The Charlotte City Council on Monday unanimously approved spending $2.1 million to help developers acquire and renovate an east Charlotte apartment complex called Sharon Oaks to preserve what city officials call "naturally occurring affordable housing," or NOAH.
It was the first funding vote since citizens approved $50 million in bonds for affordable housing last fall. And it followed through on the council's pledge last summer to do more to preserve existing housing, not just build new units.
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Council member Ed Driggs said it paves the way for more projects like it.
"Twenty thousand (dollars) per unit, 15 years of affordability. So I think this is a wonderful example for the ambition we have to create more NOAHs and to protect properties from being gentrified," Driggs said.
Driggs was referring to terms of the deal, which would provide $18,877 to $21,428 in Housing Trust Fund subsidies per unit for renovations at the complex, off Sharon Amity Road. The units would have to remain at affordable rents for at least 15 years.
Councilmember Justin Harlow also praised the deal.
"It locks in affordability in a corridor that will continue to change, like many of our Charlotte neighborhoods," Harlow said. "So this is really a charge to other developers to, I would say, find stuff like this."
Developers Laurel Street Partners and Ascent Real Estate Capital are leading the project, which will rehabilitate a complex with sections dating from 1961 and the early 1990s, according to the city's Housing & Neighborhood Development office.
For now, existing tenants can remain, but eventually units would be renovated with a mix of price points:
- 20 units with rents set at 30 percent of the area median income, or AMI.
- 10 units at 50 percent of AMI.
- 48 units at 60 percent of AMI.
- 20 units with no income restrictions.
Current rents at Sharon Oaks are suitable for people at about 60 percent of AMI — about $700 a month for 1-bedroom units and $873 a month for 2 bedrooms, according to the city.
The city and consultants have estimated that Charlotte has a shortfall of 24,000 affordable apartment units. Consultants for the city say the biggest need is for people earning 30 percent of the area median income, or about $21,000 a year for a family of four.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the city is buying the Sharon Oaks apartment complex. The city is helping developers acquire and renovate the apartments.