Affordable housing apartment complex under development in Blue Hill District
Two new apartment complexes have been approved in Blue Hill District, formerly known as Fordham-Ephesus District. One of the complexes is part of the town's commitment to affordable housing.
Blue Hill District is a mixed-use development and includes retail, restaurants and apartment complexes.
The apartments were approved by Chapel Hill Town Manager Roger Stancil with a form-based code. A form-based code is regulation that streamlines the approval process so the town manager can approve it directly.
The new apartment complexes align with the town's commitment to a pedestrian-friendly district. The form-based code was adopted for the Blue Hill District to facilitate new development regulation.
The two apartment complexes, Hillstone and Greenfield, cater to different demographics.
The Hillstone complex will be priced at market rate, which caters to residents that do not qualify for affordable housing. On the other hand, the Greenfield complex is part of the town’s efforts to provide more affordable housing.
Greenfield is separated into two phases, the first being Greenfield Place, which targets families who earn up to 60 percent of the area median income. Orange County's area median income is $73,300.The second phase is Greenfield Commons, which will provide rental housing for seniors.
Greenfield Place construction is projected to be completed this year by Dec. 31.
Downtown Housing Improvement Corporation, owner and developer of the Greenfield apartments, is a nonprofit housing development dedicated to providing high-quality and affordable housing for a range of incomes.
“Affordable housing is a top priority on the town council and it was a great opportunity for a partnership between us,” said Natalie Britt, vice president of real estate development at DHIC.
Affordable housing has become an issue in Chapel Hill due to the number of modestly paid jobs that the community relies on, Chapel Hill Town Council member Nancy Oates said. These jobs draw workers into the area, but area development makes it harder for employees to find affordable housing, she said.
Chapel Hill Town Council member Nancy Oates said affordable housing is a priority for the town council.
“Because of housing costs in Chapel Hill we’re pushing people farther and farther out of town,” Oates said. “As development grows up around us we’re going to have a harder time convincing people to commute in for a low-paying job.”
The Greenfield apartment complex aims to address this issue as well as contribute to the evolving Blue Hill District. The town is very excited to create a walkable district in what used to be an aging suburban area, said Ben Hitchings, Chapel Hill director of planning and development services.
"In order for the Blue Hill District to reach its potential as a vibrant, dynamic and walkable area, it needs to have residential, commercial and office space to contribute to that vision," he said.
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