Charlotte developer donates land for affordable-housing project

A Charlotte real estate firm has gifted land in west Charlotte to an affordable-housing developer to build a mixed-income residential project.

Marsh Properties, which develops and manages market-rate apartments, recently donated 7.8 acres at the corner of Freedom Drive and Camp Greene Street to The Housing Partnership, which is planning to build 185 apartments there. The majority of the development will include units restricted for residents earning between 30% and 80% of the area median income as well as some market-rate units.

The project is slated to break ground in December, with an expected delivery in the summer of 2020.

Marsh’s donation comes at a time when local leaders are contemplating new tactics to address the affordable-housing crisis in Charlotte, which has a deficiency of more than 20,000 housing units citywide for those making below the AMI. One of the options on the table is land donation, as the cost of land continues to rise and subsequently poses a more prohibitive challenge for developers looking to build income-restricted housing.

Marsh Properties, founded in 1926, continues to be a significant landowner in Charlotte, with Lex Marsh acquiring land in the city after the Great Depression. The land donation is a tax-deductible contribution for Marsh Properties.

Jamie McLawhorn, president of Marsh Properties, said the company believes affordable housing is an issue that requires “community responses.”

“The driving force for the donation was the collaboration of The Housing Partnership as a high-quality affordable housing developer and the other community organizations who made investments,” McLawhorn said.

The development, the cost of which is also being offset by a low-interest equity investment and a long-term ground lease, will include one- to three-bedroom units, with 70% of those ranging from $348 to $900 per month (60% or below AMI), according to The Housing Partnership. The site sits near a strip center that includes The Movement School and Compare Foods.

A spokeswoman for The Housing Partnership said no additional funding is currently needed for this project at this time. However, that could potentially change because of the fluctuating costs in construction, labor and materials, which could result in an increase in the organization’s investment.