The special use permit was applied for by A.P. Segar, owner of Townhouse Apartments LLC in February, but it wasn’t approved by the Town Council until recently.
“I think the apartments were built around the ’60s,” said Mary Jean Seyda, the Housing Advisory Board’s vice chair. “It might even be older than that. I know the buildings need to be updated.”
Seyda said the cost of rennovations is typically reflected in the apartment’s rent.
“The way that a developer pays for those renovations is typically to increase your rent because you’re going to be taking out a loan for the renovations,” she said. “I believe this property is a family owned property and not a part of a big corporation that has apartment complexes in the southeast.”
The Grove Park apartments will offer six affordable housing options for Chapel Hill residents.
“I believe what they’re doing makes sense, and their rent will still probably be lower than all of the new complexes that have been opening as of late behind Rosemary Street,” Seyda said. “They’re offering affordable units for the town and will actually rent those apartments to the town of Chapel Hill for $1 per month.”
Town Council member Maria Palmer echoed the sentiment and explained the reason the Town Council changed their stance on the development.
“What changed was a well-thought-out affordable housing component that would provide housing for six families plus revenue for us to develop potentially another 12 units per year,” Palmer said. “It is already student housing and needs significant upload renovations. I was glad to approve it.”
Seyda said the Housing Advisory Board wanted to have input as to how the town would utilize the affordable housing opportunity.
“We stated in our motion to the Town Council that we wanted to be involved in that conversation and make some recommendations,” she said. “The town has the opportunity where they can serve persons in those apartments who have very low incomes.”
Affordable housing, for both students and community members, is an important issue to many people.
“Affordable housing is important for students and the community because it allows for students who can’t live at home and commute to go to the school they want to and hopefully find a community they can be a part of,” said Ryan Haughney, UNC sophomore.