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'It’s surreal' | Residents move into new Hickory affordable housing

New affordable homes were built on city-owned property in Hickory's Ridgeview community.

HICKORY, N.C. — The City of Hickory is seeking solutions to affordable housing by helping families realize the dream of homeownership.

The city just finished building six new homes in the Ridgeview community in partnership with a Charlotte-based developer.  

"It’s surreal we’re feeling fantastic about it," Carmello Priolo, a new homeowner, said at Wednesday's ribbon cutting. "It’s hard to believe.”  

Priolo and his family are moving into their dream home at an affordable rate. It’s something they didn’t think was possible.  

"The markets so crazy, so competitive," Priolo said.

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"Our housing stock is somewhat lacking, "Hank Guess, Hickory mayor, explained. "Not just affordable housing but for housing in general.” 

To tackle the issue of affordable housing, the city created a partnership with JNR Development to create affordable homes on city-owned property.  

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The developer worked with a manufacturer, OFFSITEK, that uses robots and 3D printing, to redesign homebuilding in a fast, affordable way. 

"What makes us different is we make them out of steel and that saves us 25 to 40% on time to construct these homes," Chris Younger, of JNR Development, said.

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Saving time and money is a big reason the city of Hickory was able to build these homes, according to Guess.

As a first-time home buyer, Shontabia Belton is excited to build wealth for her family.   

“I have a 6-year-old son," Shontabia Belton said. "I want to make sure I can maintain our living and be there for my son.”  

A home of her dreams, thanks in part to the city of Hickory seeking solutions to create more affordable housing.   

“I want to thank the city for their collaboration because of their idea it gave someone like me opportunity and hope," Belton said. "So grateful.” 

The homes are being sold for $155,000 to $168,000 to eligible families earning up to 80% of the area median income, and will remain affordable for 15 years, even if the homeowner chooses to sell the home during that time.

JNR Development is currently in talks with the city to possibly add more homes in the future.  They’re also currently building homes in Statesville.

Contact Lexi Wilson at lwilson@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve. 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. Send your tips or questions to newstips@wcnc.com.

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