The Durham Housing Authority (DHA) announced this week that it will build more than 1,700 residential units aimed at providing affordable housing and creating new residential communities in the downtown Durham area.

These development plans, which total $470 million, will see the construction of residential units across three downtown area sites, including the bygone Fayette Place community in the Hayti district, Forest Hill Heights, and the county-owned land surrounding the current DHA offices.

Of the planned residential units, nearly 900 will be priced for residents earning between 30-80 percent of the Area Median Income.

Construction of these three sites is the second phase of the DHA Downtown and Neighborhood Plan’s (DDNP) finalization and implementation stage. DHA’s CEO, Anthony Scott, said affordable housing was the organization’s driving factor behind these development plans.

“The preservation and creation of additional affordable housing units was paramount in redeveloping these sites,” Scott said in a press release. “The proposals more than exceed the original targets that we established in the DDNP.”

Development plans for the three sites will be executed by two development partners: Durham Development Partners, a joint venture team of F7 International Development, Greystone Affordable Development, and Gilbane Development Company, and The Integral Group, LLC, an Atlanta-based group focused on urban community developments. Durham Development Partners will develop the Fayette Place and DHA Office and Criminal Justice Resource Center (CJRC) sites, which combined will include over 1,000 mixed-income residential units and a new administrative office. The Integral Group will redevelop the Forest Hill Heights community, including a planned 700 mixed-income residential units and 73,000 square feet of commercial space.

The two development partners are set to enter into final development agreement negotiations with DHA this year. Following these agreements, the partners and DHA will begin “comprehensive” community engagements to finalize plans for the three sites.

The announcement of these development plans come more than a year after the DHA first requested development proposals for DDNP. According to the News & Observer, the DHA received a total of 12 development proposals across the three sites. One such proposal that was not selected was Hayti Reborn, a Black-led project that seeks to revitalize the Hayti district through a 2,000-acre development surrounding Fayette Place. The project emphasizes community needs as “the core of all development plans,” and is focused on not displacing or disrupting the surrounding community that already exists in the area.

While the Hayti Reborn project was not one of the development plans selected, the chosen development partners have expressed similar sentiments about the importance of preserving these communities and their histories.

Vicky Lundy Wilbon, president of The Integral Group’s real estate platform, said she hopes the development will add to downtown Durham’s “excitement and energy” while being conscious of the Forest Hill Heights community’s history.

“We will bring our capacity and focus to redefining national standards for communities committed to cultural inclusivity, shared prosperity, and housing affordability,” Lundy Wilbon said.

James Montague, president of F7 International Development, said in a press release that Durham Development Partners was grateful for the opportunity to work on the development.

“We understand the historical significance of these sites and how crucial this redevelopment will be in reimaging these communities,” Montague said.

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