The city is embarking on one of its largest affordable-housing projects in recent years, but some residents are skeptical.
The Raleigh City Council has agreed to set aside $6.8 million to revamp Washington Terrace, a privately owned housing community east of downtown Raleigh, near St. Augustine’s University.
Much of the money from the city will come from voter-approved bonds. Raleigh typically has not spent such a large sum on affordable-housing projects.
By redeveloping Washington Terrace, the city would create more affordable-housing units than it has created over the past five years combined.
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The project would be “transformational,” said Larry Jarvis, director of housing and neighborhoods for Raleigh.
“This is probably one of the most exciting affordable-housing projects the city has embarked on,” said city council member Mary-Ann Baldwin.
DHIC, a nonprofit that helps create affordable housing in Raleigh and other cities, owns Washington Terrace and will work to secure other funding sources, including federal money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Early plans include 162 units of mostly one- and two-bedroom apartments. There is space for an on-site daycare facility, and DHIC hopes to reserve some land for a school.
The nonprofit wants to reserve some apartments for adults with disabilities who currently live in adult care homes. Those units would have one bedroom and could be partially funded through state money, if lawmakers include in a state budget.
Some people who live in Washington Terrace said they have mixed feelings about the plan.
Angela Burrell, 46, looks after her grandson who lives in the neighborhood. She said she would like to see more amenities, like space for children, better landscaping and more signage, especially speed limit signs.
Sarah Turner, 72, lives in Washington Terrace and said the inclusion of governmental funds makes her uneasy. It holds developments to certain standards, including some that create tough requirements for residents, she said.
Turner used to live in Walnut Terrace, an affordable-housing community in Raleigh that was redeveloped earlier this year. She said the apartments are now too expensive for her, and she didn’t meet some of the guidelines to live in the neighborhood, which include employment and income requirements.
A one-bedroom market-rate apartment at Walnut Terrace costs $775 a month. The development also includes income-based rentals.
“They don’t stick to their word,” Turner said of the city’s affordable-housing projects. “I’d like apartments to be affordable.”
For DHIC to be eligible for federal tax credits from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city must approve a Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area plan.
City staff created a plan for the East College Park neighborhood and Washington Terrace, but they encountered stiff opposition from residents in the East College Park neighborhood.
Some residents said they wanted to have more input in the plan.
The city has extended the planning process for East College Park, and a public hearing is set for November.