durham can

The Herald Sun- Priorities vs. pocketbooks: Affordable housing in downtown Durham could be costly

The Herald Sun

Priorities vs. pocketbooks: Affordable housing in downtown Durham could be costly

Posted by Virginia Bridges vbridges@newsobserver.com

The News&Observer- Durham Housing Authority moving forward to repurchase Fayette Place

The News&Observer

Durham Housing Authority Moving Forward to Repurchase Fayette Place

Posted by Virginia Bridges vbridges@newsobserver.com

 

The Durham Housing Authority is taking steps to reacquire 20 acres of overgrown land and crumbling foundations for future affordable housing.

The authority issued a default notice last year to Philadelphia-based Campus Apartments, which had bought the Fayette Place property in 2007 with a promise to build affordable housing for N. C. Central University students.

The purchase agreement let the Durham Housing Authority (DHA) repurchase the property if Campus Apartments failed to have at least 168 beds rented by NCCU students or low-income individuals.

The repurchase option must be exercised by August 6.

Campus Apartments representatives didn’t respond in writing to the notice, said DHA Chief Executive Officer Anthony Scott, but the company indicated in conversations it didn’t have any plans to develop the property.

Under the agreement, DHA can acquire the property for the purchase price or a recent appraised value, whichever is higher. A recent appraisal valued the property at less than the $4 million the company paid, Scott said. Company officials indicated they plan to require the higher value, Scott said.

DHA officials are also working with the city to identify funds to purchase the property, which is off Fayetteville Street, a block from the Stanford L. Warren Branch of the Durham County Library.

Mark Schultz mschultz@newsobserver.com

At a Monday night Durham Congregations, Associations & Neighborhoods meeting, five of the six City Council members present agreed to support repurchasing the project. Mayor Bill Bell wasn’t able to attend.

Councilman Eddie Davis was uncomfortable making such a commitment at the meeting, he said. He thinks the property needs to be back under local control, he said, but wasn’t prepared to give the straight yes or no answer that Durham CAN wanted.

“I just need to have more information to deal with not only that request but other (budget) requests from the Durham Housing Authority,” he said.

At the meeting, Durham CAN also planned to ask Campus Apartments to donate the property, but a company representative didn’t attend.

Durham CAN has pushed DHA and city officials to take actions on the property through public and private meetings.

Campus Apartments issued a statement that was very similar to the one it issued after Durham CAN held a rally at the property in July.

“When we purchased the property, we had every intention to develop affordable student housing in partnership with N. C. Central University; however, the original plan did not come to fruition,” the statement says. “Campus Apartments then made a significant investment to remove the dilapidated structures and secure the property. We understand the community’s desire to develop the property and appreciate local community feedback.”

City Councilman Steve Schewel, the council’s liaison on the DHA board, is confident the city will help DHA, if necessary, to make the purchase, he said.

Mark Schultz mschultz@newsobserver.com

Once the property is acquired, surrounding neighborhoods and other members of the community will be involved in the process to determined what will happen to the property.

“Those folks want to be part of the discussion and need to be part of the discussion,” Schewel said.

City and DHA officials say the project will involve affordable housing, but it’s too soon to say how or when the property would be redeveloped.

“The development of Fayette Place has to be thought of in concert with the redevelopment of the other large housing authority existing communities,” Schewel said.

City Manager Tom Bonfield said the issue will likely come before the City Council at the end of May or June. Specifics haven’t been discussed, but he expects the city will be asked to cover the entire purchase price. The money would most likely come from the city’s general fund balance.

It’s too soon to say whether the city would loan or grant DHA the money, but the city wants to be a partnership in the redevelopment, Bonfield said.

“The big thing is not missing this window of returning the property to public control,” he said.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges


HISTORY OF FAYETTE PLACE

For about 35 years, the property housed the 200-unit Fayetteville Street public housing complex. In the early 2000s, the Durham Housing Authority started to convert the property into Fayette Place, a low-income housing development funded with tax credits. The development never happened.

In 2007, Campus Apartments agreed to pay the DHA $4 million for Fayette Place. Part of the agreement allowed DHA to repurchase the property if Campus Apartments failed to rent at least 168 beds to N.C. Central University students or provide housing for low-income individuals.

The property was never developed.

WRAL – Residents ask Durham City Council to buy back, develop abandoned land

The News & Observer -Durham CAN seeks update on abandoned Fayette Place property

Durham CAN seeks update on abandoned Fayette Place property

BY VIRGINIA BRIDGES   vbridges@newsobserver.com     April 20, 2017

DURHAM- Delegates of Durham Congregations Associations and Neighborhoods plan to meet with Fayette Place stakeholders Monday to discuss the stalled project.

Durham CAN delegates will meet with city officials and Anthony Scott, chief executive officer of the the Durham Housing Authority, lead organizer Ivan Parra said. Executives from the for-profit, Philadelphia-based Campus Apartments have been invited, but haven’t confirmed, he said.

The 7 p.m. meeting will be held at Monument of Faith Church at 900 Simmons St. and is open to the public.

“Campus Apartments have demonstrated they lack interest and vision for this property and our community,” Clarence Laney, pastor of Monument of Faith Church, said in a news release.

“Their lack of interest has left the largest undeveloped property in the city,” he said. “One can be sure this kind of neglect doesn’t happen at the rest of their luxury properties across the U.S.”

The future of Fayette Place will be the focus of the meeting, but CAN leaders will also unveil results of a recent neighborhood audit they performed and ask the city to address a series of items it identified.

For about 35 years, the 20-acre property housed the 200-unit Fayetteville Street public housing complex. In the early 2000s, DHA officials started to convert it into Fayette Place, a low-income housing development funded with tax credits. The development never happened.

In 2007, Campus Apartments agreed to pay the housing authority $4 million for Fayette Place. The agreement allowed the housing authority to repurchase the property if Campus Apartments failed to rent at least 168 beds to N.C. Central University students or to provide housing for low-income individuals.

The housing authority must exercise its option by August 2017.

Dan Hudgins, chair of the authority’s board, said last summer that the agency has asked the city for help repurchasing the property.

In July, CAN held a press conference calling for the authority to reacquire the vacant property, now marked by crumbling foundation slabs behind a chain-link fence. CAN officials have been meeting with authority officials monthly since then, Parra said.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924@virginiabridges

 A neighborhood watch signs stands guard over the slabs that remain of the Fayette Place public housing project in the Hayti district. Durham CAN would like to see affordable housing tried again on the site.

Mark Schultz mschultz@newsobserver,com

The Herald Sun – Immigrant, refugee backers pack Immaculate Conception Catholic Church to affirm city as inclusive

Immigrant, refugee backers pack Immaculate Conception Catholic Church to affirm city as inclusive

Rachael Riley Mar 5, 2017

DURHAM — More than 1,300 Latinos, Muslims, refugees, immigrants, their families and supporters filled Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Sunday to affirm Durham as a city of inclusion.

The event, which organizers insisted was not a protest, was hosted by the N.C. Congress of Latino Organizations (NCCLO) and Durham Congregations Associations and Neighborhoods (Durham C.A.N) and conducted in both English and Spanish.

“We hope that as we leave here, we’re not going to be leaving with confusion but rather with hope,” said Banlly Baquedano, a representative of Iglesia Hispana Emanuel and mother of two.

The forum is on the heels of a Feb. 20 checkpoint set up near Durham’s School of Creative Studies.

Durham County Sheriff’s Office officials said the checkpoint was in response to speeding complaints not an attempt to trap immigrants. The following day the department announced appointment of Capt. Raheem Aleem — a Spanish-speaking Muslim officer — as its new liaison to the Hispanic community.

Sheriff’s Maj. Paul Martin spoke on behalf of the department at Sunday’s event.

“Our main concern at the Durham County Sheriff’s Department is the fact that rumors will drive people deeper into the underground,” Martin said, citing concerns of slumlords and loan sharks taking advantage of fear.

Durham Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis said as a mother and resident, she is concerned about what is happening in the nation.

“Checkpoints in the city of Durham have been directed to cease and desist,” Davis said.

Organizers said the purpose of Sunday’s gathering was to meet with decision makers representing Durham’s law enforcement agencies, city, county and school leaders to clarify the way authorities will interact with immigrants in the face of “federal pressure” to deport or criminalize them.

The message of Sunday’s forum was similar to one held in late February at St. Thomas More Catholic Church with police chiefs from Chapel Hill and Carrboro, that despite President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order that barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and suspends entry of refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries, there have not been local Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids.

“We’re here as a reaction to the fact that the highest office in this nation is openly hostile in pursuing a campaign against nearly all people, that one sliver of this mission targeting Muslims, immigrants and refugees whether we came by way of South America or East Africa, paperless or duty free seeks to erode our humanity on the basis of status,” said Sijal Nasralla, the first U.S.-born, Southern raised member of his refugee family and representative of Church World Services.

Accountability, Nasralla said, is knowing “asylum is achievable” and the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency “in schools should be absolutely inconceivable.”

Bert L’Homme, Durham Public Schools superintendent, said DPS is not providing confidential student information to ICE. He affirmed that DPS is open to all.

Wendy Jacobs, Durham County Commissioners chairwoman, agreed with L’Homme.

Speaking in Spanish, City Councilman Steve Schewel said the Faith ID, an unofficial alternative ID promoted by Durham-based El Centro Hispano (The Hispanic Center) that requires proof of identification and address, is acceptable in Durham.

“Querio ustedes familia prospero aqui,” Schewel said — translated to mean he wants families to prosper in the city.

Those in attendance were connected with information about “Know Your Rights” workshops, immigration clinics.

The next two are scheduled from 3 to 4:30 p.m. March 12 and April 9 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 810 W. Chapel Hill St.

Free legal services for power of attorney will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 25 and April 22 at the church.

Contact Rachael Riley: rriley@heraldsun.com, 919-419-6646

Indy – Durham City Council Moves Forward With Mixed-Income Project Near Durham Station, But Questions Remain

Indy Week

Durham City Council Moves Forward With Mixed-Income Project Near Durham Station, But Questions Remain

Posted by Sarah Willets on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 2:07 PM

Photo Illustration by Maxine Mills and Skillet Gilmore

A mixed-use, mixed-income housing project next to the Durham Station Transportation Center is moving forward—though it’s unclear how exactly the developers will be able to meet all of the city’s goals and still make the development viable. On Thursday, the Durham City Council voted to move ahead with DHIC Inc. and Self-Help Ventures’ proposal, the only one the city received for the project.

In September 2015 the city decided the site should be used for a mix of commercial and housing units, with 80 percent of the apartments set aside for tenants earning less than 60 percent of Durham’s median income, $52,106. It then sought proposals from qualified developers to make that happen.

The next step will be for Self-Help, DHIC, and architect Klein Design Associates to develop some options for how the property will look, from the number of apartments to where parking will be located. There is no concrete timetable at this point, says deputy city manager Keith Chadwell, although the city is aiming to have a design completed in time to apply for low-income housing tax credits, applications for which are due in January 2018. How the project will be financed also depends on the final design, Chadwell says.

“I, for one, think the two things the city can bring to the issue of needing to provide affordable housing are funding and land,” council member Don Moffitt said during Thursday’s meeting. “This is a very valuable piece of land, and I think it should be used to further those goals.”

The proposal from Self-Help and DHIC received just 39.5 out of 100 possible points on a city scoring matrix, but council members did not seem deterred by that. Points were lost mostly because of the developers’ inexperience with commercial spaces and the scope of their previous projects. DHIC operates thirty-nine affordable housing communities, but nothing approaching this size.

City staff sought some expert opinions on why there weren’t more proposals from developers.

“As the [request for qualifications] was forwarded to the top 50 affordable housing developers in the United States … staff anticipated more than one response to the RFQ,” a city memo says. “As a result, [Department of Community Development] staff reached out to members of the affordable development community in an effort to determine why there was only minimal interest.”

Three developers and city staffers, according to the memo, found several obstacles to completing the project, mostly dealing with conflicts between the demands of market-rate housing and the requirements of subsidized housing. For one, the project is “not consistent with typical tax credit applications submitted to the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.” Retail isn’t normally included in affordable housing projects. Ditto for parking structures. And without amenities, like a pool, market-rate renters may not buy in to the arrangement. Lastly, the wonky shape of the lot and noise and other environmental factors from the adjacent transportation center could make the project costly.

Natalie Britt, vice president of real estate development from DHIC, acknowledged that meeting all of the city’s goals will be a challenge. “We’ve done some pretty complicated projects,” she said. “ … We feel like this is something that’s really important to us because we are locally based and we’d love to do it, but it’s going to be complicated.”

Two influential grassroots organizations have already thrown their support behind the Self-Help development: Durham Congregations Associations & Neighborhoods and the People’s Alliance. Durham CAN held a press conference Tuesday announcing its support, while members of the People’s Alliance attended Thursday’s council meeting.

“Members of Durham CAN have been involved with this project since its inception,” the Reverend Herb Davis, cochair of Durham CAN, said in a statement. “We have flexed our people’s muscle multiple times to ensure downtown Durham is diverse and affordable to families. It is only logical we weigh in one more time, and offer our position on the alternatives to be discussed.”

The city already has one example of mixed-income housing as part of the Southside Revitalization Project. That development currently does not have commercial space but is set up to have it in the future, says city manager Thomas Bonfield.

Self-Help Ventures Fund is part of the Self-Help Credit Union, which lends to individuals, businesses and nonprofits and has “developed and invested $144 million in commercial real estate projects to invigorate downtown areas and neighborhoods” and “created affordable housing for 228 families,” according to its website.

The nonprofit is also working to redevelop property on the Angier/Driver corridor to house the East Durham Children’s Initiative, a day care center and nonprofit offices. The city on Monday gave a $700,000 Neighborhood Revitalization Grant Incentive to Self-Help for that project, drawing objections from several residents. During a public hearing on the grant, residents claimed the Self-Help development would drive out existing residents and minority-owned businesses.

Tags: Self-help, Durham, Durham City Council, DHIC, Durham Station Transportation Center, Image