After three years of planning, construction will soon begin on affordable housing units on Charleston’s East End. The apartments will be built new, which isn’t typical for the neighborhood.
The apartments will be two to three bedroom units located on 601 Ruffner Avenue. Chris Sadd, the developer on the project, estimates construction will begin in three months and be finished by June 2020. He plans to build 10 units with 10 off-street parking spaces.
Part of the reason he chose the site was because of its convenient location. It’s close to a bus line and the Roosevelt Community Center, and it’s walking distance from Piedmont Elementary School, Sadd said.
The housing will be rent controlled. As of now, there is an income cap for who can live there. Currently the maximum is set at $38,400 for a family of four. However, this amount is subject to change because it’s based off the incomes of the people in the neighborhood.
“It will change. It could change by $10 or it could be $1,000; who knows,” Sadd said.
The units are not public housing; they are privately owned. Tenants would apply through a property management company.
Since the East End is considered a historic district, the design of the building had to be approved by the state Historic Preservation Office. The units will be red brick, styled like townhouses with their own entrances. They are designed to look similar to the other buildings in the neighborhood.
Construction of new homes from the ground up is uncommon in the East End, said Lori Brannon, a city planner.
“I can’t think of anything in recent memory that was a residential new construction,” Brannon said. “Much of the development of housing on the East End has been rehab because it is an old neighborhood and the housing stock itself is pretty decent shape.”
Initially, Sadd couldn’t build the number of units he was hoping to build. At first, the area was zoned for only four units but that was changed to allow for 10 units Sadd has planned. Brannon said other properties nearby have zoning that allows for more than four units.
“So it’s not something that exists out of the scope of what’s already in the neighborhood,” Brannon said.
This isn’t the first project like this Sadd has taken on. Sadd also has affordable townhouses being built near Mary C. Snow Elementary School, near Grant Street and Second Avenue.
Sadd said he takes on these projects because he thinks there is a need for more housing in the city.
“There’s an insufficient supply for new housing in Charleston,” Sadd said.