As the average list price of a home in the Asheville area approaches $400,000, City Council members continue to explore their options for promoting affordable housing. At Council’s meeting of Tuesday, July 23, the body will evaluate a $530,000 Housing Trust Fund loan to Homeward Bound of WNC. The homelessness reduction nonprofit plans to acquire and rehabilitate a multifamily property in West Asheville to maintain 11 affordable housing units.
According to a staff report available before the meeting, the 296 Short Michigan Ave. property hosts five buildings, each containing separate single-family apartments. Property owner Atlantic Wave LLC, who is not named in the staff report but is listed in Buncombe County records for the address, currently accepts federal housing vouchers for six of the 11 units. The other five apartments are not occupied because they do not currently meet federal Department of Housing and Urban Development living standards.
Homeward Bound agreed to purchase the site for $545,000 after the property owner announced plans to sell, “putting the property’s long-term affordability in jeopardy” according to the staff report; the nonprofit’s total project budget of $910,000 will also pay for restoration. Beyond the city’s loan of more than $48,000 per unit, which will be deferred for 30 years and accrue no interest, Homeward Bound is also seeking roughly $280,000 in commercial loans and has received $89,153 in federal HOME funding administered by the Asheville Regional Housing Consortium.
As part of its loan contract with the city, Homeward Bound would agree to a 99-year, deed-restricted affordability commitment to serve residents at or below 30% area median income ($19,920 for a family of four). The staff report noted that the project will “ensure that 11 units serving deep levels of affordability are available in perpetuity” and that Homeward Bound could monitor its clients more closely by taking ownership of the Short Michigan property.
In other business
Council will conduct a public hearing to consider conditional zoning for Givens Estate Friendship Park at 2360 Sweeten Creek Rd. that would permit the construction of three multifamily structures. The project requires that the existing 11 structures, which contain 86 units, be demolished to make way for 80 new residential units.
Although a public hearing on the Asheville Mall redevelopment at 1 South Tunnel Rd. is also included on the agenda, it has been continued at the petitioner’s request until Tuesday, Aug. 27. Consideration of the 16-acre, mixed-use project has been postponed multiple times since its initial hearing on March 12, at which city officials urged Seritage Growth Properties to create a denser plan for the site in conformance with Asheville’s Town Center development guidelines.
Council’s consent agenda for the meeting contains 15 items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include:
- A resolution authorizing City Manager Debra Campbell to enter into a construction contract of up to $336,228 with WTAPS of Asheville for a restroom facility and picnic shelter at Richmond Hill Park. The popular park, which Capital Projects Director Jade Dundas noted is often used by dog walkers, bicyclists and disc golfers, currently lacks those amenities.
- A resolution authorizing Campbell to execute a contract of up to $780,045 with Carolina Specialties Construction of Hendersonville for the ART Transit Facility Renovation Project. The project, originally scheduled as part of the 2009 Transit Master Plan, will update the station’s ticketing and waiting areas, improve lighting and increase passenger accessibility.
- A resolution authorizing Campbell to enter into a renegotiated lease agreement with the Asheville-Buncombe Youth Soccer Association for the John B. Lewis Soccer Complex. The new contract will require ABYSA to accept the fields as is, without further repairs to remedy April flood damage that occurred after the original contract was signed in March, but will reduce the organization’s share of the original cleanup costs to $50,000 instead of $200,000.
- A resolution authorizing Campbell to increase a contract with New York-based Hazen and Sawyer by $99,900 — from $570,360 to $670,260 — for the Water System Master Plan Update. The new spending comes in response to major line breaks and inoperable valves that resulted in several days of discolored water in April and May.
Asheville City Council meets at 5 p.m. in Council chambers on the second floor of City Hall at 70 Court Plaza, Asheville. The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.