Durham County

Durham City Council approves purchase of Fayette Place

mschultz@newsobserver,com

Twenty vacant acres that have plagued a Durham neighborhood for years might finally be redeveloped after city officials approved a grant Monday night that will put the property back in the public’s hands.

The Durham City Council unanimously approved giving the development arm of the Durham Housing Authority $4.2 million to repurchase the property, known as Fayette Place, from the private company that bought it in 2007.

Campus Apartments committed to rent at least 168 beds to N.C. Central University students or provide housing for low-income individuals when it bought the property.

But the company never moved forward with the development.

Under the purchase agreement, the Durham Housing Authority had the option to buy back the property if Campus Apartment didn’t follow through on its commitment by August.

The city grant will include more than $4 million to repurchase the property and $102,000 to maintain it through 2019. About $47,000 would go to a market study and legal fees.

The purchase is set to close June 16. A market study is to be completed in August and the community-engagement process would be held in September.

The grant agreement requires the housing authority to mow the grass, remove trash and repair the fencing. The housing authority has to include affordable housing in whatever gets built and seek community input, including from the Hayti area and N.C. Central University.

The authority also has to provide quarterly financial updates and can’t sell the site without the consent of the city manager, the grant agreement states.

The area is bounded by Fayetteville, Umstead and Merrick streets, between downtown and N.C. Central University.

For about 35 years, the property housed the 200-unit Fayetteville Street public housing complex.

In the early 2000s, the Durham Housing Authority started to convert the property into Fayette Place, a low-income housing development funded with tax credits. The development never happened.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges

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