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Low Income Housing Possible for Entire Block on Venable Street 

A long neglected and blighted stretch of Union Hill could soon get a face lift. The Richmond Better Housing coalition wants to buy all of the properties in the 2200 block of Venable Street to build a 60-unit affordable housing development. The group hopes to have made most of its purchases by the end of 2015.

Plans were put into motion last year, when the organization bought the Citadel of Hope, one of the neighborhood’s most distinctive buildings. But the three-story property has long been the target of grafitti and even suffered a fire in 2011. The Citadel of Hope was built in 1923, and was purchased for $300,000 from the nearby Temple of Judah, led by Bishop Melvin Williams Jr. Current real estate records show that the property is valued at $312,000. Three other properties - two residential and one commercial - were also purchased in the block.

Efforts continued to move forward today when the planning commission voted to recommend that Council approve the sale of a city-owned vacant lot at 2238 Venable Street to the Better Housing Coalition for $5,000. The parcel measures less than an acre and is valued at $15,000. Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting falls on Oct. 12.

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