CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Some might call it a dream deferred, while others call it a bunch of broken promises, but one thing is clear: Transformative changes are underway in Charlotte's Brookhill Village.
“It's about opportunities for families who deserved affordable housing,” said Antoine Dennard with Quore Real Estate Advisors, which is one of the firms overseeing the historically Black community's renovation.
In 1950 segregated housing was the norm when C.D. Spangler -- father of billionaire and former UNC System President C.D. Spangler Jr. -- built the 418-unit complex located near South Tryon Street and Remount Road in what is now South End.
The affordable housing units were constructed on land with a 99-year land lease stipulating only the buildings, not the ground upon which they sit, can be sold.
“Part of the challenge here is that there's been just almost neglect,” Dennard told WCNC Charlotte. “It represents opportunity to pay homage to an historic community.”
Last March, Dennard and Mike Griffin with Griffin Brothers became the latest developers over the last 72 years of the 99-year lease to partner to oversee the apartments. Griffin, who is a native Charlottean, said the work will be challenging but well worth it.
“South End is rapidly gentrifying, and all kinds of things are going on," Griffin explained. "We've got to get out of this crescent moon situation we have here in Charlotte, where everybody's condensed in certain areas."
For Griffin Brothers the work is an estimated $7 million investment, which includes demolition and replacing original single source oil heaters with HVAC units, LED lighting, appliances, paint, and fixtures.
The work will take place while the complex's current 100 residents remain tenants on the property.
“Relocating these families off site was not even an option for us,” Dennard said.
Griffin doesn't consider himself a traditional developer. He plans to complete the project in three phases over the next 36 months. He intends to add retail and traditional apartment among what he's calling “Workforce Housing” that will cost its subsidized residents between $350 and $550 to rent per month.
“I think that we can accommodate those families with a portion of this land use the other portion to help subsidize those accommodations. So, I think there's a business model here." Griffin added. "So, it's not charity.”
Contact Fred Shropshire at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
WCNC Charlotte has partnered with Pride Magazine to share stories like this one. You can learn more about Pride Magazine at pridemagazineonline.com.