Live/Work Project Starts in Crozet

Ben King and Vito Cetta
Ben King and Vito Cetta

In the residential building boom in Crozet a novel form has appeared, the live/work townhouse concept in which the upper floors of the building are designed to be residences and the lower level is zoned as commercial space.

Architect and developer Vito Cetta has begun an eight-unit townhouse project in Liberty Hall, a new housing area, largely built by Ryan Homes, on Radford Lane across from the Harris Teeter shopping center.

Cetta, an early proponent of the Neighborhood Model development concept, which stresses mixed-uses, green spaces, and walkability, was the designer and builder of other Crozet neighborhoods such as Parkside Village and Wayland’s Grant. He had just begun work in Wickham Pond when the real estate market collapsed in 2008, a project since taken over by Ryan Homes, and he has come out of retirement to do the live/work project.

“The market is somebody who doesn’t need to be on Rt. 250, but they want to be close to it,” he said. “The idea is, say, an architect lives on top and his office is below. That’s the configuration.”

The two spaces are not connected, he said, you have to walk outside to get to one from the other. But if a buyer really wanted a staircase inside, it could be accommodated.

All the units will be rentals. Cetta said it is most likely that the levels will be rented to different tenants. The commercial level has 720 square feet per unit—that’s enough space for three offices, a bathroom and a waiting area, he said—and it is more likely that those units could be connected. The two-floor residential units will have about 1,400 square feet.

Units will be reached by walkways through landscape areas from a parking lot at the west end of the building. There is no parking near the door of each unit.

Cetta expects the project to be done by August.