City Council recommends $1 million for Weddington Road apartments

The city of Charlotte is recommending five proposed affordable housing developments receive money from the Housing Trust Fund, including $1.05 million to subsidize a controversial apartment complex off Weddington Road.

The City Council voted 9-2 in January to rezone 7.23 acres off Weddington Road so the nonprofit Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership could build 70 affordable apartments, despite resistance from nearby residents. Monday’s council meeting was the first time the city announced how much it plans to spend to help get the project built.

The partnership plans to spend $9.83 million on the apartments, according to the city presentation.

Council member Ed Driggs, who represents the area, questioned the city’s use of tax dollars from the trust fund on the project.

“They are sharing in the cost of this, and they couldn’t have made it plainer they” don’t want it, Driggs said.

Council member Patsy Kinsey responded that nine of 11 council members supported the project.

It’s not certain the apartments will move forward. Pamela Wideman, the city’s housing services manager, said the Weddington Road apartments and two other proposed projects must receive tax credits from the state, in August.

Fifty-two apartments would be for what the city calls “workforce housing” aimed at families of four earning up to $38,500 a year, which is 60 percent of the area’s median income.

Eighteen apartments would be for families of four earning 30 percent of the median income, which is $19,250.

Other recommendations for trust fund money include:

Council members will vote on the projects April 28.

The City Council also approved two large contracts to build the Lynx Blue Line light-rail extension to University City.

Council members awarded a $119.05 million contract to Lane Construction to help build the extension’s “B/C” segment, from Old Concord Road station to the end of the line at UNC Charlotte.

Lane will handle civil construction for the final segment of the line, including drainage, bridges, retaining walls, and sewer installation. The city said Lane was the “lowest responsive bidder” for the project.

The second contract is for $130.8 million to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure to install the track and catenary systems for the entire light-rail extension. Included in the contract is $16.5 million to increase the capacity of the current light-rail line along South Boulevard.

When the light-rail line was planned, the Charlotte Area Transit System planned for the line to accommodate three-car trains. But budget cutbacks forced CATS to only build the line only for two-car trains.

The $16.5 million will expand the station platforms and increase power to allow longer, heavier trains.