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City of Charleston searching for a real estate broker for affordable housing projects

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 3:14 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The city of Charleston is on the search for a real estate broker to help provide more affordable housing options in town.

According to city officials, in order to build more affordable housing, the city has to first buy the property.

The city recently announced a request for proposal, or RFP, which states it is looking to contract with a real estate broker or firm in order to help find tracts of land, lots or existing structures that the city can use for affordable housing and affordable housing programs—both for rentals and for-sale properties.

According to the RFP, sites around the Lowline have priority. That is the area on the Peninsula that stretches from Marion Square up to Mount Pleasant Street, which includes the area under I-26.

According to Geona Shaw Johnson, the director of Housing & Community Development for the City of Charleston, the plan for the Lowline and the surrounding area includes parks and other benefits, which is expected to attract retail, restaurants and more. Shaw Johnson said the city wants people of diverse incomes to be able to live near there and enjoy all of those amenities.

“We want to expand those opportunities throughout our community for that area,” she said. “So we’ve asked the realtor, whoever he or she may be, to give emphasis to that area so that we can put more for-sale opportunities, as well as rental opportunities, for low and moderate income persons in that area.”

The RFP states other sites will be considered and should be close to public transportation and amenities, should not disturb wetlands or should do so minimally, and should be located where utility services and infrastructure are available, among other criteria.

The RFP calls affordable housing “one of the most pressing issues in Charleston.” Shaw Johnson said data shows Charleston will needs more than 16 thousand additional units of affordable housing by 2030.

Real Estate Broker Matt O’Neill said he has seen major growth in Charleston over the past 15 years with prices following suit. He told Live 5 he is glad there is more emphasis being placed on affordable housing projects.

“The city of Charleston is taking action, and I think that is so awesome,” he said. “I think [affordable housing] is one of the biggest challenges our area is facing today, and I think it’s going to continue to be a bigger and bigger challenge moving forward. I love that the city is taking affordable housing into their own hands and actually make it available.”

According to Shaw Johnson, they expect to get the contract for a real estate broker to city council for approval by November.

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