Address: 213 Spruce Street, Charlottesville
Year Built: 2007
Size: 1,840 fin. sq. ft 600 unfinished
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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