Keeping up with the University of Virginia’s growth plans is a darn near full time job. I had the opportunity to learn a bit about UVA’s plans for 29 North this week, thanks to the Charlottesville Realtor Association.
Key points from memory (sorry for the pictures of slides I took from the back of the Darden Auditorium)
- Reconcepting/reimagining/redesigning 29 North Research Park
- Seeking a big anchor tenant
- Mixed-use development
- Adding residential housing to the mix – condos and attached product, it seems
- Possible test track for autonomous cars
- A “hipper” design to attract young people
- A focus on healthy living and environment to attract young people (but what about old people – they want to be healthy, too!)
- Pictures of nature in the slide deck were referred to as “eye wash” which seems to me a bizarre term to describe green trees and nature.
29 North is going to become even more self-sufficient, and a separate and distinct part of Albemarle County. There will soon be even less of a reason to enter Charlottesville.
Redoing Ivy Road
The University of Virginia Board of Visitors will move forward with an ambitious “hospitality plan” to turn the land surrounding the Cavalier Inn into a hotel and conference center, performing arts center and classroom space.
The “New Cavalier Inn” project off Emmet Street and Ivy Road, board members said, will connect Central Grounds to the university’s law and business schools, bring in revenue and present a welcoming face to visitors.
“This is the most valuable land we have,” Rector Rusty Conner said at the Building and Grounds Committee meeting on Wednesday.
The 11 parcels under consideration, largely already owned by the university, currently hold the Villa Diner, the Dynamics Building and apartments. University officials have said the Cavalier Inn likely will cease operations in May and torn down in June.
The university lacks a large-scale performing arts center. Old Cabell Hall, the current home of the McIntire Department of Music, seats 851. University officials also said they would like to build a concert hall and theatre with a capacity of 1,000. The board would also like to build a new university art museum.
Colette Sheehy, UVa’s senior vice president for operation, and Alice Raucher, university architect, said multiple schools and colleges had requested consideration for academic space. The Batten School, currently housed at McCormick Road, seems like a natural fit for most of the academic space, according to Tom Katsouleas, executive vice president and provost.