UPDATE (2/9/2024, 1:52 p.m.): This story was updated to include comments from the city’s Housing and Development Manager Tanya Skillman.
In 2021, the North Carolina General Assembly made it possible for Winston-Salem to sell its many empty lots in order to increase the city’s supply of affordable housing. The city has been selling these lots for $1 apiece to developers like Liberty East Redevelopment and Glabex Consortium, LLC.
In September, the city sold Glabex Consortium four lots at $1 each, plus another three at the same price during Monday’s city council meeting. These properties are located in the Northeast Ward on East 21st and 22nd Streets near Cleveland Avenue, the corner of Bramblebrook Lane and Gray Avenue, and at the corner of New Hope Lane and North Liberty Street.
Now, the city is not only selling property to developers, but helping them cross the finish line.
On Monday, the city gave Glabex Consortium $240,000 to build eight single-family homes on those lots, costing the city $30,000 per unit. The city is using money from a pandemic recovery grant that’s intended for affordable-housing projects.
A Feb. 9 email from the city’s Housing and Development Manager Tanya Skillman states that Glabex Consortium “must complete all eight units on or before December 2026.”
The 1,300-square-foot homes will each have three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a one-car garage, with a market value of $235,000. However, they will be priced at $205,000. The city will provide homeowners with 15-year down-payment assistance loans. A portion of each loan will be forgiven annually.
Glabex Consortium, based out of Clemmons, was formed in May 2015 according to the NC Secretary of State’s business registration website. According to PPP loan information, the organization was approved for a $45,280 loan in April 2020 from Trustmark National Bank. That loan has been forgiven. The business was categorized under “pharmacies and drug stores” and Glabex Consortium’s application stated that the money would go toward “payroll.”
Who qualifies for these homes?
The city needs to build 15,000 units by 2027, according to a 2020 city staff report on affordable housing sites, with the goal of feeding 750 units into the city’s affordable-housing stock every year. According to a 2018 housing study and needs assessment, the most commonly occupied units are three bedrooms, which represented nearly 40 percent of all units in 2016.
Last year, when the city helped Forsyth County’s Habitat for Humanity finance the creation of 13 single-family homes in the Happy Hill neighborhood, the organization’s Chief Executive Officer George Redd said that homeownership is an easy way for families to build generational wealth and helps break the cycle of generational poverty.
Glabex Consortium’s future homes are geared toward first-time homebuyers, but are open to anyone who meets the criteria: Per the city, all eight of these homes will be available for sale to homeowners with incomes at or below 80 percent area median income. The median family income in Winston-Salem is $68,900. For example, a family of four that rakes in an annual income of $55,100 would qualify. The housing study and needs assessment found that households in the $35,000-$74,999 income bracket represent 32.5 percent of the city’s households.
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