As the developer of Charleston's Concord Park moves closer to breaking ground on a high-end hotel and expensive condos, it is also trying to get an affordable housing component of the project under way.
An attempt last year by the nonprofit Humanities Foundation to secure tax credit financing was unsuccessful, and now the developer, Concord Park Associates LLC, is going to review proposals from that group and two for-profit companies. Tax credit financing requires state approval, and is used to finance affordable housing.
Such projects are tailored to meet state requirements. Under current guidelines that call for buildings with no more than 56 units, the units planned at Concord and Laurens streets would take the form of a four-story building, rather than a five-story building as had been proposed last year, said Tracy Doran, executive director of the Humanities Foundation.
On Monday afternoon, City Council's Real Estate Committee agreed to amend the development agreement so that the affordable housing partner ultimately selected by Concord Park Associates, and not just the Humanities Foundation, could apply for the tax credits.
"This isn't to hurt Tracy or anyone else," said Russ Bowker with Concord Park Associates. "This is to give us an open field and get the best deal possible."
City Council would later have a say in approving the affordable housing developer, and Councilman Keith Waring said he's like to see a company that's already built such housing in the Charleston area get the job.
Citing the Humanities Foundation's award-winning affordable housing development on Daniel Island, Waring said that "Concord Park is also a very delicate location."
Mayor Joe Riley said he'd like to see Humanities Foundation get the work, but the developer should be able to choose.
"They need to move fast," he said, citing a March deadline to apply for tax credits.
Development partner Wally Seinsheimer said the Florida-based Carlisle Development Group and Ohio-based Miller-Valentine Group will be competing for the work. Both have local offices. Neither was represented at Monday's committee meeting.
Concord Park is a 10-acre tract near the S.C. Aquarium previously known as Ansonborough Fields, where a public housing project once stood. Charleston sold 3.5 acres on the north and south ends of the property for redevelopment in 2007, and as part of the $16 million deal, required that the buyer include 60 units of affordable housing in the plan.
While the plan accepted by City Council in 2007 called for a mix of affordable units owned by people with moderate incomes, and rented by people with low incomes, the most recent proposal called entirely for apartments that would be rented by elderly residents with low to moderate incomes.
The Concord Park development includes an office building -- 25 Calhoun, now built and occupied -- a high-end hotel and condominium project that will go before the Board of Architecture Review for final consideration Wednesday, and market-rate housing.
The condos will list for nearly $800 per square foot.
The center of the Concord Park tract will become a city park roughly the size of Marion Square, located between Concord and Washington streets.
Reach David Slade at 937-5552.
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