Grant Could Mean More Affordable Housing Near Durham Station | News
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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Grant Could Mean More Affordable Housing Near Durham Station

Posted by on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 4:00 PM

click to enlarge DHIC AND SELF-HELP VENTURES FUND
  • DHIC and Self-Help Ventures Fund
Funding from Duke University and the A.J. Fletcher Foundation could allow for more affordable housing on a prime downtown Durham site.

Last year, the City Council approved a concept for the site, adjacent to Durham Station, that included affordable housing, parking, retail and office space. The grant — in the amount of $2.5 to $3 million — could alleviate the need for office space, which had been factored into the plans to maximize use of the property and bring in revenue to help cover the gap between the cost to build affordable housing and the rent it generates.

According to city staff, who updated the City Council during a meeting Thursday, the development team behind the project had been looking for potential tenants when the university and the foundation offered to provide a grant instead of leasing office space.

The grant could help pay for parking at the site and allow the development team "to explore the option of building additional affordable housing on the site, in lieu of a market rate office component," per a city memo.

"That is a very significant gift toward our affordable housing program," said Mayor Steve Schewel. (Schewel announced earlier this year that the city is working with Duke to set up an affordable housing trust fund that would use private and city dollars to preserve and create affordable housing.)

It's unclear right now what exactly the reworked project would look like. Staff members and the development team are planing to bring concepts and cost estimates to the council at its April 19 work session.

It's possible that the development could be built in separate phases. It is not expected that the city would have to kick in more than the $3.6 million it already plans to contribute (the city also conveyed the two-acre property to the development team for $1). The developers are seeking low-income housing tax credits to cover much of the overall cost, which currently amounts to about $17 million.

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