Durham, North Carolina — A city-owned car park in downtown Durham could soon be turned into flats.
City officials have received an “unsolicited” offer from a developer to buy the Durham Center car park for $5million.
Developer Craig Davis Properties already owns “air rights” above the parking lot.
On Thursday evening, the council received a presentation from the company, which answered questions about why affordable housing would not be built in the area.
“We’re not a non-profit – so we’re going to build it, we’re going to run it, and if we do it well, hopefully we can make a profit taking into account all the costs and building the costs of construction,” said CDP Vice President of Development Earl Gill.
The developer will commit to building at least 6 affordable housing units elsewhere in Durham through a $650,000 contribution to the Affordable Housing Fund.
Business owners delay developer plans
Business owners and local leaders are fighting a developer’s desire to turn a city-owned parking lot in downtown Durham into an apartment tower.
Carolina Theater general manager Randy McKay said he strongly opposes the proposed development because it would affect parking spaces under threat.
The city car park is located at 300 West Morgan Street in Durham city centre, opposite the theatre.
McKay said he had been in talks with developer Craig Davis Properties (CDP) for a year and believed his parking concerns had not been resolved.
“We don’t think there really is a parking problem,” Guill said.
Gill said the plan is to develop the area to help drivers find parking spaces that already exist there.
The developers believe the proposed development, called ‘The James’, will be the tallest building in Durham town centre.
“We always thought the site could be improved,” Guill said. “And, we think the best way to do that is to remove part of the bridge and rebuild a new parking structure on the western half.
“It’s basically half the block.”
McKay wrote in a letter to Durham City Council that the project “would jeopardize the viability of the Carolina Theatre”.
City documents show CDP has offered to buy the Durham city center car park at 300 West Morgan Street to develop multi-family units and retail towers. CDP already has aerial access rights above the car park.
“It’s going to be a game-changer,” Gill said.
Durham City Council will hear an update on CDP’s proposal, titled ‘James’, At the 1 p.m. meeting on Thursday.
Built in 1987, Durham Center Car Park is owned and operated by the City of Durham and is a three-tier car park with 719 spaces.