[image-1]A patch of land near the corner of Lee and Meeting Streets has been designated as the future home to a new affordable housing development, following a land deal between the city of Charleston and the Charleston Housing Authority.

On Thursday, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg signed over the 1.4-acre parcel to be used in the construction of 60 affordable rental units and housing for residents with low to moderate incomes. With an estimated construction cost of around $16 million, the development will include 25 one-bedroom units for elderly residents and those earning between 30-50 percent of the area median income (AMI) as set annually by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The current AMI for a single-member household is $46,250 and $66,000 for a four-person household.

“Why this is so important is because of the need for affordable housing in the city of Charleston. It’s a critical issue for our region, particularly for our city,” said Mayor Tecklenburg. “The name for these new homes will be the Grace Homes, and I feel a double entendre here, if I may say, that the grace of God has gotten us here.”

In addition to the one-bedroom apartments, those earning 30-50 percent of the AMI will qualify for the five two-bedroom and five three-bedroom units set to be included in the development. Another 20 two-bedroom apartments will be available for those earning up to 150 percent of the AMI.

In total, the project is expected to cost an estimated $16 million to construct, with construction beginning in the summer of 2018 and finishing in 2020. In addition to the 1.4 acres of land donated, the city has pledged $2 million to the project, with the Housing Authority covering the remainder of the cost.

Five three-bedroom homes are also planned to be constructed next to the rental units. These properties will be available to prospective homeowners earning up to 120 percent of the AMI. As a part of the Palmetto Community Land Trust, the land on which these homes are built will be owned and managed by the nonprofit organization developed by the city in partnership with the Historic Charleston Foundation.

“These are not the Grace Apartments or Grace Dwellings or Grace Units, but [Grace] Homes,” said Don Cameron, president and CEO of the Charleston Housing Authority. “We’re building homes for people to live in, and once they move in, they will make them homes. They will make them homes as their children bring home artwork, school report cards, and they’ll post it on refrigerators. People will start to live there and claim ownership whether they are renters or owners.”