300 more apartments coming to downtown Durham—and none of them for us peasants | News
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Friday, November 7, 2014

300 more apartments coming to downtown Durham—and none of them for us peasants

Posted by on Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 8:34 AM

We finally cleared the election haze from our eyes yesterday and read in the Triangle Business Journal that the Hendrick Durham Auto Mall property is being sold and converted into a mixed-use development with 308 luxury apartments—luxury meaning not affordable for us peasants who work downtown or would like to live in the city center.

A Charlotte developer, CitiSculpt is purchasing the 12.5-acre property at 409 S. Roxboro St.,  which has a tax value of $7 million, the TBJ reported.

Here's a quote from the story:
"[CitiSculpt Managing partner Charles Lindsay McAlpine] explains that the site is divided in such a way that it could support four areas, or pods, of development: one for a high-rise office or medical office building use; one for transit-oriented development due to its proximity to the proposed Durham transit line; one for multifamily apartments; and one for dense, mixed-use development fronting Roxboro Street."

The key statement is that the development will be close to the proposed Durham transit line. The city, Triangle Transit, Durham Community Land Trustees and Durham CAN have held public meetings over the past six weeks, with more to come, about building and preserving affordable housing near the light rail route. 

As the INDY reported in September, the economic, educational and residential benefits of light rail are well-documented. Businesses open near the rail stops, creating jobs. Affordable housing allows low- and moderate-income people to go to school, work and live without the expense of a car.

However, to ensure that the system benefits everyone, not just the wealthy, city and county officials and advocacy groups have to establish a bulwark against high-end development run amok. Earlier this year, City Council and County Commissioners passed a resolution setting a goal that 15 percent of housing within a half-mile of transit stops will be affordable. To reach that goal, some housing will need to be created; other will need to be preserved. 

It's time to update the INDY's chart of new apartment and condo developments. As of August, 2,684 apartments and condos were under construction or would be by next year. Add the 100 that 501 Realty is planning, plus these 308 and another 140 if the Greystone Inn project happens, and that comes to ... 3,232, with the only affordable units being the Lofts at Southside, which is heavily subsidized by the city.

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