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Affordable housing at heart of proposed Cooks Corner project

by Tom Chillemi

The Middlesex Foundation plan to develop Middlesex County owned land at Cooks Corner to include affordable workforce housing will hinge on deployment of water and sewer.

A central water system is currently being engineered through the Middlesex Water Authority (MWA), which anticipates the system will be operating by late 2019. Sewer feasibility is being studied for several locations by the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD). The Middlesex Board of Supervisors is anticipating a sewer system, possibly at Cooks Corner, and has placed $850,000 in the budget for 2018-19.

The MWA is a separate entity from Middlesex County and the water system will be built, operated and paid for by water customers. (Middlesex has committed $700,000 for fire hydrants.)

The Middlesex Foundation is seeking a $2.5 million Vibrant Communities Initiative (VCI) grant for the Cooks Corner Revitalization Project from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

Housing is a key component for the DHCD grant. The Middlesex Foundation, a non-profit corporation formed in 2017, wants to build a 24-unit “workforce” housing apartment community as part of the overall revitalization project. Top priority for renters would go towards teachers, deputies, county employees and other non-profit agencies and organizations serving local citizens.

The $3.5 million development would consist of three 2-story brick buildings built on about 7 acres behind the Cooks Corner Office Complex. 

Each unit would be about 1,050 square feet with two bedrooms and two baths, said architect Richard Funk Jr. He explained the Middlesex zoning ordinance will need to be amended because it currently limits apartments to four units.

A market analysis supports the demand for workforce housing in Middlesex County based on a similar 16-unit project developed in Kilmarnock called Mercer Place, which has been fully leased since opening in 2011.

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newsstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 05.16.2018

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