Date: May 6, 2021
To: Durham City Council
Re: Public Comments on City Council Work Session Agenda Item #25 Update on Disposition and Redevelopment of the Property Located at 505 W. Chapel Hill Street
On Monday, May 3rd, we learned about the Fallon Company’s decision to terminate their Purchase Agreement with the City of Durham for 505 W. Chapel Hill Street. Considering the extensive amount of time that we have invested in relating with Mr. Vucannon and the Fallon Company over several years to lend our support and feedback in the development plans for this site -- and ultimately in support of this proposal -- we are disappointed by this recent development and that the Fallon Company did not communicate this update with us directly.
Much has changed in the world and our community since our last comments concerning the modifications to the Master Development Agreement seven months ago. What we hope has not changed are the commitments that the Durham City Council made to Durham CAN and the Durham community in response to our demands to see affordable and low-income housing, built on public land, near public transit, in the downtown core.
The Fallon Company’s assertions and alternatives raise a number of questions such as:
● Whether the City should obtain a new market analysis to affirm or deny Fallon’s claims that an almost $ 3 million price reduction is justified due to “market risk”?
● How would subdivision of the site impact the affordable housing restrictive covenants currently tied to the land in perpetuity?
● Whether the additional units under Alternative B could remain affordable in perpetuity?
● What -- if any-- impact would alternatives have on recent zoning changes made to the site or need for further zoning changes?
As we celebrate with neighbors moving into Willard Street Apartments while supporting those who struggle to find housing within their income range, we’re reminded of how important it is for Winn and the City to continue on the path of delivering the units of affordable housing as promised. We look forward to this afternoon’s presentation and learning how we move forward on this path together.
Durham Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods