Construction on Brandon Avenue apartments slightly behind schedule, will be ready for student move-in by early August

Apparent delays due to recent inclement weather

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The Brandon Avenue apartments are the University’s newest on-Grounds housing development and is slated to house over 500 undergraduates.

Sophie Roehse | Cavalier Daily

Construction on the Brandon Avenue apartments — the University’s newest on-Grounds housing development slated to house over 500 undergraduates — has run slightly behind schedule in recent weeks but will be fully open for students by the time move-in occurs in early August. 

Construction on the Brandon Avenue apartments began in Aug. 2017 and have a planned completion of July 2019. According to a status update from Facilities Management, construction reached the halfway point in November 2018. It appears that construction might be running behind schedule, due to the fact that the building’s exterior has yet to be completed.

Don Sundgren, associate vice president and chief facilities officer, said that abnormal weather is to blame for the apparent delays in construction.

“Some of the activities are on schedule and some are a little bit behind, but they’re working on an accelerated schedule on those activities to make up for lost time,” Sundgren said. “Getting the exterior of the building complete is one of them.”

However, the KBE Building Corporation — a Maryland-based construction company contracted for the development — has accelerated work on the site in order to ensure the apartments’ habitability by August, with construction now occurring almost every day. 

“[Construction work occurs] essentially during daylight hours, and it could be longer than that once they’re inside with some temporary lighting,” Sundgren said. “They’re working no less than five days a week and sometimes as much as six or seven days a week.”

Despite the delays, the University plans for construction to be substantially complete by the end of July — meaning that students will be able to move into the apartments for the 2019-2020 school year without issue. 

The University has identified the greater Brandon Avenue corridor as a key redevelopment zone — one which has the potential to “offer superior environments for future academic, residential and related endeavors” — following the publication of the Office of the Architect’s 2008 Grounds Plan, a document detailing the University’s plans to preserve and establish both sustainable land use and land use that reflects the purposes of Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village. 

The Brandon Avenue Master Plan, published by the Office of the Architect in Nov. 2016, envisions the area’s transformation into a holistic student community. The reimagined corridor will include academic spaces, student wellness facilities and a central “green street” — a “one-way loop with a landscaped bioretention area and gathering spaces in the center” — to connect the South Lawn complex to the U.Va. Health System alongside the new Brandon Avenue housing complex. The construction on Brandon Avenue began in 2017, before the City of Charlottesville approved the transfer of the street in its entirety to the University in April 2018. 

Construction to develop the “green street”  will extend through the 2019-20 academic year, with an expected completion date of Feb. 2020. Sundgren said that the construction will not impede access to Brandon Avenue housing. 

A livestream of the Brandon Avenue construction progress can be found here.

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