City Council OKs new housing developments

Jeremy M. Lazarus | 3/31/2016, 8:47 p.m.
Richmond City Council has given the green light to two new developments that will bring new housing to the Carver …

Richmond City Council has given the green light to two new developments that will bring new housing to the Carver and Fulton areas.

By a 9-0 vote, council members voted to designate 3 acres of property at Government Road and Glenwood Avenue near Fulton as a revitalization area, clearing the way for a 70-unit apartment complex that will include retail space.

Councilwoman Cynthia I. Newbille, 7th District, who represents the area, urged passage under expedited consideration based on the plans for transforming the long vacant property that 20 years ago housed a mobile home park.

She said the project will create 50 apartments with affordable rents for working people, with the remaining 20 units to be set aside for people with Section 8 housing vouchers.

The council also unanimously approved a proposal from Carver developer Zarina Fazaldin to put four new townhouses on vacant land at 1400 Catherine St. near Carver Elementary School.

With strong support from the Carver community and the area’s representative, Councilman Charles R. Samuels, 2nd District, Ms. Fazaldin plans to develop the townhouses to face Kinney Street.

She also plans to renovate a two-story, brick carriage house in the rear of 1401 W. Leigh St. into a new home.

The projects complement work Ms. Fazaldin already has completed, including the conversion of 1401 W. Leigh St. into four apartments and the renovation of a duplex at 1405 W. Leigh St.

In other business, the council also authorized the city’s chief administrative officer, Selena Cuffee-Glenn, to accept a $2 million state grant to help cover the $48 million cost of redoing Main Street Station’s former train shed.

Work is underway on the project that will transform the shed into a building that will include a new welcome center for Richmond visitors. The work is expected to be completed by March 2017.

This is the third phase of the redevelopment of the train station. The $26.9 million first phase was completed in 2003 and reopened the station. The $10.6 million second phase included a parking lot completed in 2007.

Currently only a few passenger trains serve the station, but there are prospects for future growth now that the state is working with rail giant CSX to improve the Acca train yard located west of the city that has long been a bottleneck.

More than $130 million is being poured into redoing the tracks that will make it easier for passenger trains to travel between the Staples Mill Amtrak station and the Downtown Amtrak station at Main Street Station.