Update on work of the Chapel Hill Affordable Housing Technical Advisory Group

The Chapel Hill Affordable Housing Technical Advisory Group met again for the first time after the town staff worked over the past 2 months to hold 59 focus groups, talking to nearly 450 people about what an affordable housing plan for the town should look like. We were joined by two new members; a representative from UNC (Linda Convissor) and a representative from the Homebuilders Association of Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties (Nick Tennyson).

Focus groups were held with Habitat for Humanity families, UNC undergrad and graduate students, Chapel Hill fire fighters, residents of Northside, realtors, El Centro Hispano clients, members of the UNC Employees’ Forum, Community Home Trust owners, Chapel Hill Carrboro Schools employees, members of the Homebuilders Association and many others.

University Square Public Meetings

In July, the University’s Chapel Hill Foundation Real Estate Holdings Inc. purchased the 12-acre University Square and Granville Tower property in downtown Chapel Hill.  Cousins Properties Incorporated, a developer that specializes in mixed use projects, is partnering with the Foundation to redevelop the property.  On Thursday, October 15, the University and Cousins Properties will host two public meetings to discuss the redevelopment.   

The meetings will be at 3:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. in Suite 133-G of University Square, next to Ken’s Quickie Mart.  Although the first meeting is primarily for tenants of University Square, you are invited to attend either meeting.  The same material will be presented at both. 

Parking is available on site. Chapel Hill Transit service is available via most routes.

Cousins Properties recently selected Elkus Manfredi Architects of Boston to help plan and design the project.  At the meeting, the development teams from Cousins and Elkus Manfredi will share their process and initial analysis of the property and ask for your input on the redevelopment. Public input will guide the architects as they develop a concept plan to be submitted to the Town next spring. 


Thursday, October 15, 2009 - 11:30am to 1:00pm


133-G University Square (next to Ken's Quickie Mart)


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Public Input/Information Session
3:00 - 7:00 pm, Wednesday, March 4  * Extraordinary Ventures, 110 Elliott Road, Chapel Hill *
A Public Input/Information Session on Carolina North will be held at Extraordinary Ventures, 110 Elliott Road.   Please note that in response to feedback from the public, the times have been modified and the session is now scheduled from 3 pm – 7 pm.
Carolina North is expected to be contained within about 250 acres of the Horace Williams Tract’s 1,000 acres and be built in phases over the next 50 years, as proposed. The property lies just to the north of Estes Drive adjacent to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.   The Town and the University are now engaged in the preparation of a new zoning district and a Development Agreement for the initial phase of Carolina North, expected to be 133 acres to be developed over approximately 20 years.  

A New Kind of Underwater In NC

Wall Street Journal has an interactive map of the United States that shows where people are "underwater" on their mortgages. Underwater is a new term for me.  I always heard upside down, but the meaning is the same - the house is now valued at less than is owed. The percentages shown on the map are only houses purchased in the last five years.

I was disappointed but not surprised to see Orange County, NC on the map.

Only 10% of homeowners are underwater this week.  That's nowhere near as bad as Orange County, California where 40-80% of homeowners are underwater. But that number could change if housing prices decrease, the percentage does not include people who may be underwater and bought six or seven years ago and the last five years saw an awful lot of houses constructed and purchased as well existing and changing hands in Orange County.  It begs the question just how many families is that?

Map here for your viewing pleasure:





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