Charlotte wants to use its vacant land to tackle the city’s affordable housing crisis

By Alison Kuznitz and Lauren Lindstrom, The Charlotte Observer

Six city-owned properties across Charlotte may be transformed into affordable housing, the latest effort to create more homes in a city where rising land costs make that difficult.

A separate city-owned property might forge part of a mixed-use development, and two more properties are under consideration for affordable housing, Assistant City Manager Brent Cagle told City Council on Monday.

The presentation marked Council’s latest attempt to remedy an acute affordable housing crisis in Charlotte, particularly for low-income families.

The city weighs a range of factors when deciding if land is suitable for affordable housing, including proximity to transit and jobs. But rising land costs, particularly in those desirable areas, often make that difficult. Using city-owned land is one strategy in Charlotte’s housing framework.

Properties could be developed with rental and for-sale homes, including apartments or townhouses. But Charlotte doesn’t want to limit developers’ “creativity” as it seeks proposals, said Pam Wideman, Charlotte’s housing and neighborhood services director.

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This story was produced by the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, a partnership of six media companies working together in an effort started by the Solutions Journalism Network and funded by The Knight Foundation.