URGENT ATTENTION – PLAN B – Low Income Housing Development Partners – Woda Cooper

Columbus, OH. The 54 unit affordable seniors community was named Overall and Green winner for Affordable Housing Finance Readers Choice.

Woda Cooper has experienced developers, general contractors, and property managers specializing in design, construction, and management. If you google them you will find an impressive mass of work. Their online presence leaves a favorable impression of the company. Here is an example of one of the low-income housing projects they use on their Facebook header.

The City Council – #Item 14 – saw the approval of “development partner”, Woda Cooper Companies, for the construction of the “workforce housing” (low income) units on Tarboro Street, across from Edgecombe Community College. I have written, most recently on Concerned Citizens, how opposed I am to the location, not the type housing. Now PLAN B is another story. I found two projects that Woda Cooper has designed that I would hold the ladder for, bring donuts and sing.  This company REPURPOSES OLD BUILDINGS!!!  for low-income housing. What a great idea. We have a few of those. PLAN B accomplishes the same outcome for housing but keeps the integrity of our historic facades intact, saves a building, adds seamlessly to the historic downtown. PLAN B is a better solution.

 Then and now. The top photo on the right was taken in 1932 when the now Cavalier Greene was a thriving high school in Corunna, MI. The classic 1908 school building was adapted a few years ago to become a 40-unit affordable community. With the addition of a new 22,000 sq. ft. section designed to mesh well with the original architecture, Cavalier Greene offers one- and two-bedroom affordable apartments for seniors and workforce families/singles who earn 30 to 60% of area median income (AMI).

 

In order to create affordable places to live in downtown Cleveland,  Woda Cooper bought
the old Stuyvesant Motor Company Building at 1937 Prospect Avenue and built the Prospect Yard apartments. The building was built in 1917 and a stone in the brick at the top of the building still reads “Stuyvesant” after more than a century.  The building has 42 apartments, with rent starting at $330 and topping out at $1,247 depending on how large the apartment is.

When Woda Cooper first bought the building, this is what the inside looked like after years of neglect.

‘The project used many layers of historic tax credits. Woda Cooper went the extra step to also get affordable housing credits,  making it possible to keep rents low. The goal: to house people with working-class incomes and people needed in the downtown service industry. I don’t know if PLAN B will line pockets as easily as the cluster housing but I sure as heck know that to ‘restore and repurpose’ is a better answer for this project the wizards behind the curtain insist we must have. It becomes a piece of the Rocky Mount puzzle that fits. Don’t you agree?

 

 

 

 

The Emerging Scene On Main Street -‘Living Above The Store’ – Coming Soon

One of the highlights of The Main Street Conference in New Bern was the opportunity to see two gorgeous ‘living above the store’ homes. Coming soon to Main Street, we will have the same opportunity. What I saw was amazing. In this case, both places are owned by retired couples that filled their second-floor homes with a lifetime of collecting art, beautiful furniture, and southern charm. New Bern is desperate for rental and sale places in order to live downtown. This emerging scene of ours will fill an important nitch for young professionals, management that is connected to the new jobs being created, for singles, couples, retired folks and those who want to live close to their work. These ‘living above the store’ opportunities illustrate how the revitalization of Rocky Mount is unfolding: an example of preservation, restoration, and repurposing done the right way. This availability to live downtown in our historic commercial buildings is vital to saving Main Street; the name I use to include the entire downtown district. I hope the New Bern photos get you excited about the work going on downtown. The Repairers of the Breach are hard at work.

The staircase to an amazing space.
The door on the left is to the store. On the right upstairs.
Living room space
The ceiling above living room space
Beautiful floors throughout
A lovely brick arch left intact
One of the bathrooms
Bookcases along a hallway
A dining space
View out a bedroom window unto the street below

Photographs of the second ‘above the store’ living later this week.

After keeping me company on Main Street, you get it that there is something at stake here that goes beyond the obstacles to grace Main Street can encounter. This quote says it better than I can.

“The current passion for reuse might be explained by sustainability or fashion but, most importantly, it affords a sense of history and texture, taking advantage of buildings already embedded in cities. They are buildings with atmosphere, history, and stories inscribed in their fabric. And sometimes sustainability isn’t just about the energy and materials saved but about the stories, craft and intelligence embodied in its walls.”                                        -Paul Miles – The Financial Times