Charleston officials have signed a local infrastructure consulting firm to development of a major, 60-unit affordable housing project in the city’s downtown.
The Charleston Housing Authority (CHA) has charged Lindbergh & Associates, a T.Y. Lin International company, with developing and designing three buildings on the site of the former Cooper River Bridge, which was demolished a decade ago.
Richard Garcia, executive vice president at Lindbergh & Associates, said the community is very supportive of the project, which will be built on a site that has sat idle for 10 years.
The company produced an initial report, but has now been retained to move on to a full design featuring a mixture of one-, two- and three-bedroom units, including townhouses.
Twenty units will be two-bedroom apartments for moderate-income people, and the other 35 will be one- to three-bedroom units for very low-income families. It also will include five townhomes on Lee Street available to first-time homebuyers, CHA Chairman Don Cameron said in a statement this year.
A second phase of construction will include 60 to 80 additional housing units, Cameron said
But the move to the next phase was delayed as Lindbergh dealt with a tough engineering problem centered on storm water. It was found the city’s existing storm water system would not be able to handle drainage generated by the complex. Retention ponds below a parking garage will handle the water.
The CHA Board of Commissioners at its Sept. 25 meeting approved the construction of the units, with construction expected to begin early next year.
Forest McKenzie, Lindbergh’s civil engineering manager, said there was a consensus for a mixture of different units, and added that the local community and the city management were “very much in favor” of the project.
Charleston City Councilman James Lewis told the Charleston Chronicle that the time it’s taken to move forward with development of the property led many to believe nothing ever would happen with regard to affordable housing.
This was especially believed as high-end residential development occurred among surrounding properties, Lewis told the newspaper.
While 60 units of low income affordable housing barely impacts the challenge to provide low income affordable housing it’s a start, he said.