Petersburg Building Townhomes
The Petersburg Community Development Corporation is in the process of building 42 new town houses intended to be affordable for low and moderate income families.
The townhouses will sit on what is now a vacant lot at the intersection of Lee Avenue and South South Street downtown.
Graham: It is a neighborhood that is being revitalized and has been in progress for well over thirty years. It was part of the Guilfield planned unit development. It's one of the few remaining sites that was never redeveloped; it is presently a cleared, grassy site with trees and so on, about seven acres in size.
Sandy Graham is the legal counsel for the PCDC. The townhomes, he said, are intended to attract:
Graham: To persons who make between 25,000 and 42,000 dollars.
Two sizes of townhouses, a community room for people who live there and another that will house the Delta Community Service Foundation and its programs are going to be built.
Graham: The units will be two bedrooms and three bedrooms, and there will be six buildings of seven units each.
The homes, he says, may be popular with people moving to the area because of the massive expansion at Fort Lee.
Graham: There're also a lot of other people who currently live in the city of Petersburg and some of whom may work for the city of Petersburg who don't live in Petersburg today, who would want to either move there or remain there in better-quality housing. We believe that there are a number of policemen, firemen, schoolteachers who would enjoy living in a place like this.
Construction should begin at the end of next month, and barring weather setbacks, Graham said:
Graham: It's our expectation that the construction will be finished and the units will be leased by December of 2011.
The development will be known as the Henry Williams Townhomes.
Graham: He was a black pastor of Guilfield Baptist Church back in the 1870s and 80s, and he was one of the first black elected members of City Council during Reconstruction and he was from the immediate area. He not only served on City Council, but he grew the congregation at Guilfield Baptist Church to almost a couple of thousand people, so he was a very influential figure in the city during the 1870s and 80s.
The PCDC, Graham said, recognized the need for affordable housing and worked for several years to analyze neighborhoods and decide on key areas where property could be developed, or redeveloped, to meet the growing demand.
Graham: There was housing on our site that was razed in the early 1970s to make way for the revitalization that was to come; it's just been delayed many, many years.
The Development Corporation, he said, cultivated strategic partnerships to fund the project and move it forward.
Graham: We were able to do it through layering different types of financing; many of the sources were government, state and local government sources. The largest amount came from the Virginia Housing Development Authority through its low-income housing tax credit program and there were also monies that were loaned to us by the state Department of Housing and Community Development, plus contributions from the city of Petersburg in the form of zero-cost building permits and also a reduction on the utility connection fees.
The Henry Williams Townhouses, Graham added, are the first of several projects planned to revitalize some of Petersburg’s blighted neighborhoods.
John Ogle, WCVE News