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East End News

Preservation of trolley barn still an issue for proposed Glenwood Apartments

The Glenwood Ridge Apartments are progressing, though it looks like the development will need to preserve at least a portion of the former trolley barn on the site.

An August email forwarded from Mark Olinger in the city’s Department of Planning & Development Review says that:

We have not received any final drawings for review but can report the following:

They have continued the townhouse look of the property, esp. the building facing Glenwood.

Five front-loaded units (that is, units that front onto Glenwood, not entered through either the parking area or the rear) have been added with a covered porch area.

We have suggested that they preserve addit’l options for pedestrian connections to the property to the south at Glenwood and Government, and that nothing is done to preclude a connection to the property to the north, which provides access to the steps leading to E. Marshall St. above the site.

They continue to work with Kim Chen on the Section 106 review process…there is one more “consultation” that needs to be held for the Section 106 process but that is moving along pretty well…there will be a portion of the trolley building that will be retained as a way to help tell the story of the site.

Sidewalk will be installed along the frontage of Glenwood. I don’t recall other infrastructure items at this time, but they may show up on the plans when we receive them.

Four documents regarding the proposed demolition of the former trolley barn at the Glenwood Ridge Apartments site:

  1. Glenwood Ridge Section 106 Package 3
  2. 2017-3387 Richmond-Henrico Car Barn demo 3801 Glenwood AE_LTR
  3. Notice of Adverse Effect
  4. SHPO Concurrence Letter

Random discovery of the initial demolition permit for the trolley barn brought proposed development to the surface back in January, before any other plans or meetings had been shared or announced.

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Kate Doyle 09/11/2017 at 4:43 PM

Sounds like there’s no stopping this.

Nia McCabe Strei 09/11/2017 at 5:05 PM is a place to start.

Church Hill People's News 09/11/2017 at 5:12 PM

There will be a public meeting on September 18, 2017 at 6:00 pm at the Powhatan Community Center in the Greater Fulton Neighborhood.

Clay Street 09/12/2017 at 9:43 AM

If they can’t demolish the trolley barn in order to build their proposed development, I think this is effectively dead , at least for now (in my opinion). The actual size of the property is pretty small–look at the plat online or in the attachments. Considering the required setbacks and other limitations that were already in place that would constrain how construction could happen, I just think keeping the trolley barn would/will require a total reworking of entire proposed development, and this will require an entire new app to VHDA etc etc.

From what I can tell online the property has not been sold or transferred, this was all pending approval right?

Will Hall 09/12/2017 at 1:04 PM

I have a question for anyone that will answer. I don’t live in Union Hill, so these apartments won’t effect me-I’m on the other side of the east end (eastview). The question that I have is are residents fighting against these apartments because of it’s structure and how it looks,the barn, or is it because of the fear and stigma of having low-income, section 8 residents living in your neighborhood? I was reading past articles on this site regarding this issue, and all three problems seem to be a concern, but what’s the main concern?As I stated, Im not in Union Hill, so I don’t understand everything about these apartments,or what’s the issue, but I had a friend who went to one of the past meetings, and she told me that their was a fear of convicted felons moving into the neighborhood, etc.I don’t know if this is true, so someone clarify

Dave 09/12/2017 at 3:23 PM

I think this is going to go one of two ways: either the developer will jump through all of the hoops on this one because he knows those other plots of land adjacent to this will be his in the future, or this goes away because of all the red tape.

SueWho 09/13/2017 at 7:11 AM

I think that the crux of the opposition to this deals with the developer who has a poor track record of managing his other Section 8 housing developments-think Essex Village in Henrico.

Since the trend in low income housing is to move away from concentrated models, ‘the projects’, folks are wondering why the East End has to shoulder the brunt of of these. The drawings of this complex look eerily similar to the City Jail. Given the rise in gun related deaths this year, people have good reason to question this development. With tracts of land still available in this part of town, these developers will most likely keep coming back.

Clay Street 09/13/2017 at 7:45 AM

Will, first of all, this development was not slated for Union Hill. It’s a site wedged between Chimborazo, Church Hill and Fulton. So about 20 blocks from Union Hill.

There were several meetings (I went to all of them) and the people who attended (and let me be very very clear–these meetings were attended by white and black folks, young and old people, and also both new-ish arrivals to the East End as well as longtime residents) everyone had a problem with the size of the development in relation to the site. It’s backed up to the hill that leads to Chimborazo and bordered by Glenwood Avenue, a very narrow barely two land road that all residents describe as hazardous and filled with potholes. It has a partial sidewalk that is extremely grown over and it’s not pedestrian friendly.

While everyone agrees that more median income housing is needed, many people took issue with the concentration of Section 8 units in an area that is a food desert and not a huge transportation hub. There are I believe 82 units (1, 2, and 3 BR) planned in this thing, and so at least 170 people would be locked into the site with no sidewalks up Government Road which is adjacent. It took pressure for the developer to come back with a modified plan that included a playground (the original plan had no playground or outdoor space for families, even though the units will be rented to families).

A number of people at the meetings stated that if it were fewer units, it would not be such an issue. But the developer said that his numbers only work with the number of units that were proposed in the VHDA app.

Other folks who have lived in Church Hill North and Fulton for a long time were unhappy that LIH was being concentrated in the East End–they felt they had seen the neighborhood go through a lot of positive changes after decades of living in a neglected neighborhood that the city and others had considered “blighted”–these longtime homeowners were proud of some of the changes in the East End and unhappy that LIH was not being distributed more evenly throughout the city. That corridor at Government Stoney Run already has an RRHA development and Ashley Oaks, a Section 8 apartment development, so adding a third LIH development they felt would increase a non-homeowner footprint in the East End (which was important to these older folks).

The folks who live in the houses along Glenwood in particular were adamant that they did NOT want this development. They were very angry and a number of them talked about putting their houses on the market. These are about 8 or so little bungalows and ranchers that are set just a few feet back from Glenwood Avenue. They repeatedly stated they wanted a traffic study for the road, because currently two regular size cars can barely pass each other on Glenwood. Adding an 82 unit development the entrance of which is on Glenwood would impact the road enormously.

Finally, people were pissed that there was no transparency about this. No one knew until the permit thing was revealed. The developer was NOT forthcoming about details, and that made residents angrier.

I hope this answers some of your questions, I think if you drive by the site and look at the VHDA app (posted on one of the older threads) with renderings you might understand why people wanted some modifications and did not want it to be built as originally envisioned.

Government Road trolley crossing (1920s) - Church Hill People's News | Richmond, Virginia 09/13/2017 at 8:11 AM

[…] From the documents concerning the trolley barn at the proposed Glenwood Apartments […]

David 09/13/2017 at 8:19 AM

Will – this project is at 3801 Glenwood Ave, so it is on the eastern end of Church Hill and western end of Fulton Hill near Gillies Creek. You may be thinking of the Citadel of Hope project by Better Housing Coalition on the north edge of Union Hill, which has city approval.

Pedey 09/20/2017 at 12:56 PM

I thought this was a useful and informative read.(the study is a pdf, check that out directly if you have time.)

There are a few other longitudinal studies that come to similar conclusions.
New housing doesn’t have to be a loss for the neighborhood.

Joseph G 09/21/2017 at 4:10 PM

Glenwood Ave Property Owner/Landlord/ African American:

I would be open to senior citizens w/ fixed income housing / or mixed income village style projects. As far as a low income / housing project in an area that is finally increasing in property values, far away from jobs, grocery stores within walking distance, and an extremely inadequate GRTC transit line, I’m against! Does anyone know that status of this project thus far? I received a packet that had another hearing date for 9/18/2017. Please advise / chime in if you have any other details regarding this proposed project.

SueWho 09/21/2017 at 9:12 PM

I attended the meeting and there’s no stopping the project, construction is slated to begin in January 2018. The building design was modified and looks less institutional than the original rendering that was first presented. Three of the trolley bays will remain along with part of a side wall, accessible to the general public for viewing that will include some type of historical marker/signage.

Dr. Newbille has secured funding for improvements to Glenwood Ave. that includes a sidewalk on one side of the street. There will be extensive landscaping around the complex which helps soften the design, but only time will tell if the grounds and the units will be kept up and managed properly.

ML 09/30/2017 at 9:16 AM

As an update, I attended the September 26 district 7 council meeting led by Newbille. I had sent an email the day before and I reiterated that there was not enough transparency or communication or community and involvement.

Legally, As part of the section 106 review process in conjunction with the historic preservation act of 1966, Involvement of the community and their input is critical and ample notice is supposed to be provided about meetings and details along the way.

I cut and paste the laws and sent them to new bill and she agreed to hold another community meeting. She asked Mark Olibger and Kimberly Chen to schedule another meeting as soon as possible so that more community involvement could be heard. I have the email.

The people who are directly adversely affected were not notified in a timely manner about meetings. That’s the issue because they 3000 people in the community should be able to have significant input on what happens to the trolley barn and what this building looks like.

As a blueprint, look at Jefferson Mews. The Brick townhomes by Union market developed by the better housing coalition for affordable housing. They are an excellent management company and this is the other major concern is that the developer is also the property manager. They have a horrible reputation for crime and very poor customer service to its tenants.

Stay tuned for when the next community meeting is going to be that will involve the developer, Shane Doran, Cynthia Newbille, Mark Olinger and Kimberly Chen.

ian 10/01/2017 at 10:18 AM

@ML: Thanks for the update and for your continued efforts to crack this process open for community engagement. I’m going ahead and writing a letter to the mayor directly.

Neighbor 10/02/2017 at 9:15 AM

“I attended the meeting and there’s no stopping the project, construction is slated to begin in January 2018.”

Thank goodness! Glad to hear that the NIMBYs did not control property rights too much. If that dilapidated trolly barn was so important to everyone, maybe people should have pooled their money and bought it.

NS 10/09/2017 at 8:06 AM

So Let’s see…14 Comments of concern and quality-of-life-related issues; trying to protect the future residents of any development at this site. 1 Comment from someone who takes a “Nyah Nyah, it won’t be in MY backyard—build whatever you feel like building, Mr. Big out of town Developer”
Feel like a shill for the corporation, much?

SC 12/19/2018 at 9:47 AM

As of December 2018, most of this structure is being demolished. Very unfortunate.


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