Last week for the web, Lena Geller reported on a developer’s unsolicited proposal to purchase a city-owned parking deck for $5 million, with plans to build a 32-story apartment tower in its place. Durham City Council members pushed back on the plan, even though the developer offered to contribute $650,000 to the city’s affordable housing fund. Readers on Facebook had a lot of thoughts about this story.

“That parking garage is critical to the Carolina Theater, the convention center, and the armory,” wrote commenter Mary Evers. “Those community assets are far more important than another developer making money on another unaffordable, ugly apartment hi rise.”

“Parking garages are relatively inefficient, basically prime public land being used for daytime storage of private property,” wrote commenter Iain Burnett. “Maybe parking is underpriced if the garage is often full and the city can raise parking rates to raise the $650k per year for affordable housing. If we just counted weekdays that could probably be achieved with a $1/hr hike.”

“If the developers promised the units they built would be 100% ‘affordable’ housing, I’d be big for it!” wrote commenter Tanner Punnett King. “Parking decks are a big problem in NC inner cities, and just about the worse urban land use out there.”

“Of all the things Durham doesn’t need that’d be one of the things Durham doesn’t need the most,” wrote commenter Allen Freeman. “Good on the city council for finally deciding to display a little skepticism.”

“Hmm we need that energy on Raleigh’s city council,” wrote commenter Amanda Orfitelli.

Support independent local journalism. Join  the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle. 

Send your comments to