Wilmington approves apartment complex, donates surplus property to Habitat

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North Carolina Construction News staff writer

The City of Wilmington will donate three properties designated as surplus to Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity for affordable housing construction. The plan includes building a 248-unit apartment complex near River Road.

All three properties were valued at $84,200.

“For more than a decade we have sought opportunities to increase housing stock, help make the dream of homeownership a reality, and adjusted our land development code to incentivize more affordable housing,” Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said in a news release. “Despite the city’s progress, we still have a great need in Wilmington as our community grows.

“Partnering with Habitat will help us continue to close the gap between what we have and what we need.”

It’s the fourth land donation by the city in the last two months for the purpose of building affordable housing and includes:

610 N 8th St. – approximately 1,600 sq. ft. zoned R-3 within the National Register Historic District.

701 Red Cross St. – approximately 2,150 sq. ft. zoned HD-MU within the National Register Historic District.

708 Swann St. – approximately 2,700 sq. ft. zoned R-3. The property was to be used by the Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity a few years ago, but because of circumstances such as the need for off street parking and the shift in priorities that followed Hurricane Florence, no such conveyance ever took place.

“The contribution of surplus property by the City of Wilmington provides critical resources to Cape Fear Habitat in addressing the affordable housing crisis here in our community,” said Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity executive director, Lauren McKenzie. “We are able to transform properties the city donates into stable, affordable homes that are purchased by cost-burdened residents who are paying 30 percent or more of their income for housing.

“This partnership with the city allows families to achieve the stability and long-term benefits of homeownership, while contributing to the tax base which supports the health and vibrancy of the entire community.”

The Cape Fear Housing Coalition also submitted a letter of support for the project, stating

“We recognize and appreciate the City of Wilmington’s ongoing commitment to affordable housing, demonstrated through strategic investments like this proposed conveyance. We are confident, based on Cape Fear Habitat’s decades of success and service to our region, that this proposal would make a real and lasting difference in the lives of some of our most vulnerable community members. The Cape Fear Housing Coalition is proud to endorse this project as a model of responsible and affordable development that positively contributes to the overall quality of life in our city.”

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