Affordable Downtown Housing? Pfah!

Friday, May 5th, 2006

Just heard the local Chamber of Commerce’s executive director Aaron Nelson on WCHL 1360AM describe, in jubilant terms , how soon-to-open Rosemary Village is ” the impetus for a downtown renaissance”.

Aaron further proclaimed this development would give us “great downtown living we haven’t had in a long time.”

Really? I know folk living downtown that might disagree with that sentiment.

Further, while the Chamber’s Nelson has gone to bat on behalf of this project several times, this latest praise for:

Rosemary Village…38 luxury condominiums within a short walk of UNC’s campus…from $350s – $700,000

rings a bit discordant along-side Nelson’s recent observation on Habitat’s fight with local neighbors, Chandler Green:

“The character of our community is to build unaffordable homes,” said Nelson, who reported that the chamber board of directors unanimously endorsed the project. “[Habitat is] building affordable homes. That is out of character.”

Aaron’s right, our community tends towards expensive housing.

The lesson of Rosemary Village, I think, is that the planned downtown developments whether private or public, in spite of the best intentions, will follow that trend.

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