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Raleigh guarantees affordable housing for artists

Posted January 25, 2013

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— An affordable housing project that gives one Councilor “heartburn” will move forward after a vote by Council this week.

City Councilors last week approved a 99-year lease with the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina for the redevelopment of Stone’s Warehouse on East Davie and South East streets.

The lease will ensure that the community will remain as affordable housing throughout the 99 years.

Councilor Thomas Crowder cast the lone vote against the project. He said he feels “heartburn” over it and would rather have the project go through the traditional Request for Proposal (RFP) process to allow other affordable housing developers to bid on the property.

Developers Vann Joines and Landmark Asset Services plan to turn the decaying building into an affordable housing community geared toward artists.

The city will lease the property for an initial payment of $121,154 with an annual rent of $25,308 for the life of the lease with a 2 percent interest rate. In total, the city will receive more than $2.6 million for the property.

Because the project will be built using affordable housing credits, developers have to meet strict leasing guidelines.

By law, developers can’t require that the residents of the community be artists, but the apartments will be built to encourage those kinds of tenants.

Joines said he will work with various groups to make sure residents of the immediate community know about the project and have an opportunity to apply for housing.

During the public hearing, resident Sig Hutchinson spoke in favor of the project. He said he’s been involved with it since the summer.

“I love this project,” he said.

Hutchinson called it a win because it adds affordable housing in downtown Raleigh, focuses on the artists and entrepreneurs, and will foster community.

The project didn’t win all rave reviews. Southeast Raleigh resident Danny Coleman said there are no guarantees the building will continue to serve low-income residents after the affordable housing tax credits run out in 30 years.

“The development doesn’t agree with any of the community plans,” he said.

Coleman likened it to the two failed Kroger grocery stores in the area that he said were built against community plans.

Councilors questioned the length of the lease and the expiration of the tax credits.

Joines said in order to receive appropriate financing, the lease must look like an ownership . A 99-year lease gives the impression of ownership for investors.

Community Development Director Michele Grant confirmed that the tax credits, and the affordable housing component, would only be required to last 30 years.

Rex Todd of the Landmark Asset Services told the Council Landmark has no intention of flipping the property to market rate.

“We don’t do that,” he said. “We have no intention as operating it other than as bona fide affordable housing.”

Because the city will continue to serve as landlord, the city ultimately decides what can be done with it.

Grant said her office can work on strengthening the language in the lease that to require a continuation of affordable housing.

If the developers don’t receive the tax credits necessary to do the project, the lease will terminate and the city will release an RFP.

56 Comments

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  • Sherlock Jan 28, 4:08 p.m.

    What about homeless individuals, why not have this for them.?

  • NCAries Jan 28, 2:05 p.m.

    @freedomrings

    Absolutely right.

  • CraftyMo Jan 28, 12:52 p.m.

    I am great with paper mache and coloring books. Think I can get subsidized housing? Who will be the ones to determine what type/style of artists they allow? I agree with others views that I don't want my tax dollars to go to a group that some politically motivated people decide who is a worthy artisit. If they are skilled artists then why the housing anyway? Are they going to fill up the place with mediocre at best artists? The whole thing is elitist and discriminatory. If a bunch of wealthy art supporters want to reward struggling artists and are willing to break out their checkbooks to foot the bill, fine. If not the City of Raleigh needs to look at scrapping this idea. Btw who the heck came up with this stupid idea anyway?

  • ConservativeVoter Jan 28, 11:42 a.m.

    More socialism from the City of Raleigh.

    Why should they be subsidizing housing for Artists.

    I work and pay for my home, why should my taxes be paying for housing for people who went into careers that pay very poorly if at all.

  • birkie74693 Jan 28, 11:30 a.m.

    Help ARTISTS?!?

    As my pal Ebenezer always said, are there no poorhouses?

    No, the thing to do is take away their Birkenstocks and patchouli, make them get haircuts, give them cheap manmade-fabric clothes, and put them to work in cubicles or behind cash registers. They'll soon grow gray and die of sadness. And then we conservatives can enjoy PRIVATELY funded art--like Nascar races, professional wrestling, girlie calendars, and loudmouthed bigots with talk-radio shows. That's the kind of America we want, dagnabbit!

  • SARCASTICLES Jan 25, 7:58 p.m.

    Sounds like a job for Charlie Chan, Dave.......

  • SARCASTICLES Jan 25, 7:45 p.m.

    It's probably more "Elitist Raleigh priorities". The words that end in "ist" are considered the most sinister and insidious, according to the best far-right "thinkers" on AM talk radio.

    The proper (and most fear-inducing) form would be to say "Liberalist Socialist Elitist Communist Leftist Environmentalist Statist Marxist Propagandist Fascist" Raleigh priorities.

    Of course, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, but The Center for Conservative Studies has successfully utilized this terminology to frighten their target audience out of their dull wits, and part them with their money.

    Who says America ain't the land of opportunity?

  • miseem Jan 25, 7:33 p.m.

    Might be forward thinking, might be a waste of money. Lots of areas have been boosted by investment like this. Some haven't. One thing Raleigh need to do is improve livability in the downtown area.

  • davidvanwagener Jan 25, 7:15 p.m.

    "The angry little right wingers just don't seem to realize that not everyone is as full of fear, hate, ignorance, and greed as they are. Some people really enjoy the arts and recognize their value to a civilized society. This idea will pay dividends for Raleigh now and especially in the future." - Geosol

    Geosol - your 'angry little right wingers' are not disparaging the arts, but we don't think it's the government's job to pay for it. This is a complete waste of money that will produce little in the way of artistic merit and is just a means to throw money at people whose have chosen to live at the public trough. Who chooses these artists? What will they be creating? Anybody else like to know the answers to the questions before we waste the money?

  • djofraleigh Jan 25, 6:45 p.m.

    shouldn't the resources be focused on the many homeless on the streets of Raleigh? That would be a good shelter location. Like the million dollar walking bridge from rich inner beltline over the beltline to the art museum (half paid by city) goes up while poor pedestrians still trek across the beltline at New Bern & Rock Quarry walk without sidewalks on two foot borders to the streets. This is liberal Raleigh priorities, or is it elitist Raleigh priorities? The trek over crabtree creek and I-440 on New Bern is truly beyond scary and dangerous.

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