Habitat purchased Sunrise Trailer Court, a 16 unit trailer park in the Belmont-Carlton neighborhood in Charlottesville in 2004. At the time of purchase, Habitat made a promise to residents living there that after redevelopment, they could stay either as Habitat Partner Families or in affordable rentals.
Of the original 16 families, nine have elected to stay. These long-time Sunrise residents will form the nucleus of the new mixed-income, multi-generational community. Site work began in fall 2010, and building started in March 2011.
When finished in 2013, Sunrise Park will have nine affordable rentals, 20 new Habitat Partner Family homes and 30 market rate units as well as commercial and community space. Sunrise Park is the first mobile home park in the country to be redeveloped without resident displacement.
Building at Sunrise
Shortly after Habitat purchased the Sunrise property in 2005, we conducted an international design competition that explored the community’s aspirations for redevelopment. Among the design principles agreed on by Sunrise residents, adjacent neighbors and members of the community at large were:
- Preservation of the "big back yard” for communal use.
- Architecture and site design that fits into the fabric of the greater Belmont neighborhood.
- Use of green building techniques and site design.
Habitat broke ground on its first single family attached units in April 2011. Among the central design drivers for these homes were:
- Large front and back porches to promote healthy “neighboring.”
- Appearance from the street as single family residences rather than duplexes.
- Ability to convert building prototypes for market rate sales so that affordable homes would be indistinguishable from market rate homes.
- EarthCraft certification or higher.
- Production building to save costs, but diversity of exterior finishes, porch styles etc. so that each home appears unique.
- Updating the “Virginia Farm House” idiom.
In addition to our partnership with Don Franco of Community Results, Inc. for the planning of Sunrise, Habitat is partnering with Construction Management Services, Inc. to build its first combined condominium-apartment building at Sunrise. This building, our “Promise Keeper,” will house the nine original Sunrise residents in apartments and six Partner Families in two-bedroom condos. The building also will have an on-site property manager apartment, and a community clubhouse run by a collaboration between the John W. Kluge Foundation and AARP Foundation.
All of the buildings at Sunrise were designed by Stoneking-Von Storch Architects. An anonymous local foundation funded a significant upgrade to the site’s green infrastructure, allowing us to design and build pervious roads and sidewalks, a networked rain catchment system to irrigate the common area with rainwater, enhanced rain gardens and energy efficient fixtures.