czb came to Danville, a historic community in south-central Virginia on the border of Virginia and North Carolina, in Fall 2014 to provide the city with an evaluation of its housing market conditions and a list of recommended strategic interventions for regaining market strength.
czb identified four primary issues that impacted conditions in Danville: excess supply, geographic isolation from other markets, declining incomes, and unappealing housing stock.
To combat these issues, czb recommended a series of place-based and supply-oriented efforts intended to stabilize the housing market and reverse trends. czb analyzed wages, property values, and the conditions of more than 15,000 structures in Danville and conducted interviews and focus groups with homeowners, realtors, city officials, and potential buyers to better understand market conditions. Three places — the River District, the Old West End, and Danville Community College — were identified as targets for place-based initiatives.
Danville formed a Community Development Corporation (CDC) to tackle blight, build resident capacity, and incentivize neighborhood reinvestment in 3 key target areas, as recommended by the plan.
The city has committed to allocating $250,000 to its new Community Development Corporation budget for two years.
Today, the city is making plans to strengthen housing in and around its asset areas and prioritize blight removal in its identified target areas. Based on czb’s work, Danville was chosen as the case study on blight removal and vacant property disposition for the 2016 class at Harvard Law School. Danville has also created and offered seed funding for a Community Development Corporation designed to tackle blight, build resident capacity, and incentivize neighborhood reinvestment in its target areas.