The southern side of the 2200 block of Venable Street was almost entirely abandoned by 2004. Across the street, the church-owned Citadel of Hope sat empty – a target for vandals and fire. The busted and overgrown lots along the cobblestoned blocks of Carrington Street to the north of Venable Street have been a sketchy, vacant line between Union Hill and Fairmount for decades.
This landscape along the corridor has been under incremental renewal for the past decade, though, as single family houses have been stabilized and renovated, and small businesses like C.Alexander’s Cleaners and Roaring Pines have set up shop.
While two new construction houses planned for Carrington on the empty lots at Russell Street will add to the close single-family community of the Fairmount side, the next wave of development along the corridor is likely to be dramatic and on a different scale.
Better Housing Coalition bought the Citadel of Hope property in 2014, and plans to remake the bulk of that block into 60 affordable residential units at a cost of around $7 million dollars. The building was constructed in 1923 as the House of Happiness, a community center, by The City Circle of the Baptist Woman’s Missionary Union.
Recent land transfers just behind the BHC Citadel of Hope block, paired with word of “complementary development” nearby, indicate that higher-density redevelopment may be on the way for lots that have been empty for at least a generation.
Josh Bilder’s Sterling Bilder is best known for their redevelopment of the East End Theater on 25th Street. They’ve also invested in the adjacent post office property, and have plans for a multi-use project at Marshall and 24th Street. I’ve sent an email to Josh about Carrington Street, but haven’t heard back yet.
Finally, in what would be a huge link between Union Hill and apartments/condo of Shockoe Valley and downtown, credible rumor says that a national gym chain location is slated for the west end of Venable at Oliver Hill Way.
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