New Richmond community to have 'base rent' locked for 30 years because 'rent is too damn high'

Posted at 9:56 PM, Jun 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-13 21:56:45-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Construction crews are popping up on Carnation Street in Richmond's South-Central District.

What's now a patch of dust and dirt down the road from Chippenham Hospital will eventually be one of the city's newest affordable housing projects: Beaufont Oaks Community.

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At a press conference Tuesday, Mayor Levar Stoney commented candidly on the current state of affordable housing in Richmond.

"To be very plain, the rent's too damn high, and we know that we need more housing, period," Stoney said.

Two-hundred eighteen units on about five acres of land will be available to families making anywhere from $15-20 per hour.

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Base rent will stay the same for 30 years, Stoney said, because of the city's implementation of a pilot program called the Affordable Housing Performance Grant, which employs a tax rebate for developers. The council did receive one letter of opposition from a neighboring property management company, saying there had been no "informal or formal meeting with neighbors."

But developers and city leaders are on board, saying this makes this district a competitive place to put down roots.

“It’s going to keep a lot of your current leasing agents, they’re going to have to up their game to keep up with some of this new stock," Councilman Mike Jones, who represents the district, said.

Jones said it's about more than just a new site for housing. He believes this can help ensure students living in his district, many of whom attend Huguenot High School, have a secure place to stay. 

“The one challenge RPS students and families deal with is housing insecurity. And so, they’re not switching schools because mom got a job across town. Mom got put out. The rent doubled and she had to find another option," Jones said. "It allows them to have a good clean safe place to live. You’re not going to hear a bunch of gunshots over here. And we deserve this.”

The developers, LinxVentures, also plan on building 243 affordable units and 15 affordable townhomes at the old Oak Grove Elementary site. The Special Use Grant application process is expected to wrap up in a few months. Developers said the Beaufont Oaks community construction would likely be completed by late 2024. 

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