The Town Council voted 5-3 Monday to advance a plan for affordable housing at the Carraway Village project north of town and to help pay for $4.2 million in Eubanks Road improvements.
The 55-acre project formerly known as the Edge is expected to bring between 600,000 and 837,000 square feet of apartments, retail, office and hotel space to the intersection of Eubanks Road, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Interstate 40.
Developer Northwood Ravin paid $11 million for the land and is seeking permits to start the first phase: 400 apartments and 9,800 square feet of ground-level retail in 11 buildings. The work includes new streets and a major upgrade for Eubanks Road, adding new turn lanes, bike lanes, sidewalks and intersections.
The first phase will cover an area from the town’s Eubanks Road Park and Ride lot to just west of the Northwoods subdivision. It will include the buildng of a a road across the property.
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“We have a vision for this, much like we did at Carolina Square” under construction on West Franklin Street downtown, said Adam Golden, Northwood Ravin’s vice president of development. “We are intending to make this a destination on the north side of town.”
A previous council approved the project in 2015; the decision Monday wrapped up loose ends related to four issues: affordable housing, a request that the town help pay for the roadwork, and the timing for annexation and signs.
The town will pay $1.3 million toward improving Eubanks Road, potentially over 12 to 16 years, by delaying annexation to 2018 and granting back a specific amount of property taxes generated by the project. The agreement ensures at least 50 percent of the new property taxes would go to the town.
We have a vision for this, much like we did at Carolina Square. We are intending to make this a destination on the north side of town.
Delaying annexation will save Northwood Ravin roughly $47,200 in town taxes; the “grants” will reduce the developer’s tax bill by a percentage, based on the amount of commercial space built.
If the developer builds 8,000 square feet of office, retail or hotel space, for instance, the town would reimburse 50 percent of half of the project’s new town property taxes. The percentage goes up to 75 percent for 85,000 square feet and 100 percent for 175,000 square feet.
Northwood Ravin also agreed to seek federal tax credits or other financing to build 50 apartments on one acre for families. Council member Sally Greene argued for setting aside some affordable apartments for families earning less than 80 percent of the area median income. In Chapel Hill, that’s a two-person family earning $45,250 a year.
Northwood Ravin is open to greater flexibility, Golden said.
The town could get the land for $1 in 10 years if Northwood Ravin hasn’t secured a building permit and financing.
The developer should be done building the apartments in 10 years, said Town Council member Nancy Oates, who voted against the deal.
“I think we need to have something hanging over their heads as a motivation for them to put this first,” she said.
Greene, who agreed with Oates, and Council member Jessica Anderson also voted against the measure. Anderson noted the amount of retail required for town road “grants” seemed “really low.”