Redevelopment of 300 and 500 Blocks of East Main

It is important to attend the DFI Public Input session on July 28 and August 2. 

Durham CAN and the Coalition for Affordable Housing and Transit have been urging the County government to ensure the County maximizes the creation of affordable housing downtown on East Main close to the Dillard light rail station. At the meetings, participants will be able to complete a form showing which of two options they support.  These forms will be tabulated and the results reported to the members of the County Commission.   

DFI has worked very hard to develop a feasible proposal that is a modification of CAN’s and CAHT’s core demands.  Option B is this proposal.

What to expect at a session?  

  • Presentation that provides background, overview, how we got to this point
  • Brief comparison of the options
  • In small groups around tables, participants will be asked to express their opinion in open-ended, written format on the input form.
    • Question 2 on the survey form addresses the public interest of affordable housing.
  • This is followed by small table discussions, and then a report out from the small groups.

Analysis of the Two Options

  • The proposals for development on the 500 block are the same in Options A and B
  • The key differences with respect to affordable housing are --


Option B

Option A

·       Creates more affordable units under 60% AMI than Option A:  216 versus 140.

·       Provides more guaranteed affordable units at 60-80% AMI:  61 versus 40.

·       Has a larger number of very low income units with more units below 30% AMI:  50 versus 32.

·       Provides the opportunity for relocation of families that are at DHA Liberty Street apartments who currently have 3-Bedroom units.  There are no 3-Bedroom units in Option A in either block.

·     300 Block under Option A will provide only market rate housing.  48 of these units will be "naturally affordable" at the 80% AMI level because they are very small micro-units.

·     There is no guarantee that those micro units will necessarily be affordable in the future.  There are no controls built in.  The affordable units in Option B will be guaranteed long-term.

·     It is targeted for individuals/couples (there is no family housing in 300 block; does not provide a multiple bedroom option)

Option B meets the additional goal of activating 300 Block of East Main Street in terms of street level retail along Main rather than having most of the retail being set back from the street.


The redevelopment of the parking lots began with the County’s plan to build parking decks on the two lots.  The additional features have been added in response to recommendations from the community.  Parking estimates are similar for the two proposals with approximately 1500-1900 spaces in each option.  It is important to recognize that 600 surface spaces are being eliminated with the construction in the two lots, so the net increase is 900-1300 spaces.  The additional spaces accommodate increased county employees and clients using County services as well as the housing residents and users of commercial space.  The consultants estimate that using a parking space detection system to identify empty spaces in the decks can reduce the number of spaces needed by approximately ten percent. 

Public Investment

A major difference between the two options is the greater amount of public loans/grants needed for the affordable housing component:  $4.6 million for Option A and $8.6 million for Option B.  The cost is—

  • $25,500 per unit for the 180 affordable units up to 80% AMI in Option A versus
  • $30,900 per unit for 277 units in Option B.

The higher option is still more reasonable than building affordable housing in another location downtown where the parking is not already being provided.  In addition, getting the additional 97 units from this effort is more likely to be successful than trying to get support for a new separate project.

Meeting details

Saturday, July 28th, 2018
Criminal Justice Resource Center
326 E. Main Street

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018
5:30-7:30 PM
Nehemiah Christian Center
514 N. Mangum Street

Providing input online

If it is not possible to attend one of the public sessions, it is possible to access an online survey to give input by going to this website:

Go to the bottom of the page and click on "feedback form online." 


Information sheet from Coalition for Affordable Housing


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