Durham, N.C. — A city-owned parking deck in downtown Durham could soon be turned into apartments.
City officials received an “unsolicited” proposal from a developer, wanting to buy the Durham Centre Parking Deck for $5 million.
The developer, Craig Davis Properties, already owns the “air rights” above the parking deck.
On Thursday night, the council received a presentation from the firm – and the firm answered questions about why it will not build affordable housing units in the space.
“We are not a non-profit organization – so we’re gonna build it, we’re gonna operate it and if we do it properly we hope we’re going to be operating at a profit when you take all the expenses into account and the cost of the construction to build it,” said Earl Guill, CDP’s vice president of development.
The developer would commit to building at least 6 affordable housing units elsewhere in Durham, through a $650,000 contribution to the Affordable Housing Fund.
Business-owners push back on developer’s plan
Business owners and local leaders are pushing back on a developer’s wish to turn a city-owned parking deck in downtown Durham into a tower of apartment buildings.
The CEO of Carolina Theatre Randy McKay said he is strongly opposed to the proposed development due to the impact it will have on parking for events at the threatre.
The city’s parking deck is at 300 West Morgan Street, in the heart of downtown Durham, across from the Theatre.
McKay said he has been in talks with developers Craig Davis Properties (CDP) for a year and does not feel like his concerns over parking have been addressed.
“We don’t feel like there is really a parking problem,” said Guill.
Guill said the plan is to develop the area to help drivers find parking already there.
Developers believe the proposed development entitled “The James” would be the tallest building in downtown Durham.
“We have always believed that the site could be improved,” Guill said. “And, we felt the best way to do this was to actually remove part of the deck and build anew with a new parking structure on the west half.
“It’s basically half of the block.”
McKay wrote in a letter to the Durham City Council that this project will “jeopardize the viability of Carolina Theatre.”
City documentation shows CDP has prepared an unsolicited proposal to purchase the Durham City Centre Parking Deck at 300 West Morgan St. to develop a multi-family residential unit and retail tower. CDP already owned the air rights above the parking deck.
“This is going to be a game-changer,” Guill said.
The Durham City Council is due to hear an update on CDP’s proposal, entitled “The James,” during its Thursday 1 p.m. meeting.
People interested in sharing their voice with the Durham City Council can do so before 10 a.m. on Thursday. The city council provides an option for residents to register and speak or provide written comments.
The Durham Centre Parking Deck was built in 1987 with a three-story, 719-space parking deck that is owned and operated by the city of Durham.
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