50-52 Coxe Avenue 

Opportunities for Public Input and Next Steps 

The County and DFI are now requesting community input on which plan, if any, best meets the public interests. At the in-person and virtual input sessions, the Buncombe community had the opportunity to review multiple options along with the level of public investment expected for each. Now, a survey is available for those that could not attend the public interests meeting. Click the button below to take the survey.

 

Coxe Avenue Property Survey Button

  

Following the community input sessions, DFI will summarize the feedback received and present the preferred options to the Board of Commissioners. The plan that is selected will then be shared with potential development partners, who will be asked to submit a proposal that outlines how their experience and approach will best help the County meet its goals for development of the site.  

 

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Background 

Buncombe County is continuing its work to transform underused County-owned properties into affordable housingThe County hired the Development Finance Initiative (DFI) at UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Government in September 2022 to help meet the County’s goal to deliver at least 1,500 affordable rental units for low- and moderate-income households by 2030.   

 

In March 2023, following the results of an initial evaluation of publicly-owned properties, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners prioritized 50-52 Coxe Avenue for development. DFI then began a pre-development process to identify public interests specific to this location. Those interests were then used to guide the development of conceptual plans that meet market needs, are compatible with the site and neighboring uses, and will stretch limited public resources by attracting private funding.  

 

Once a preferred plan is selected, the County will lead a competitive process to identify a qualified private development partner for each project. Development of the sites will occur only once important agreements that secure the public interests are executed between the County and its development partner(s).   

 

Coxe Avenue Site Map Outline

 

Guiding Public Interests 

In the first series of meetings with community members, Buncombe County worked with DFI to identify public interests specific to the site in order to guide development. A memo summarizing the feedback heard is available here. The following public interests were endorsed by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners in August of 2023: 

 

Development of the 50-52 Coxe Avenue site should: 

  • Maximize the number of new apartments affordable to low- and moderate-income households in a mixed income setting.  
  • Include active ground floor uses that serve residents and commuters and increase pedestrian traffic along Coxe Avenue.  
  • Maintain direct and safe access from Coxe Avenue to Church Street for pedestrians and cyclists. 
  • Balance maximum density and pedestrian-scale design that extends the vibrant, urban streetscape from Patton Avenue to the South Slope area.  
  • Attract as much private investment as possible in order to maximize the impact of public investment in affordable housing. 

 

DFI worked with the architecture firm McMillan Pazdan Smith (MPS) to explore the various ways the property could be developed given the public interests, physical site limitations, and local regulationsMPS created multiple plans including options with more or less residentials units of various designs and heights with commercial uses on the first floor. DFI then estimated the total construction cost for each scenario and estimated the sources of debt and equity funding that the private partner would likely be able to secure. With any development that restricts rents to keep those rents affordable, a funding gap is likely to exist once private or non-charitable sources, including Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity, are exhausted. The County’s potential investment in any project will be to fill the funding gap for the development of units that are reserved for low- and moderate-income households   

 

 Coxe Avenue Property Survey Button

Coxe Avenue Property Survey Button

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Do You Qualify for Housing Services in Buncombe County?

Determining household income is the first step in qualifying for housing services. Many housing services use income caps, based on federal Area Median Income (AMI) data, to ensure they help people who need the most assistance. Click here to use our AMI Calculator to see if you qualify for the needed program.