One80 Place asking for design approval for new multi-use building

One80 Place asking for design approval for new multi-use building
The project is set to be along Meeting Street - a couple of blocks away from I-26. The location is at the shelter's former site which has been vacated since 2017. (Source: Board of Architectural Review)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - An organization working to prevent homelessness in our area will be asking the city to approve the design on a new multi-use complex in downtown Charleston.

Wednesday night, Charleston's Board of Architectural Review will be taking a look at the preliminary designs for new construction of a mixed-use affordable housing development by One80 Place.

The project is set to be along Meeting Street - a couple of blocks away from I-26. The location is at the shelter's former site which has been vacated since 2017.

The building is expected to have office space on the first floor which will be for veterans case managers who work specifically work with homeless veterans and veterans at risk of becoming homeless.

The multi-use building will also have a cafe.

"The cafe will provide an opportunity to train some of our clients to be baristas and work in cafes around town," Marco Corona, One80 Place's Chief Development Officer, said. "Our ultimate hope is that it will become a training space as well."

The entire second floor of the building will be One80 Place's new family shelter.

"We currently have a family shelter, women's and family shelter, but it is in need of replacement," Corona said. "We've had it since the early 90's. It's a cinder block building with a flat roof. We get tons of leaks because of that and there is no insulation. They are large dormitory-like rooms that are really not great for families."

The family shelter will have 19 units that will sleep 65 individuals.

The top four floors will have 70 individual affordable housing units.

The project is expected to cost about $24.5 million.

Corona added that in order for it to be considered "affordable," they need to reduce the amount of debt that One80 Place is taking on.

"We are looking at low income tax credits and we have some funding from the city from a bond referendum in 2017," Corona said. "The city has earmarked some dollars from its settlement with the LDC."

One80 Place is looking at taking on about $5.5 million in debt that will be serviced through the revenue from rent.

"When talking about affordable housing, a lot of times we're forgetting that, particularly in Charleston, it is a tourism-rich economy," Corona said. "The people who also need affordable housing are the line cook and housekeeper. These individuals are more than likely the most vulnerable and more likely to become homeless. As well as those who are exiting homelessness, those are the jobs that they tend to be able to get."

This project is going to have some project-based vouchers insuring people who live there make no more than 50% of area median income, which means they're making no more than $30,000 a year.

Corona added they will be submitting the application for low income tax credits as soon as they can. He hopes the groundbreaking will be sometime this summer or fall and the construction could take up to two years to finish.

Those with One80 Place hope to open the doors to this new facility in 2022.

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