Church Hill housing overhaul plan moves forward

The vacant former home of Armstrong High School  is being floated for redevelopment.

The vacant former home of Armstrong High School is set for a major redevelopment.

Plans to transform a former East End high school site are progressing through the city’s review process.

The Richmond Planning Commission has granted preliminary approval for a 300-unit subdivision at 1501 and 1611 N. 31st St., on the nearly 22-acre site of the old Armstrong High School.

The redevelopment project, called Church Hill North, received the approval Monday as part of the commission’s consent agenda, typically involving items requiring no discussion.

The project now requires a final plan to be approved, the application for which must be submitted within a year.

A preliminary community unit plan for Church Hill North received approval earlier this year. That plan calls for a minimum of 50 single-family houses and a maximum of 250 multifamily dwellings, to consist of as many as 110 apartments, 86 stacked flats and 54 townhomes.

The project is being spearheaded by the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority and Boston-based nonprofit developer The Community Builders. The two groups are also working together to revitalize the nearby Creighton Court neighborhood – a 30-acre public housing complex that is slated to be revamped with mixed-income housing.

The project would increase the number of homes in Creighton Court from its current 504 public housing units to between 1,300 and 1,500 market-rate homes and units targeted to lower-income residents.

In addition to the residences, the proposed Armstrong development is planned to include a 20,000-square-foot community center and a memorial garden. An additional 1.2 acres would be reserved for open space and playgrounds.

Representatives for The Community Builders have said the two projects could take between eight and 10 years to complete, at an overall cost of more than $100 million. The group is working with architect Torti Gallas and Partners and engineering firm Timmons Group.

The group has said construction could start as soon as early 2016.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
5 years ago

Hopefully this will do for the east end what Blackwell’s redevelopment has done for Manchester, spurring commercial investment and market rate housing to enter that District. We can only hope for the project’s success.