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New affordable housing honors heritage of historically Black west Charlotte community

CHARLOTTE — A new development in west Charlotte is going to help dozens of seniors find affordable housing.

It’s happening in a rapidly developing area of town, where some people are being priced out of their neighborhoods. More than four acres of a wooded area along West Boulevard will transform into affordable housing for seniors.

The West Side Community Land Trust just bought the property with help from several companies and organizations.

The nonprofit’s goal: To address gentrification and displacement in historically Black west Charlotte neighborhoods. In this case, the organization will lease the land back to build 120 apartment units there.

The trust will then rent the apartments to people ages 55 and older who make between 30% to 80% of the area’s median or average income.

Rent will range from $474 to $1,500 per month.

The executive director of The West Side Community Land Trust says people don’t have to worry about being forced out.

“So by building 120 units of affordable housing, individuals and seniors have the ability to age in place,” Charis Blackmon said. “And it gives the additional option if they no longer want to maintain their home, to have an option to come to that is still within the neighborhood that they called home for so long.”

The trust is looking to break ground on the site by September.

Nathaniel and Lizzie Carr once owned the property where the apartments will be built -- and the development will be named after them.

Nathaniel Carr was a Black farmer and developer from the 1920s. He’s credited with creating the first neighborhood in the West Boulevard corridor at a time when Black land- and homeownership was hard to achieve.

Fast forward 100 years, and The West Side Community Land Trust plans to build the apartment units there with a goal of eventually shifting the units to affordable homeownership.

Ricky Hall, a founding member of the trust, says this will keep people living in the area even when prices start forcing them out.

“This just adds to the legacy and preserves that legacy and heritage of the Carr family and keeps this property in community control,” Hall said. “And also allows for the development of affordable housing for seniors in perpetuity.”

The project comes with a price tag of about $28 million.

(WATCH BELOW: Group works to improve historically Black neighborhood near Cornelius, while keeping charm)

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