CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-area developers are seeking solutions to preserve historic affordable housing on South Tryon Street known as Brookhill Village.
Thursday night, the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners approved giving $3.5 million to Brookhill Investments, LLC to renovate the units and keep the rent affordable for current and future tenants.
Brookhill Village is a neighborhood just outside of South End that's set to see massive changes over the next several years. The 40-acre property is on South Tryon Street and a massive opportunity for development.
The builders told WCNC Charlotte preserving the 100 existing affordable housing units on the property is a top priority. They're currently occupied by about 80 families.
The historically Black community was built in 1950 during segregation. Over time, the units were not maintained. In 2022, Brookhill Investments took over the land lease and demolished about 250 units that were beyond repair and attracted crime, according to the developer.
Now, they're breathing new life into Brookhill by renovating the remaining units without displacing residents.
"They have been on the wrong side of broken promises for so long," Antoine Dennard said. "So, for us, making sure they’re taken care of, and better product, clean product, reimagined product is first and foremost."
After renovating the existing affordable units, they plan to build market-rate housing and retail on the cleared land.
"To have 40 acres on this contiguous space -- it’s a rarity," Dennard said. "So, that’s why we’re so excited to have a truly mixed-income, mixed-use development going forward."
As the area gets more expensive, Dennard said preserving affordability on the prime piece of real estate is hard but important.
"That’s probably our biggest hurdle," Dennard admitted, "is all the development that’s happening around us, you look at your cost per square foot, the taxes associated with that; it makes this development extremely complex."
County commissioners applauded Dennard and Griffin for taking on the project before voting to approve the funds.
"I'm just really happy this board has allocated funds to preserve affordable housing, this is a great use of those funds," Commissioner Leigh Altman said.
When renovations are completed, the affordable units will be managed by city and county housing services and a Charlotte nonprofit called the Harvest Center.
"What we expect to do is be on campus providing daily services, helping those families there and new families in Brookhill Village live sustainable lives," Colin Pinkney, CEO of the Harvest Center, told WCNC Charlotte.
Charlotte City Council is expected to vote on their contribution to the project on Monday.
Dennard said they hope to finish renovations by July 2024. Brookhill Village’s land lease ensures the 100 existing units stay affordable through the year 2049.
This story is part of ‘I Can’t Afford to Live Here,’ a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte. WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve, including affordability. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you by providing the following assistance programs in Charlotte:
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