In a small farming town in Illinois, Keith O. Woodard began learning carpentry at the age of 5 by helping his dad in their basement workshop. By age 14, he was working on his first construction site; by 18, he was running a framing crew; and by 20, he and his friend had worked out a way to frame an entire ranch home in only three days, nailed by hand. Building structures was always Keith’s passion, so it was a natural progression for him to go on to study architecture in college.
After graduating from the College of Architecture from the University of Kentucky in 1976, Keith moved to Charlottesville, making a new home here for his family. His first endeavors were designing and building custom homes, but when interest rates rose to 21% in 1981, it was evident that Woodard Properties needed a new direction and focus. Keith recognized the need for quality student housing near UVA and designed and built Cherry Suites, which are still owned and managed by Woodard Properties today. Recognizing the importance of design and location, additional properties were developed on Wertland Street, Arlington Boulevard, Montebello Circle, Jefferson Park Avenue, King Street, John Street, and 13th and 14th Streets. Woodard Properties now provides housing for almost 750 students attending UVA.
In the mid-1980′s, the historic renovation of The Exchange Center on The Downtown Mall was Woodard Properties’ first substantial entry into commercial property development. Additional endeavors included the design and reconstruction of a bed and breakfast inn, the Independence Resource Center, and several custom homes.
The acquisition and revitalization of Market Square in 2005 and McIntire Plaza in 2007 solidified the commercial holdings of Woodard Properties. Together with the Cherry Avenue Shopping Center, commercial space in Belmont, and Class-A office space at 400 Preston, Woodard Properties provides homes for over 200 retail, office, service, and industrial businesses and non-profit entities in Charlottesville.
To help with our community’s affordable housing needs, in 2007 Woodard Properties purchased Dogwood Properties, a long-time endeavor of Eugene Williams. These properties are being revitalized so that Mr. Williams’s vision can continue to serve Charlottesville residents and honor his legacy. In addition to the Dogwood Properties, Woodard Properties also owns and manages many other affordable units and proudly works with housing authorities and non-profit organizations to house low-income families.
In addition to providing affordable housing, Woodard Properties also offers affordable commercial business space. This provides start-up businesses the ability to grow and succeed, feeding employment opportunities for everyone in our community.
Since first building homes in 1978, Keith has been involved in the design and construction of many projects that utilized solar and green methods and systems. More recent projects involve historic renovations on the Downtown Mall, including an event center, restaurant, retail space, and apartments. Additional projects have included apartments on Park Street at historic Comyn Hall, and a 50,000 square foot expansion of McIntire Plaza.
In 2008 Woodard Properties adopted an open-book management philosophy utilizing the ‘Great Game of Business’. This model gives all employees a stake in the outcome based on the success of the business. The Woodard Properties team provides the commitment, pride, and energy needed to manage, maintain, and develop the properties.
In 2019, a new era began when Anthony Woodard, Keith’s son, stepped into the position of CEO to oversee the daily operations and carry on the envisioned future of Woodard Properties. Anthony and his three sisters grew up with the business and often could be found on the properties picking up litter, mowing grass, pulling weeds, assisting on construction sites, leasing apartments, or assembling welcome bags for new residents. Anthony went on to earn a degree in International Relations and Business Management from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. After graduation, he worked as a strategy and operations consultant and then as a Special Agent for the federal government. Anthony, having grown up locally and now raising his children here, has a deep connection to Charlottesville and was very excited for the opportunity to come back to the family business. With guidance from Keith and his three sisters, who are still involved with the strategy and planning of the business, Anthony’s ingenuity and passion will continue to foster Woodard Properties’ commitment to sustainable growth and improving the quality of working and living in our community.
Woodard Properties supports numerous local organizations by providing financial, hands-on, and in-kind support to non-profits related to educational, cultural, social, housing, and other community initiatives. Keith and Anthony have and do serve on many area boards that serve these initiatives.
Woodard Properties’ diverse portfolio not only includes student, traditional, affordable, and commercial properties, it also includes vacant land for future development. With the continuous growth of Charlottesville, Woodard Properties will continue its mission to provide pleasant environments for residents and businesses to call home.