SC Ports presents affordable housing plans for Union Pier Redevelopment
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina Ports Authority officials presented their plans for affordable housing in and around the Union Pier site on Thursday.
Large mixed-use developments in the City of Charleston are required to dedicate a certain percentage of their housing as affordable or pay a fee to the city instead.
CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority Barbra Melvin presented their plan for affordable housing to city officials and got their reaction.
“It’s innovative, flexible, its collaborative-- let’s hope it’s trendsetting,” Melvin said, describing their plan for affordable housing in the city.
That plan includes a $16 million donation to the Charleston Housing Authority to build 77 affordable housing units on Huger Street-- $8 million from the South Carolina Ports Authority and $8 million from the future buyer of the property-- with a permanent affordable housing clause that guarantees the properties stay affordable forever.
It also includes 50 units for affordable housing on the Union Pier site, guaranteed to remain affordable for 30 years, a land donation to the city for additional affordable housing and a transfer fee.
A transfer fee is basically a fixed amount that goes to the city to build affordable housing, every time the property changes ownership.
“Until you create a dedicated stream of income that repeats itself, year after year, it’s going to be very difficult to catch up with the 16,000 plus units that we need.” Councilmember Perry Waring said, explaining why he thinks the idea for a transfer fee could help put a dent in the estimated 16,000 units of affordable housing that the City of Charleston needs.
But in addition to the praise, the plan received some pushback as well, primarily regarding the lack of affordable housing units on the Union Pier site itself.
“Fifty units on the site is simply not enough, we’re going to need a whole lot more,” a public speaker, Amber Campbell-Moore, said.
Melvin said this plan is not set in stone, and that they will continue to work alongside the city and the Charleston Housing Authority.
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