HAWS to Request City Funds for Acquisition of Property

Triad City Beat has an article about the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem’s (HAWS) efforts to buy a property near its Cleveland Avenue Homes community:

The Housing Authority of Winston-Salem plans to request financial assistance from the city to pay for the acquisition of a blighted complex known as New Hope Manor Apartments that is wedged between Cleveland Avenue Homes and Fairview Park — potentially a key aspect of an ambitious plan to transform the neighborhood.

The anticipated request comes on the heels of a unanimous vote by city council on June 20 to the join the housing authority as a co-applicant for a federal Choice Neighborhoods grant as part of an ambitious plan to transform the area surrounding the Cleveland Avenue Homes public-housing community.

The city’s participation includes a pledge of $4.5 million to pay for business façade improvements, neighborhood broadband, a revolving loan for businesses, streetscaping and land for new parks and other public spaces in the area.

HAWS representatives have talked to the lender on the property and learned that the lender is willing to dispose of the property at a significant loss. They are concerned that it will attract a low-ball investor who will put minimal effort into revitalizing the community.

Ritchie Brooks, Winston-Salem’s director of community and business development, wrote in a memo that “HAWS believes this could provide an appealing opportunity for an absentee investor to purchase the property, do some minimal rehab, and then continue to operate the property as untenable multifamily housing, perpetuating the blight and inhibiting the development of the surrounding area.” As a result HAWS is asking the city for $1.7 million to help “acquire, demolish, abate, rehab and operate the property in a sustainable manner.”