The future Battle Building will dwarf the former 12th Street Taphouse building on West Main.
Design plans for the Battle Building include small park-like landscaping around the building.
Seven stories right on West Main.
Work has finally begun on the massive $141 million, 180,000 square-foot Battle Building at the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital, which will take three years to build and set the tone for future development between the Corner and the Downtown Mall. On April 27, Richmond-based general contractor Kjellstrom and Lee got the building permit for $12.8 million of foundation work on the former parking lot between the Blake Center and the building housing the defunct 12th Street Taphouse. Construction barricades went up earlier this month.
Architect for the University David Neuman has called the structure a "prototype" for West Main, the central road whose redevelopment has been discussed for at least two decades.
Named after Barry and Bill Battle, longtime champions of children’s health, the structure will serve as outpatient surgery and rehabilitative care facility for children and their families. Bill Battle, who died in 2009, was a former chair of the Ivy Foundation, which donated $15 million to the project– $45 million in all to the UVA Health System. The building will also include a Teen Health Center, a children’s therapy garden, and park-like green space around the building.
Eventually, the Battle Building will take over the corner at West Main and Jefferson Park Avenue, as the similarly tall Blake Center– which currently anchors that corner– will get demolished to make way for additional green space. But Neuman says Blake won't fall for several years.
Originally, Neuman said he was be shooting for a "gold" LEED certification (the system by which the quality of the sustainable construction is measured), but that has been adjusted to a "silver" goal. The project required special-use permits to deviate from City's goals for West Main, which allow by-right building heights only to 70 feet. Under the permit, the building's total height was raised to 90 feet and four inches (to accommodate six above grade stories plus a mechanical equipment penthouse), while the sidewalk-hugging exterior wall was lowered to 32 feet from the allowable 40. In keeping with other aspects of West Main planning, the Battle Building will feature pedestrian-friendly retail spaces along the sidewalk.
The building is being designed by Richmond-based architecture and design firm Odell, which specializes in medical buildings. The firm– which claims to create "environments of healing for mind, body, and spirit"– will be handling the landscape design as well. Their most striking design element: multi-story walls of glass on the front and north-west side of the building.
"It's evolved a bit since our original discussion," says Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review vice-chair Syd Knight. "The facades have been simplified. For example, the short, vertical fins that extend perpendicular to the façade are now gone. Still, it's going to be a very nice building."