New affordable housing for seniors set to break ground in the Belmont neighborhood

Rendering of the 60-unit senior apartment building.
Rendering of the 60-unit senior apartment building.

Developers are set to break ground Thursday on a 112-unit affordable housing development for senior citizens in Charlotte’s Belmont neighborhood just north of uptown.

Laurel Street Residential is developing the project on Allen Street, on a vacant lot owned by St. Paul Baptist Church. The development will include a 60-unit senior apartment building, 29 townhouse-style units for families and a 23-unit garden-style apartment building. They’ll be restricted to senior citizens and families making 60 percent or less of the area’s median income.

“It is important that we create stable housing options for longstanding members of our historic communities, such as the Belmont neighborhood,” said Mecklenburg County Commissioner George Dunlap, also chairman of the St. Paul board of directors, in a statement. “We understand that Charlotte will continue to grow, but we need affordable communities like this to give current residents with fixed or limited incomes the opportunity to stay and live in their communities.”

The development is planned for completion by the end of 2017. Financing for the project includes a $4.35 million loan from the city of Charlotte’s Housing Trust Fund and a tax-exempt bond allocation from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, as well as loans from the church and other sources.

Amenities will include outdoor seating areas, a playground, fitness center and computer room. St. Paul said one of the goals of the project is to preserve some affordable housing and mix of incomes in the rapidly changing Belmont neighborhood, where new development driven in part by the Blue Line light rail extension is displacing some residents.

St. Paul itself was a victim of gentrification: Originally located in the African-American Brooklyn neighborhood uptown, the church was displaced to Allen Street in 1969 when the city razed Brooklyn as part of the urban renewal wave of the time.

“St. Paul’s vision for this development could not be possible without the public partnership and investment from the City of Charlotte,” said Dionne Nelson, principal of Charlotte-based Laurel Street Residential. “In addition, with the development’s proximity to a future light rail stop, we understand the importance of providing affordable housing for seniors and families along the Blue Line extension in order to make accessible transportation options available for people of all incomes.”

Miles McClellan Construction is the general contractor, Neighboring Concepts is the architect and Bohler Engineering is the project’s civil engineer. Bank of America is providing an $8 million construction loan.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo