Pic of the Week

Corner of Person and Lenoir Streets, construction of The Ten starts.

Construction of the The Ten has started at the corner of Person and Lenoir Streets.

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  1. Screw “affordable housing”. Nobody is going to develop their land and sell $170K units if they can’t make a profit,which they can’t because the land price is too high. Since when was $170K “affordable” anyway? Lots of opportunity for market rate housing for a long time to come….

  2. I don’t know if you can tell, but I trolled that article, which is pretty unusual for me. I just am getting so sick of people whining about every new project that comes up. It’s not tall enough, it’s not a work of modern art, it’s too modern, it isn’t made for welfare recipients to live there…. This isn’t government housing. It’s private development. Which pretty much means we have no say over it. I would think with all the terrible that DT Raleigh and Durham has seen in the past, almost everyone would be happy to see this development continue. I am open-minded, but I really don’t know what this type of person’s vision is for downtown districts. I want to understand, but nothing is ever laid out. All I can gather is it will be $100,000 unique but pleasant homes with light rail outside the door for every person in the city. Which sounds great, except I don’t know where the money will come from. I, for one, am happy with the general direction of things in both our wonderful cities, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

  3. Jeff, you ask and receive. :)

    I think a lot about the affordable housing topic and without getting into a long comment there are some things the city could do. If you are a free market kind-of person, thinking about the economics of delivering housing, then let’s build a city where developers have more flexibility. For example, minimum parking requirements could be seen as a burden, as a certain amount of square feet, certain amount of parking spaces are required. What if we just dropped it? Devs make their money back by increased rent so the theory is rent would go down if you allow them to drop parking. That’s just one example.

    On the flip side, if you want government to provide fair housing, let’s talk about the areas of Raleigh that lack affordable housing. Low-rent units in Cameron Village? How about Oakwood or North Raleigh? How would that conversation go?

    I’m not saying there’s a clear cut answer but to really get a hold of the “problem” the conversations are going to be uncomfortable. Who’s ready to have that and make that tough, potentially politically tough, decision?

    I feel Raleigh is shying away from that.

  4. Those are good points, Leo. And I know it has to start somewhere, but I can’t help feeling like Raleigh is not NYC. There’s still plenty of cheap, often unused land in the downtown area. We are not getting so boxed in with expensive development that there is nowhere to turn to. In fact, I feel like we’re drastically underdeveloped, especially with “nice” places. That’s why I guess I’m usually unsympathetic to the argument for new affordable housing to be built. The new housing is for the new people working downtown, which are usually middle and upper-middle class people. The government workers and restaurant staff can live where they’ve always lived. But I digress…. in 10 or 20 years, if all of south and east raleigh have been torn down and replaced with expensive condos and apartments, and capital blvd has been renovated to look like cameron village, we may need to start screening developments with affordable housing in mind.

  5. @ Jeff I think the point of the article is that those “new people working downtown” don’t account for the vast majority of those working downtown, so at the very least, there should be some affordable options for that majority, but currently that is not what is being done. Further more in regards to complaints, I don’t think this fits in the category of complaints that may grind you and others gears, as it is not a call to stop progress, just a call to let others that also work downtown, to enjoy that progress as well.

  6. When I couldn’t afford to live downtown I didn’t; just like how I cant afford to live on Lassiter Mill now and don’t

    I don’t understand how everything has to be about some form of government stepping in to correct some perceived injustice b/c everyone can’t get what they want – its not like there is a substantial lack of affordable housing w/in even a bike ride of downtown now.

  7. Affordable is relative and I don’t think its time to panic just yet. There is a good point here; the time is now to develop infrastructure and practices that make the city accessible and affordable to all. Mass transit is integral to this. We have to plan for this now.

  8. “The new housing is for the new people working downtown, which are usually middle and upper-middle class people. The government workers and restaurant staff can live where they’ve always lived.”

    Nice way to sound like an elitist jerk. I suppose you upper class folks just don’t wanna deal with us riff-raff. We do our jobs, work our butts off, but god forbid we could live near our jobs and taint your neighborhood with our lower-middle-class stank.

  9. I see both sides here.

    Between student loans and medical bills, I couldn’t afford to live downtown – so I didn’t. Now, I can. And I moved into downtown about 6 months ago. So, on the one hand, I don’t really see the necessity to design affordable housing. People can move downtown when their finances allow them to.

    On the other hand, that doesn’t justify the potential displacement of low-income families to make room for new, upscale development. They have a legitimate argument, and have my sympathy.

  10. I neither live nor work downtown. I live a bit outside downtown, and work in RTP. I would love to be able to work and live in downtown. I don’t expect the government or a private developer is going to make that happen for me. All I’m saying is I also don’t expect them to do that for anyone else either. Sorry that makes me an elitist jerk.

    I think the reason this has become an issue is that for decades no one wanted to live downtown, so there was plenty of cheap housing for everyone. Now that downtown has gotten better, nicer (and more expensive) places are being built. This irks people who can’t have that lifestyle seeing it thrown in their faces. Meanwhile, there is still plenty of cheap housing exactly where it has always been. Virtually none of these new projects have torn down cheap housing and replaced it. Instead, it is a new addition in formerly empty spaces.

  11. From a environmental/sustainability viewpoint, our city as a whole would benefit from having more people live closer to where they work. That means the downtown service industry living in more affordable housing downtown.

    I doubt anyone is advocating denying developers to build luxury apts. It’s just that for a thriving downtown, those developments should be supplemented with affordable buildings. With the escalation of land prices, it will probably require city government subsidies to make it attractive financially to a private developer.

  12. @Mike, given that the state already owns a ton of land DT, the mechanism already exists that would allow a deal to be struck between government and developers to build more affordable housing. If the state consolidated and centralized its operations in fewer larger buildings downtown, it could free up land that could be sold at a discount for such an arrangement….but good luck with that! It isn’t going to happen. However, let’s say that it did. Development and improvement of this land would increase revenues for the city and county by building the tax base. It would also increase tax revenues by encouraging retail and services development necessary to serve a larger population. All of this would happen within the existing infrastructure of roads, utilities and service areas. The result would be a slower growing infrastructure relative to the population and tax revenues. It would be a “win”.
    Alas, this scenario won’t happen because the legislature couldn’t give a shit about Raleigh and what’s good for it. The state is gerrymandered to give the controlling voice to the rural residents of the state and they care about their issues. The irony is that the state’s ability to “care” about their issues relies heavily on the funding that is generated off the incomes in the Triangle and Charlotte.

  13. ^^mike –

    Just to play devil’s advocate, before I stop monopolizing this thread, wouldn’t it be just as advantageous environmentally to have the people that eat/drink/hang out downtown live close by downtown? Rich hipster programmers or whatever…. Well great, because now they will have plenty of housing for them!

  14. Developers ar all about making money then selling the property and getting out! And all the yuppie kids are willing to pay $1500 a month for a studio!

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