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Charlotte City Council agrees to help buy and renovate apartments for affordable housing

A Charlotte City Council meeting in September 2022.
City of Charlotte
A Charlotte City Council meeting in September 2022.

The new Charlotte City Council voted unanimously Monday night to participate in a new project to renovate an apartment complex for affordable housing.

Councilmembers lauded the concept as an innovative way to leverage its funding to preserve existing housing rather than build new units, which could take as long as two years.

The plan calls for Charlotte to give $8 million from its American Rescue Plan money to Central NOAH LLC to buy and renovate the Peppertree Apartments on Central Avenue. The total cost is expected to be over $55 million for the 292-unit complex. Mecklenburg County Commissioners are expected to consider contributing $4 million to the project next week.

“City Council and the city is really looking at this like a Swiss Army knife,” said Mayor Pro Tem Braxton Winston . “And I really do think that we add a tool to that knife year after year, project after project. I think we should not overlook the fact that for 20 years this will provide 44 new long-term rental subsidies.”

District 6 councilmember Tariq Bokhari urged colleagues to consider doing more to require workforce development and wraparound services rather than encouraging them.

“I’m largely supportive of this effort. I think the folks doing it are very good and they think outside of the box,” he said. “As long as that’s a side note goal and not something directly tied to the financial benefits we’re pumping into it, it won’t be achieved at the level it could be.”

Councilmember at-Large James Mitchell and others agreed in principle but wanted the project to move forward.

“I hope our citizens realize that this is a new model for us to have the private community partner with the city and the county,” Mitchell said.

Shawn Heath, city director of Housing and Neighborhood Services, said 44 of the Peppertree units would be devoted to the rental subsidy program. The property manager would work to populate those with individuals from the community as they become available.

Woody is a Charlotte native who came to WFAE from the world of NASCAR where he was host of NASCAR Today for MRN Radio as well as a pit reporter, turn announcer and host of the NASCAR Live pre race show for Cup Series races. Before that, he was a news anchor at WBT radio in Charlotte, a traffic reporter, editor of The Charlotte Observer’s University City Magazine, News/Sports Director at WEGO-AM in Concord and a Swiss Army knife in local cable television. His first job after graduating from Appalachian State University was news reporter at The Daily Independent in Kannapolis. Along the way he’s covered everything from murder trials and a national political convention to high school sports and minor league baseball.