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PR: Groundbreaking Ceremony for The Center at Belvedere

Groundbreaking Ceremony for The Center at Belvedere on Nov. 16 Marks a New Era for Active Aging and Community Health

Charlottesville, VA, November 7, 2018—The Center (formerly the Senior Center) will celebrate groundbreaking for its new home, The Center at Belvedere, with a public event on Friday, November 16, 2018. After the traditional shovel ceremony at the building site, Albemarle County Supervisors Ann Mallek and Ned Gallaway, Charlottesville City Councilor Kathy Galvin and Vice-Mayor Heather Hill, and The Center’s Executive Director Peter Thompson will travel the 1.5 miles back to The Center’s current home to offer brief remarks. Bushman Dreyfus Architects will also present a 3-D virtual tour of the new Center, which will serve our community’s health priority of increasing well-being across the lifespan.

Note on Locations: Given the uncertainties of November weather and rough terrain at the site, most of the activity will be at The Center’s current location. A hardy band of shovel-wielders will be at the Belvedere property briefly (with live streaming of the action) before heading to Hillsdale Drive for the rest of the festivities.



Friday, November 16, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.; program runs from 11–11:45 a.m.


Shovel Celebration - 11:00 am - The Center at Belvedere building site, (off E. Rio Rd.)

Live Stream/Remarks/Virtual Tour - 11:00am–12:30 pm - The Center located on Belvedere Blvd. 491 Hillsdale Drive, Charlottesville

Who:      Albemarle County Supervisors Ann Mallek and Ned Gallaway; Charlottesville City Councilors Kathy Galvin and Heather Hill; The Center Executive Director Peter Thompson; Center supporters

Guests are invited to mingle and enjoy refreshments following the ceremony. Press photography during the event and interviews with Center members and leadership afterwards are welcome.


·         11:00 am - Live streaming of the action from the building site

·         11:10 am - 3-D virtual tour of the new Center courtesy of Bushman Dreyfus Architects 

·         11:20 am - Remarks by representatives from Albemarle County, the City of Charlottesville, & The Center

·         11:40 am - Light refreshments and fun photo ops!

Site work will begin in earnest by early December on The Center at Belvedere, a new home for an organization that has served the greater Charlottesville region since 1960. This $24 million project will provide more than 48,000 square feet and will encompass a performing arts auditorium with rehearsal space; a fitness and wellness wing with two group exercise rooms and an equipped fitness room; an educational wing with flexible classroom spaces; a volunteer center to support area nonprofits; an art studio; a game room; and a travel office to serve the community. Greenberry’s Café and a Sentara Martha Jefferson Primary Care Clinic, both on site and open to the public, will draw multiple generations.

At the helm of the project is Matthews Development Company, LLC; Bushman Dreyfus Architects, which is responsible for its design; and Barton Malow, which will lead the building process. Consultation from Lifespan Design Studio is ensuring aging-friendly, “universal” design. Funding for construction comes from an outpouring of community generosity: a mix of philanthropic donations, investment by Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville; and financing from Carter Bank and Trust. 

Conveniently located in the Belvedere neighborhood, the new Center will prioritize accessibility through design, proximity to public transit, and scholarships for those who have a need. The Center at Belvedere, opening in spring 2020, will be a modern, vibrant community hub.

Image: Credit to Bushman Dreyfus Architects

About The Center & The Center at Belvedere

The nationally-accredited, award-winning Center creates opportunities for healthy aging through social engagement, physical well-being, civic involvement, creativity, and lifelong learning. Long recognized nationally as a leading resource for senior health and independence, The Center’s culture engages members in pursuits from Tai Chi to travel, from poker to book club, from computers to painting—all promoting active aging and fostering community. Through its volunteer program, members donate tens of thousands of hours of volunteer service annually, improving quality of life for people of all ages. The current Center serves more than 8,000 area residents a year with more than 100 programs every week, but is limited by a facility built before much of the research on healthy aging emerged. With indoor and outdoor spaces appropriate to the activities that science says we all need to age well, The Center at Belvedere will meet the needs of our region’s growing population. For more information, please visit


For press queries and interview requests, contact:

Virginia Peale, Marketing & Communications Director