. Taylor Walk at the Martha Jefferson Hospital commemorates Fairfax Taylor, the first African American property owner in the area. Fairfax Taylor and his family lived in the neighborhood during the mid 19th Century.
Homes’ ages range from the early 1900’s to the 1970’s with the odd new, in-fill home here and there.
Garages/Basements: Finding a garage would be rare. Finding a functional (clean, dry) basement – not so difficult, but your definition of functional may change from “livable” to “I could do laundry here.”
Home prices and Architecture: the gamut. From ranches to capes. From 1920’s to 1950’s cottages. From this $449k brick home to this nearly $2 million home.
Topography: Mostly level, with sidewalks on Locust Avenue.
Being an older, established neighborhood, the homes are older themselves, and have many of the limitations that come along with purchasing an older home – potentially smaller homes with more traditional, separated floorplans – versus the current trend towards open floorplans, systems that may be in need of attention and generally they are less energy-efficient. However … two of the most compelling reasons to move to the Martha Jefferson neighborhood are the mature trees and sidewalks that make for an easy walk to the Downtown Mall.
The question remains – What will the Martha Jefferson neighborhood look like … when Martha Jefferson leaves?
Rumor: I have heard a rumor that UVA will be buying the soon-to-be-old hospital …
Update 02/04/2008: “A once in a generation opportunity” to redevelop the Martha Jefferson site.