Concord is preparing for a land development project that could mark a step toward the revitalization of the Logan neighborhood, Concord's historically black community.
The now-vacant, city-owned property on about four acres between Booker Drive Southwest and Rone Avenue Southwest - the former site of Logan High School - is slated to become home to the Villas at Logan Gardens, a 44-unit apartment complex for senior citizens.
The Concord City Council recently approved a 50-year lease in which Douglas Development LLC will pay $50 a year for the property, provided that the builder constructs 44 units with at least 20 percent of those units designated for low-income seniors.
The city also granted Douglas Development a 30-year, $340,086 loan with a 2 percent interest rate. The tax value of the property is $1,039,320, according to minutes from a September Council meeting.
City officials have been working on the project for years but hit stumbling blocks along the way.
Steve Osborne, Concord's deputy director of business and neighborhood services, said city officials developed a plan in 2003 that laid out strategies for revitalization in the Logan neighborhood. The idea for housing for seniors came out of that plan, he said.
Osborne explained that Douglas Development received tax credits through the N.C. Housing Finance agency to construct the housing for people with low and moderate incomes. Builders typically sell those tax credits to raise the equity of their project, he said.
But when the market declined with the onset of the recession, the value of those credits declined.
The state agency worked last year with the builders awarded tax credits to bridge the gap between the former value of the credits and their current value, allowing the Concord project to move forward.
Osborne said there was a lot of excitement in the neighborhood surrounding the construction of the Villas at Logan Gardens.
Located between the Logan Multi-Purpose Center and the Logan Day Care Center, the placement of the apartments will allow for community development, he said. Officials hope the nearly $5 million investment will spur further development in Logan.
"You create a multigenerational block there with the kids and the seniors," he said.
Osborne said officials believe construction will begin this spring, but city attorney Albert Benshoff said a date for the project's groundbreaking has not been set because the firm is still working out details with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the federal agency that is helping to fund the project.
The city also has plans to realign Booker Drive and make renovations to the multi-purpose center and day care.
Douglas Development opened a similar complex, the Villas at Forest Park, in Kannapolis last April with 64 apartments for seniors with an income less than 60 percent of the median area income.