U. Circle classic: History in the midst of history

Address: 31 University Circle
Neighborhood: Rugby
Asking: $995,000
Assessment: $611,200
Year Built: 1928
Size: 4240 finished sq. ft. /2060 unfinished sq. ft.
Land: .34 acres
Curb Appeal: 7 out of 10
Listing Agent: Aaron Manis, Sloan Manis Real Estate Partners, 434-962-7039

History buffs, take note. Here’s your chance to own a home, located within walking distance of the Rotunda, that has seen only two owners and is listed by the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission.

Built in the 1920’s, the 2 1/2-story house once served as living quarters to UVA students who rented rooms from the original owner, but since it changed hands in the 1950s, it has been a single-family residence on a scenic street that mixes students, profs, and even a University-related institution or two.

A low brick wall separates the front yard from the street and a walkway leads to a covered front entry. High ceilings give a sense of spaciousness to the front hallway where a multi-level staircase is the focal point and discreetly placed lights highlight colorful canvases that help break up the neutral tones on the plaster walls.

Two sets of French doors separate the formal living areas from the entryway. To the right is the living room with a brick fireplace and access to both the adjacent family room and a cozy screened porch with a tile floor. Along the left side of the house sits the dining room, a tidy half bath, a large kitchen with a breakfast nook, and a butler’s pantry with a wet bar. There’s also a side entrance leading in from a covered entry located a short distance from the garage.

Upstairs, two bedrooms on each side of the hallway share a full bath. Situated at one end and separated by an archway is a small library nook with built-in bookshelves and a mullioned window to let in plenty of light for reading. At the opposite end, a recently renovated sleeping porch provides extra quarters for guests.

The rooms and hallways are generously proportioned, but the home also offers multiple opportunities for expansion, if desired. The floored attic could easily be converted into additional bedrooms or a large bonus room. The basement level, which includes a large finished area with built-in shelves and a full bath, houses several spacious unfinished areas, as well.

There’s some updating that purchasers in this echelon might desire to bring a house of this era up to modern standards so buyers seeking the glamor of an upscale subdivision home would probably do best to look elsewhere. For instance, the kitchen, while pristine, retains a vintage feel with metal cabinets, Formica countertops, and a double stainless steel sink. And the functional and tidy bathrooms are not as glitzy or well-appointed as what purchasers in this price range may have come to expect.

Cosmetics and aesthetics aside, all the major systems– plumbing, mechanical and electrical– have been updated. Fire and security systems have been added, the slate roof has been re-engineered and all the original windows have been reglazed.

City living isn’t for everyone, though. University Circle is a little crowded traffic-wise with a number of the homes offering only on-street parking, and that by permit.  And purchasers who long for the impact of a mountain view certainly won’t find it here; there’s an apartment building across the street and a University dorm behind the house. But #31 includes both a private drive and a two-car garage, and giving up a view might be any easy concession to make with the Fralin Art Museum right around the corner and Mr. Jefferson’s Academical Village within easy walking distance. 
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1 comment

This won't get $1m, not until China forecloses on the US and the dollar goes into a tailspin.