Standing tall: Belmont townhouse offers light and more

Address: 213 Spruce Street, Charlottesville          
Neighborhood: Carlton/Belmont
Asking: $374,900
Assessment: $289,200
Year Built: 2007
Size: 1,840 fin. sq. ft  600 unfinished
Land: 0.10
Agent: Roger Voisinet, Re/Max Realty Specialists 434-974-1500
Curb Appeal: 7 out of 10

Fewer than 20 years ago, people were investing in “emerging” areas surrounding the revitalized downtown Charlottesville rather than crossing the bridge to Belmont. With a few ma & pa businesses, car mechanics, and Spudnuts, there wasn’t a lot to draw new residents— except affordability. Enter entrepreneur Coran Capshaw, who ventured into Belmont in 2003 and bought Mas barely a year after an attractive young couple began exposing patrons to an edgy, bare-bones nightspot with great food. Others soon followed suit, and The Happy Stripper made way for trendy eateries like The Local and Tavola.

The Belmont Lofts were constructed at that same time, adding density and metropolitan chic to the hub. The increased foot traffic brought the needed synergy between population growth and expanded commerce et voilà— a working-class neighborhood gave birth to a new urbanist community.

This 3-story contemporary townhouse is located on Spruce Street— a neighbor to The Lofts, but separated by a natural ravine. It’s the last building on a street that ends at an active rail line. In recent years, several developers have ignored the railroad apartment stigma by building on what once were buffer zones alongside railroad tracks (think Norcross Station, Walker Square, and Cream Street Ten). In this location, one can weigh the peace of living on a street without through-car traffic with the occasional clamor of passing trains.

The design is reminiscent of a nearby silo, a towering height that allows for generous ceilings on all levels. Built on a poured-concrete foundation (unlike trendier, new construction, built on a bed of crushed stone), the house should withstand time and tremor.

The interior reads like a New York City high rise. Entering the house, a bold design choice of glossy red cabinets screams “modern.” Stainless steel appliances, solid surface quartz countertops, and natural colored bamboo floors anchor the color scheme— all that is missing is a wall of exposed brick. A flight of wood stairs seemingly floats to the second floor, with horizontal steel cabling creating a divider to the open dining area. Windows fill another two-story wall and stream light into the living room and suspended loft above. A bank of glass doors leads to a deck with views of the ravine and potential garden space below. The current owners have tastefully outfitted every space with sleek furnishings that one might want added to the final sale.

The loft is furnished as an office space with a second seating area, desk, and bookcases. It overlooks both ends of the house, making it more of a public area and less of a quiet study. Another set of cable-enclosed stairs lead to the third floor. Two bedrooms with en suite bathrooms span this level. Vanities are ultramodern, with translucent glass doors and integrated rectangular china sinks. Gleaming white tiled floors and walls are surrounded by glass doors in the master bath. There is plenty of room for a third bedroom in the unfinished walkout basement, which has a bathroom similar to those in the rest of the house.  Unlike its nearby forerunner, this town home comes with fewer neighbors, no maintenance fees, and has updated energy-saving features.

A group of UVA architecture students recently designed an award-winning plan to remove the Belmont Bridge and replace it with an at-grade crossing. A concept that might create a century-old, Manhattan-like amalgam of cars, trains, and pedestrians (solved when the NYC railways were tunneled underground).  No matter— Belmont will continue to thrive with its connectivity of parks, restored storefronts, coffee shops, galleries, and, of course, Spudnuts.
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What an offensive article. As if there wasn't a revitalization going on before people like Capshaw showed up. As desirability relies on how many restaurants there are to eat at. As if people don't want other things conveniently close by, like car repair, or furniture repair, or their hair cut.

Part of a 21st century neighborhood is having convenience and walkability. With the DT Mall just across the bridge, Belmont was the best kept secret in charlottesville, with tons a home renovation and nice families living peacefully with their more humble neighbors.

Tanks to its 'discovery' by people like Capshaw, its been ruined. Lots of those homeowners with children had to leave.

That's As IF desirability relies on how many restaurants there are.

I like you stuff Hawes, but in this you are really such a food snob. There's more to life than eating.

"A flight of wood stairs seemingly floats to the second floor..." Indeed, what more could one ask for? Dig the magazine racks--this is posh!

TCAFA - hahahahahaha.

With the food and drink came all sorts of problems with noise, no mention of that, how convenient. Belmont became popular as a result of demographics, nothing more.

Pay that $374K with a nice 3% down low interest FHA loan and at least you won't lose anything except your rent/mortgage payments when you move and can't sell it..."Jingle Mail Rock"....
$374K for a townhouse? Not to anyone with an analytical mind, but real estate is so emotion driven and the market so saturated by propaganda that it's hard to keep perspective...

So when you build a duplex whose "design is reminiscent of a nearby silo", the result is "metropolitan chic?"

This fantasy history of Belmont is as another commenter noted offensive and as ridiculous as another recent article that attributed a "downtown renaissance" to Lee Danielson. Very few people if any moved to Belmont because Mas is there. I know a few who have left because of what that spawned though. What's next, an article on how Martha Jefferson Hospital made life wonderful for its neighbors as it expanded to swallow them?

Let's not get too snarky here folks. And allow for the fact that we don't all have an eye for value and proper pricing. It's not every Belmont home that's "separated by a natural ravine."

The only thing I found offensive about this article is that someone is trying to sell a weird townhouse for $85k more than the city's artificially inflated assessment. (And I'll be honest, I'm only feigning offense.)
But seriously, that price is silly.

@ReadTheHook: But there's a specious urban renewal logic, and a verb-free sentence here, can you not muster some indignation?

"A group of UVA architecture students recently designed an award-winning plan to remove the Belmont Bridge and replace it with an at-grade crossing. A concept that might create a century-old, Manhattan-like amalgam of cars, trains, and pedestrians (solved when the NYC railways were tunneled underground). "

I'd take the $329 brick home in Carrsbrook for sale any day over this and we own 1/2 a block in Belmont.

The developer who bought the Waynesboro Outlet Mall in 2006-7 and tore it down and built the shopping center...I thought he got his start buying and flipping Belmont homes. I can't remember his name now but he had more to do with pulling up (or down as your point of view is) Belmont than Coran Capshaw.

Unless you dine and shop in the County, you benefit from the development that has happened in Cville and also in downtown Belmont. If you hate all the development and owned a house in Belmont prior to it, you benefit from selling it to the many young couples and families that still continue to want to move INTO Belmont. Hopefully you've complained in person when these new businesses have come before the City for approval. You are probably willing to pay higher taxes rather than let these businesses refurbish crumbling buildings and operate in your humble hamlet. If you really want things to remain the same target high-density development.
$349,500 for a condo at The Belmont Lofts and it's 9 years old with 1,395 sq ft plus fees. Sounds like metropolitan pricing to me, and yes.... they do sell.

cville dweller,

I always find it ammusing how the dislike of a disruptive monoculture turns into some sort of an argument against development and business. Belmont was already well into gentrification when the monoculture showed up, trying to get in on the gentrification.

Funny you mention higher taxes. If this new monoculture is the reality for Belmontś revivial, then it is also responsible for higher taxes already, not lower, in the form of much higher assessments.

See how your logic just doesn play?

The Belmont Lofts have nice things like off street parking which apparently residencial property owners don have the right to, much less being able to park within a block of their homes. They did complain, and the City said that rules only apply when its convenient for them.