In 2021 we finished our neighborhood revitalization partnership with project:HOMES and the City of Richmond to rehabilitate three historic homes for affordable housing!!!
Here at Historic Richmond, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to keep the People in the Places that matter to them. We often call this “keeping the neighborhood in the neighborhood.” We want to preserve the rich architectural and cultural fabric of our city. We also want strong neighborhoods with diverse housing opportunities and affordable housing. So we wondered, how could historic preservation and affordable housing work hand-in-hand to keep our neighborhoods unique and authentic – and make them stronger?
As we looked around the City, we noticed a number of vacant, blighted, tax delinquent properties in historic neighborhoods. Where some people saw vacant and hollow architecture, we saw an opportunity – an opportunity to revitalize a historic gateway corridor, an opportunity to provide affordable housing to below median income homeowners, and an opportunity to preserve the rich architectural and cultural fabric of an historic neighborhood.
After nearly two and a half years of planning, meetings, site visits and working through the issues with fellow nonprofits and government officials, we are excited to be moving forward with the Gateway Corridor Revitalization Project – a unique partnership with project:HOMES and the City of Richmond to rehabilitate three properties in Southern Barton Heights for affordable housing.
We see partnering with project:HOMES, who is serving as the project developer, as a natural fit for accomplishing our mission work of neighborhood revitalization through preservation. Project:HOMES’ mission is to better the housing and living conditions of Central Virginians through the construction of high quality affordable housing, large-scale home repairs, and improved accessibility and energy efficiency of existing homes. While much of their work involves new construction, several of their rehabilitation projects have won Golden Hammer Awards.
We maintain a special revolving fund to rehabilitate historic properties and we will be using our revolving fund and special support provided by the Virginia Sargeant Reynolds Foundation to fund the repair, restoration, and/or replacement of the distinctive architectural details and features of these three properties.
The properties to be rehabilitated were vacant, blighted, and tax delinquent properties – no long term residents were evicted. And they are not the grandest buildings in the area. These properties represent good to excellent examples of each of the characteristic architectural styles found in the neighborhood – The Late Victorian, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival styles. While the district is designated as a National Register Historic District, there are no City of Richmond historic or architectural protections in the neighborhood. Thus, the project will collectively preserve and rehabilitate good to excellent examples of each of the characteristic architectural styles found in this early streetcar neighborhood.
Each property is geographically located within close proximity to each other, is a visible presence along a primary gateway corridor into the Southern Barton Heights neighborhood, and is sized appropriately for below median income homeowners.
Their rehabilitation, individually and collectively, is intended to:
- Provide additional affordable housing to Richmonders;
- Return vacant properties to owner-occupants;
- Return tax-delinquent properties to the City’s tax rolls;
- Serve as a catalyst and build momentum for further revitalization;
- Strengthen community; and
- Retain the key architectural fabric that makes Richmond unique, beautiful, and authentic.