DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — An affordable housing development six years in the making is taking shape in downtown Durham.
“Affordable housing is a crisis not only for Durham, but nationwide,” Deputy Director for County Engineering Peri Manns said.
On Tuesday, Durham County Government held a groundbreaking ceremony on the 110-unit building at 300 East Main Street. It includes a child care center and pre-K classrooms, as well as retail space.
Its 753-space public parking deck is already finished.
“This project is actually transformative in that counties don’t typically do affordable housing,” Manns said. “The county funds public schools and social services and things like that. So we’re kind of playing outside of our arena.”
Right down the road at 500 East Main Street next to the police headquarters, another part of the project is currently under construction. It’ll bring a mix of market-rate housing and almost 200 more affordable units.
Manns said the county is contributing almost $22 million to the two facilities.
“We can harvest the opportunities from our land to create great places like this where people can live,” former Durham County Commissioner Ellen Reckhow said.
Manns also told CBS 17 more than $58 million total is being spent on parking.
“We’ve asked the city and school board…we’re all looking at what land do we have that we own that we can also do affordable housing in, too,” Durham Board of County Commissioners Chair Brenda Howerton said.
The county anticipates people will be able to move in by the end of 2024.
“This should just be the beginning of a trend,” Reckhow said. “There is more public land that could be utilized.”
The affordable units are available to households earning between 30 and 80 percent of the area median income.