Housing Developments, Municipalities Honored with 2016 Housing North Carolina Awards

RALEIGH — Housing developments in Pittsboro, Charlotte and Chapel Hill will receive Housing North Carolina Awards on Oct. 12 for excellence in affordable housing. Sponsored by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, the 27-year-old statewide awards recognize outstanding home ownership, rental and supportive housing developments that can serve as models for other communities. Winners will be honored at a special Oct. 12 luncheon during the N.C. Affordable Housing Conference at the Raleigh Convention Center, which is expected to host 1,000 housing industry professionals.

Winning developments were selected for affordability, design, sustainability, community contribution, resident services and creative partnerships. They are:

  • Bellemont Pointe, Pittsboro, a rental development offering 76 apartments for working families. Developed by Solstice Partners, these garden apartment homes are located close to shopping and employment opportunities.
  • Renaissance, Charlotte, a rental housing development for both mixed-income and multi-generational families that helped revitalize a former public housing site. The apartments were developed by Laurel Street Residential with support from the City of Charlotte and the Charlotte Housing Authority.
  • SECU Community House, Chapel Hill, an energy-efficient transitional housing facility for 52 homeless men as well as an emergency shelter for 17 more. Services include substance abuse education and counseling, job coaching, and counseling. The SECU Community House was developed by the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service with support from the SECU Foundation, the Town of Chapel Hill, and Orange County..
  • Elizabeth Heights, Charlotte, a neighborhood revitalization project that has restored Greir Heights to a flourishing community. This mixed-income community was created by CrossRoads Corporation for Affordable Housing & Community Development and the Self-Help CDC with support from the City of Charlotte.
  • Phoenix Place, Chapel Hill, 50 affordable homes for working families developed by Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. This neighborhood was developed with support from the county and the Town of Chapel Hill to revitalize the Rogers Road neighborhood.

The N.C. Housing Finance Agency is a self-supporting public agency that has financed more than 242,000 affordable homes and apartments. The Agency hosts the N.C. Affordable Housing Conference, Oct. 12-13, in partnership with the Community Investment Corporation of the Carolinas and the N.C. Housing Coalition.

A description of each winner follows:

Bellemont Pointe, Pittsboro

Bellemont Pointe developed by Solstice Partners, is an affordable apartment development in Pittsboro that helps address the lack of affordable housing for working families in Chatham County.

The one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments range from 660 to 1,135 square feet and have rents from $480 to $680 per month. The two-story development features covered entries, roof gables and brick chimneys that suggest an urban townhome exterior. The units include eight apartments that are fully accessible for persons with disabilities including four with roll-in showers. To improve energy efficiency, all apartments are fitted with energy-efficient windows, heaters, heat pumps and Energy Star lighting. Amenities for residents include a laundry room, Wi-Fi, a community room with a full kitchen, and picnic and playground facilities.

Bellemont Point is ideally located for the working families who call it home. The community is within a half mile of a shopping center which boasts restaurants, a fitness center and a home improvement store. Located right off of a major highway, the apartment community offers easy access to employment opportunities, and is close to local schools and a park.

Bellemont Pointe was financed with federal and state housing credits.

Contact: Cathy Connors, Solstice Partners, LLC, 919-380-0446.

Renaissance, Charlotte

Renaissance, developed by Laurel Street Residential with support from the Charlotte Housing Authority and the City of Charlotte, is a unique model for both mixed-income and multi-generational housing. Renaissance has revitalized the Boulevard Homes public housing site in Charlotte, transforming a formerly distressed area with a high crime rate into a thriving mixed-income community.

The Retreat at Renaissance is a four-story development offering 110 one-bedroom, 700 square foot apartments for seniors. Rents range from $290 to $650 per month. The Residences at Renaissance includes 224 one-, two-, and three-bedroom garden-style and townhome apartments for families ranging in size from 830 to 1,348 square feet with rents from $275 to $900.

Notable amenities at Renaissance include a large community center with a kitchen, playgrounds, garden plots, four picnic shelters and community areas as well as tree-lined streetscapes, sidewalks, a Greenway trail and on-street parking. The development has been awarded an Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant, LEED New Construction Certification and Earthcraft Certification. An onsite nonprofit organization, Renaissance West Community Initiative, will partner with the local public school system and community college to collaborate on decisions for a neighborhood school and offer access to adult education.

Renaissance was financed with federal and state housing credits, the City of Charlotte’s Housing Trust Fund and a Hope VI grant.

Contact: Dionne Nelson, principal and chief executive officer, Laurel Street Residential, 704-561-5225.

SECU Community House, Chapel Hill

For nearly 30 years, a shelter for homeless men in Chapel Hill was provided by the worn-out, 77-year-old town hall building that had a jail in its basement. Today, the new SECU Community House offers both a home and a welcome haven for these men to rebuild their lives and rejoin their community.

Developed by the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service with support from the SECU Foundation, the Town of Chapel Hill, and Orange County, the SECU Community House provides transitional housing for 52 homeless men as well as emergency shelter for 17 more. Residents have access to substance abuse education and counseling, job coaches, psychiatrists and counselors. Piedmont Health Services operates an onsite medical and dental clinic at no charge to residents, and SECU Community House’s energy-efficient design includes amenities like a kitchen, dining room and library as well as bedrooms that accommodate residents at every stage of their journey to independence.

In addition to local, state and federal funding, the shelter was funded by a $1 million grant from the SECU Foundation and a capital campaign that raised an additional $1.2 million. The site is on land leased to the Town of Chapel Hill from the University of North Carolina for $1 per year for the next 50 years.

Contact: John Dorward, executive director, The Inter-Faith Council for Social Service., 919-929-6380.

Elizabeth Heights, Charlotte

Elizabeth Heights has restored the Grier Heights neighborhood in Charlotte to a flourishing community for young families. The CrossRoads Corporation for Affordable Housing & Community Development and the Self-Help CDC acquired 23 vacant duplexes to create the neighborhood that will ultimately offer 29 affordable and eight market-rate homes.

The craftsman-style homes boast hardwood flooring, granite countertops, upgraded lighting and large front porches as well as elements built to SystemVision, GreenBuild NC and Energy Star standards, saving on heating and cooling costs for homeowners. The three-bedroom homes average 1,400 to 1,500 square feet with sales prices ranging from $132,000 to $165,000 for affordable homes and $170,000 to $225,000 for market-rate houses. The NC Housing Finance Agency provides zero-interest, deferred second mortgages up to 15 percent of the purchase price to help make thee homes even more affordable.

Elizabeth Heights has become home to a diverse collection of working families, including school teachers, delivery persons, administrators and chefs, as well as two military veterans. A number of programs are available for neighborhood youth, including mentoring and tutoring, transportation to local swim classes and after school programs, and a “cash for trash” program to help keep the neighborhood clean.

The community center also offers job, literacy and computer training classes for homeowners, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has a new division in the neighborhood. The close proximity to uptown Charlotte gives homeowners access to employment opportunities, shopping centers, medical offices, child care centers and local social service agencies.

Contact: Glenn Boone, program director, CrossRoads Corporation, 704-365-3555

Phoenix Place, Chapel Hill

Phoenix Place in Chapel Hill brings new life to an historically African-American community that dates back to the 1700s. Developed by Habitat for Humanity of Orange County with support from Orange County and the Town of Chapel Hill, this development offers 50 affordable homes for working families in Chapel Hill.

The project not only includes new affordable homes, but also a new community center and exterior repairs for 15 long-time residents of the Rogers Road neighborhood. As the largest subdivision built by the Orange County Habitat, Phoenix Place is part of the town and county’s revitalization effort and extended public water and sewer services to areas not previously served, including an 18-acre portion of land designated for future affordable housing.

The Phoenix Place community includes three-, four- and five-bedroom homes ranging in size from 1,100 to 1,400 square feet with sales prices from $162,500 to $190,000. The average sales price is $175,000. Homes are built to SystemVision standards which keep heating and cooling costs to between $25 and $35 per month, and the development is the Habitat’s first “all-green” subdivision certified under the Green Home Builders of the Triangle. Habitat for Humanity of Orange County partnered with local fire departments and others to install a fire safety sprinkler system in each home, which was put to the test when a family of five survived a fire with no injuries.

The neighborhood is sought-after by families because of its close proximity to schools, bus lines, shopping, services, and employment opportunities. Phoenix Place boasts a number of amenities including a soccer field, a playground, a community garden, and a picnic shelter. In addition, the newly built Roger Roads Community Center offers various after-school programs, a food pantry, and an outdoor basketball court.

The homes are affordable to working families thanks to forgivable second mortgages from the Habitat, and zero-interest participation loans from the NC Housing Finance Agency.      

Contact: Susan Levy, executive director, Habitat for Humanity, Orange County, NC, 919-932-7077.