Affordable Senior Living Apartments and Park for Kids Open in Durham’s West End
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Affordable Senior Living Apartments and Park for Kids Open in Durham’s West End

DURHAM, N.C. – June 24, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Three non-profit development partners are joining together with the City of Durham, Duke University, and the West End neighborhood to celebrate the grand opening of Maplewood Square Apartments and Maplewood Park. 

The ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception will be held Monday, June 28, 2010, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1520 Chapel Hill Road, between Morehead Avenue and Duke University Road in Durham.  The $4.5 million affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization project offers low-cost living to seniors aged 55 or better, and a public park built by volunteers, suitable for small children.  Both projects replace a formerly blighted area. 

City of Durham Mayor William V. “Bill” Bell, N.C. Housing Finance Agency Chairman Lucius Jones, Duke University Vice President for Durham & Regional Affairs Phail Wynn, and NeighborWorks© America CEO Ken Wade, are among the featured speakers.  Residents of Maplewood Square and representatives from all project partners will also be on hand.  The apartment building will be open for viewing, and the park will also be open to visitors of all ages.

Maplewood Square offers 26 one-bedroom and 6 two-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 717 square feet to 964 square feet.  Features include outdoor sitting areas, a multipurpose room, resident computer center with free high-speed Internet access, tenant storage areas, a common laundry room, and on-site property management.  All apartments are affordable based on income, and four are reserved for seniors with disabilities. Rents range from $317 to $510 per month. 

The project team includes DHIC, Inc., an award-winning developer of lower-cost housing in the Triangle; Self-Help, a statewide community development financial institution headquartered in Durham; and Durham Community Land Trustees (DCLT), a community development corporation which is active in the West End community.  Both DHIC and DCLT are national network members of NeighborWorks® America, a national development intermediary.

“Early land and financial commitments from the City of Durham and Duke University helped leverage more than $3 million in investment from other sources,” said Gregg Warren of DHIC, Inc., lead developer for the project.  “It takes cooperation and coordination for an effort like this one, and the City of Durham, Duke, and other partners really stepped up to the plate.”

“It’s exciting to see how the coordination of nine City departments, with leadership from the talented and committed staff members in Durham Parks and Recreation, General Services, and Community Development, has resulted in such a visible and concrete impact to the neighborhood,” said Mayor Bell.  “Federal and state funds helped secure the base that so many other supporters have built on, and the City of Durham is a proud contributor to the effort.”

The project is the direct result of neighborhood conversations that began in 2000 as part of Duke University’s Quality of Life Project.  Residents asked Duke officials to help them find a way to rebuild a neighborhood park and expand the supply of attractive, affordable, energy-efficient, and low-maintenance homes for retirees and other seniors in the West End. 

Durham Community Land Trustees, which has been long-active in the West End neighborhood, helped recruit Self-Help and DHIC, Inc., which brought financial resources and extensive multi-family development know-how to the project.  The City of Durham offered the vacant City-owned parcel next to a City park, then granted federal funds to purchase and remove blighted structures on six surrounding lots. 

“We are pleased that cornerstone support from the University and this great team of partners, in response to the inspiration and guidance of Quality of Life Project, joined forces to build these homes and this playground in the heart of the West End,” said Dr. Wynn.  “This truly is a day for celebration.”

Selina Mack, executive director of Durham Community Land Trustees, agreed. “This has been an outstanding opportunity to create an intergenerational impact – grandparents, their children, and their grandchildren all benefit from this partnership, which adds both beauty and continuity to our growing neighborhood.”

“Duke University did a wonderful job engaging neighborhood residents and nonprofit organizations throughout the planning process,” said Evan Covington-Chavez, president of Self-Help Community Development Corporation, which provided critical financial support and services throughout the project.  “As a result, the neighborhood has welcomed the seniors of Maplewood Square, and has enjoyed watching the children of the West End playing in the City park.  We so appreciate all our partners in creating this new asset in the heart of the neighborhood.” 

Permanent financing sources for Maplewood Square include the N.C. Housing Finance Agency ($545,799), Duke University ($500,000), City of Durham ($300,000), and Fifth Third Bank syndicated by National Equity Fund, Inc. ($2,615,772) from the sale of federal housing tax credits. 

Support for Maplewood Park was contributed by Blue Cross Blue Shield, City of Durham, Duke Chapel, Duke United Way, Duke University, Harry L. and Helen M. Rust Charitable Foundation, Lowe’s at William Penn Plaza, Make Kids Smile, Inc., Mary Biddle Duke Foundation, O.C. Mitchell, and PlayWorld Systems, Inc.

Directions to Maplewood Square:  From N.C. Highway 147, exit at Chapel Hill Street. Go west about one mile, then turn left onto Chapel Hill Road. Maplewood Square is just ahead on the right.

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