“Without that $10 million plus, it would not be possible to put 54 units of affordable housing in Chapel Hill,” she said. “It just couldn’t happen any other way.”
Brown added that the project could have applied for the non-competitive four percent tax credit, but that it would have only provided enough equity to cover 30 percent of the project's total development costs.
She said construction on the project is expected to start around June 1, 2023, and be completed at the end of 2024.
Brodie said the tax credit award will reduce project costs of construction, development and architectural engineering.
According to the Chapel Hill Affordable Housing website, the new Trinity Court complex will serve residents making up to 80 percent of Chapel Hill’s area median income. Brodie added that the project will expand the previous 40 housing units to 54 housing units.
Trinity Court was vacated in 2018 due to leaking issues and structural deficiencies. Brodie said an initial architectural assessment revealed that rehabilitating the property would cost $6 million.
She said that the Town Council asked its Public Housing Department to research alternative options for the space, such as selling the land or tearing down the complex.
At that time, Brodie said she stumbled upon the Rental Assistance Demonstration program that is organized by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“So you go into this RAD program and one of the ideas that they offer is this private-public combination,” she said. “A private developer signs up to partner with the public housing authority to plan on how to do the redevelopment.”
Brodie said that initially, there were a lot of disheartening thoughts in the community because land in Chapel Hill is prime real estate and the Trinity Court property has been sitting empty since 2018.
“Once we got this award, once it was announced that we received this grant, I think that people are a lot more optimistic that we are going to be able to do something that is not only functional but beautiful and will make low-income families feel good about where they’re living, as opposed to being resigned to where they are living based on what they can afford,” she said.
Chapel Hill Town Council member Adam Searing said there is a huge and growing need for affordable housing in Chapel Hill.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.
“We have a lot of folks, especially very, very low-income folks who cannot afford to live here but we are asking them to work here as well,” he said.
He added collaboration between the Town, private industry developers and the federal and state governments is necessary to advance affordable housing opportunities in the Town.
Searing said Trinity Court is located within walking distance of University areas, downtown Chapel Hill and Umstead Park.
“It’s a place, I think, regardless of your income, you would be happy to live there in Chapel Hill,” he said. “If we have the opportunity to make and rebuild this affordable community there, then that’s just a huge win for everyone I think.”
@DTHCityState | firstname.lastname@example.org
Lucy Marques is a 2023-24 assistant city & state editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She was previously a city & state senior writer. Lucy is a junior pursuing a double major in political science and Hispanic literatures and cultures.