The development, called the Employer-Employee Housing Project, might help alleviate the demand for low-cost housing for UNC and town employees in Chapel Hill.
Mike Curzan, a consultant for UniDev LLC Consultants, reported that development could be supported by commercial office space. A town-run, nonprofit group would redistribute commercial revenue and pass lower costs on to residents.
"What we've suggested is that you are receiving money back and then make decisions about what to do with that money," Curzan said of the developments' tax-free, nonprofit status.
Curzan identified three potential development sites: 440 West, which is a Franklin Street building and parking lot, lot No. 5 on the corner of Church and Franklin streets and lot No. 2 on Columbia and Rosemary streets.
Searches for potential sites began when town, University and UNC Hospital officials formed a committee to initiate discussions about an employee housing project, called Employer-Employee Housing, in 1999.
The committee hired a consultant and worked for eight months until progress faltered after the death of former Chancellor Michael Hooker.
Curzan said now that a chancellor has been selected, discussions likely will progress.
"We think we're back to three entities with good will, interested in doing something very important with downtown," he said.
Curzan also said UNC Chancellor James Moeser seemed enthusiastic about the plans after an earlier presentation.