Developers offer $5M to transform Durham parking deck into apartments, retail tower

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ByCindy Bae via WTVD logo
Friday, September 9, 2022
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At the heart of Downtown Durham, across from the Carolina Theatre, the Durham City Centre Parking Deck is wanted for $5 million by Craig Davis Properties.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- At the heart of Downtown Durham, across from the Carolina Theatre, the Durham City Centre Parking Deck is wanted for $5 million by Craig Davis Properties.

"Our intent is to take down the west half of the parking deck," Earl Guill said to the Durham City Council on Thursday. "There's an expansion joint ... we would take down that portion and build back up about 6 levels of parking."

The $5 million offer would turn the space at 300 West Morgan Street into a multi-family residential unit and retail tower, which Guill said would take three years to build. The proposed development, known as "The James" would have 308 apartments and resident parking with public parking level on Morgan Street.

But as the city's population grows, residents such as Kai Halbuna wonder how the ongoing issue with parking will be solved.

"Seeing more developments coming up, I definitely see parking's an issue," Halbuna said. "Where are people going to park? Where are they going to go?"

Guill said one major concern with the development involved nearby entertainment venues.

"If it's not directly across the street in the Durham Center deck as it is today, they're parking in the Durham ID deck or the Chapel Hill deck, or Morgan-Rigsby deck," Guill said. "We have committed to construct a highly visible, with great lighting and wayfinding, a pathway directly through our deck."

The enhancement is part of the proposal that would make 82 public parking spaces available on the west half of the deck on the P1 level, while the east side of the tower would have space for the owner of that tower and for others, including tenants of the office building during the day.

Craig Davis Properties is also offering a contribution of $650,000 to the Affordable Housing Fund to enable production of six affordable housing units, which council member Jillian Johnson asked them to reconsider.

"I think I'll just communicate a strong preference for affordable housing on site given that affordable housing is a huge problem in our city," Johnson said. "And that downtown affordable housing is difficult for us to provide."

Council member DeDreana Freeman echoed Johnson.

"We don't really need $5 million," Freeman said. "But we need the affordable housing."