St. Aug’s Hopes to Purchase City-Owned Lots

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St. Augustine’s College wants to purchase 15 city-owned lots from the City of Raleigh and will use the land to build affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents.

The Raleigh City Council’s Budget and Economic Development Committee gave the Community Development Department the go-ahead to move forward with the sale process, which includes a public hearing on Nov. 1. The full council will take up the sale next week.

St. Augustine’s College Community Development Corporation was awarded a $300,000 Historically Black Colleges and Universities grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to build 10 homes in the College Park neighborhood near Jones Street and Idlewild Avenue.

The remaining five would also be used for affordable housing projects. The college will buy the land from the city for $20,000 per lot. St. Augustine’s will finance the land at 0 percent interest until the houses are bought by a homeowner. The homeowner would also be part of the city’s second mortgage program.

Community Development Director Michele Grant explained that St. Augustine’s has until 2013 to build the homes and to expedite the sale process, the city did not put out a Request for Proposal and will sell directly to the college.

The college will also be handling the design and construction of the homes, said Grant. St. Augustine’s has already developed city-owned lots on Cooke Street and “we feel that they do have the capacity to do single family development,” she added.

The city has about 90 more lots in the College Park/Idlewild Redevelopment area that are not ready for sale. Grant explained that the lots still need some more work, including upgrades to water and sewer lines, demolition and land planning. She said that the department hopes to have those lots ready by late next summer.

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