Charlotte City Council voted 10-0 to approve $4.4 million in city and county property tax rebates for a Pappas Properties mixed-use project near Dilworth on Monday, even though some council members wished they had required the developer to include affordable housing in the project.
The project is on the site of the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association’s office building off Kenilworth Avenue. Pappas Properties will demolish the office building and replace it with a mix of retail, apartments, offices and a hotel.
The city and county will reimburse Pappas Properties for the cost of building roads that are inside and adjacent to the development. The city also agreed to close part of Greenwood Cliff Drive to make it easier to develop the site, and the city will reimburse the developer for the cost of moving water and sewer lines under the closed street.
Pappas Properties will also make improvements to Pearl Street Park.
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The agreement was controversial.
Many developers pay for similar roads themselves. And the city did not ask for Pappas Properties to include affordable housing in the development, even though it had leverage during the negotiations.
The agreement could create affordable housing nearby, however. As part of a series of complicated land swaps between the county and the developer, the Charlotte Housing Authority has a new parcel of land near the site that it could use for low-income housing. But there are no firm plans to do so.
Council member Patsy Kinsey, who represents the area, said at a recent council committee meeting that she thought the city was giving too much away with the agreement. She said Monday night she would “hold her nose” and vote for the agreement.
“I know of no guarantee that it will happen, or when it will happen,” Kinsey said about the possibility of building low-income housing on the CHA land. “We are missing an opportunity to know it can be provided inside the development.”
At-large council member Vi Lyles said recently she wished the city had pushed for affordable housing on the site, especially after the Keith Scott shooting and protests. Council members have said they want to build even more affordable housing.
Council member Greg Phipps asked Monday why these discussions didn’t take place earlier. The city has been reviewing the proposal for 18 months.
“I’m trying to understand why we didn’t embrace this from the beginning,” he said.
The city plans to study whether future mixed-use developments seeking property tax rebates should be required to include low-income housing.