DURHAM COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham County officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning for a mixed-housing development along East Main Street.
The project will include 110 market-rate and affordable housing units, with the latter available to households making 30 to 80% of the area median income.
"It's good to keep people who are rooted right here in the community, make sure all of these services, support services around downtown, are available to everyone. And so that's the biggest significance of this, and just making sure we have a thriving economy here in Durham by providing housing," said Peri Manns, deputy director of engineering and environmental services in Durham County.
According to Triangle MLS, the average sales price in March 2023 was about $436,000, compared to nearly $309,000 in March 2020. While the year-over-year sales prices have slowed considerably, rising interest rates have largely negated the difference in payments.
"We've asked the city and the (Durham Public) Schools Board and we're all looking at what land do we have that we own that we can also do affordable housing in," said Brenda Howerton, chair of the Durham County Board of Commissioners.
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The development will also include a Pre-K child care center, another effort to ease burdens on families.
"I've heard that space for children in Durham generally and in the downtown is scarce, and families need opportunities to have high-quality child care for their children," said Ellen Reckhow, a former Durham County commissioner.
A parking deck located at the corner of Liberty and Queen Street is now open, with Queen Street, which had been blocked off for months, also re-opened.
Manns said they anticipate construction will be completed in the next 18 months, though they are hoping to fast-track the project and avoid logistical challenges that have impacted other ventures.
"On all of our construction projects, we've been experiencing the shattered supply chain. We see that a lot with electrical equipment. It takes forever to get switch gears, generators, transformers, things like that," said Manns.
Applications are set to open in a year.