RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A downtown Raleigh community of subsidized housing will undergo a massive transformation and update in the coming months, and the people behind the project want to keep rent reasonable.

The Washington Terrace community people know now will be gone in the next two to three months.

“Built in 1950, we carefully assessed them when we purchased the property and concluded that a better plan would be to build anew there,” said Gregg Warren, president of DHIC, a not for profit organization focused on affordable housing. “Our first priority at Washington Terrace was to replace the existing affordable apartments on a one to one basis with new affordable apartments that could serve the existing community.”

DHIC has owned the Washington Terrace community next to St. Augustine’s University since 2014, thanks to a $2 million loan from the City of Raleigh.

“This is a significant milestone in preserving and creating additional affordable housing opportunities near downtown,” said Larry Jarvis, director of Raleigh Housing and Neighborhoods department.

Jarvis says the city now has $8.6 million in the project, using up the last of a Transportation and Affordable Housing Bond from 2011.

The entire project costs about $32 million.

Jarvis and Warren say preserving existing affordable housing is crucial.

“We knew that market rate developers could go after it and build something that could be much less affordable than what we’re doing right now,” said Warren.

Work on Washington Terrace will be divided into two phases.

The first includes building 162 units for rent, along with a community center and childcare facility.

The second phase will create 72 apartments for seniors.

While the price of rent may slightly rise in Washington Terrace, lower utility bills from more efficient homes could offset the cost.

“Affordable housing of this magnitude is pretty significant,” said Jarvis.

Warren says some people have decided to leave the Washington Terrace community because of the planned project.

DHIC has helped other people move to different units on the property while their old homes are being torn down and rebuilt.

Both phases of the project will happen simultaneously. The second phase of apartments for seniors is expected to be finished in late 2018 or early 2019.

The first phase of house is expected to be complete by the Spring of 2019.