Jumbo pad: Student building eyed for 15th Street

It's simple arithmetic: 20,000 students at the University of Virginia minus the 7,500 spots available for on-grounds housing leaves more than 12,000 students scrambling each year. Where are they to go?

Ashley Cooper of the City's Neighborhood Development Services Department knows just the place.

Cooper is currently studying Grandmarc at the Corner, a single large apartment building slated for the west side of the 300 block of 15th Street.

According to Cooper, developers Lane Bonner, Hunter Craig, and Dan Veliky plan to demolish everything now on the site, which is currently owned by Pavilion LLC, and use the space for the new building, intended to house UVA upperclassmen. None of the three developers returned calls.

"It's like a very nice upperclassmen dormitory," Cooper says.

Nice? By 15th Street standards, more like luxurious.

The building, which will include 213 units and 533 bedrooms, will also have a large parking garage, two courtyards, and a pool. All the apartments will have their own balconies and deck areas and will be furnished.

But don't whip out your checkbook quite yet.

The site plan, submitted in April, is still under consideration. The Charlottesville Planning Commission last reviewed it Tuesday, July 12, and Cooper expects approval later this summer. If the Commission grants authorization within the next two months, development should begin in early 2006 and last about a year.

"I don't foresee any opposition to the site plan," says Cooper. "This development will encourage UVA students to live closer to grounds, and Charlottesville citizens tend to like that."

Cooper's favorite feature of the complex is on-site bio-retention gardening, which is designed to absorb water on location rather than use a drain to remove it.

"In general, 15th street needs to be redeveloped," says Cooper. "It's old and outdated."

With the developers mum, construction cost estimates were unavailable by press time. Cooper thinks the building will be an improvement for the street. "Everyone," she says, "will be pleased with the finished product."

The 300 block of 15th Street is in for a makeover.