A unanimous rezoning vote on the Winston-Salem City Council Monday night cleared the way for a major redevelopment project in East Winston that is expected to bring 325 new housing units east of U.S. 52 near the downtown Innovation Quarter.
Apartments, townhouses and retail and office development are now approved for a seven-acre site just east of United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church and stretching from Third to Fifth Street.
Mayor Allen Joines is calling the project one that can achieve a long-stated goal of city leaders to extend the benefits of the Innovation Quarter to a nearby majority-Black neighborhood that’s also in need of more decent yet affordable housing.
“We believe this mix of quality, affordable housing, health-related services and workforce training will have a beneficial and sustainable economic impact on the entire region,” Joines said in a letter he wrote to support the project.
Liberty Atlantic Development Partners, the company that is spearheading the development, said on its website that the new complex would be called Metropolitan Village, and that one of the development goals would be to “attract critical health services to the community with the goal of producing healthy outcomes and inspiring healthy behaviors.”
East Ward Council Member Annette Scippio hailed the proposed development as the first major step in carrying out what is called the East End Master Plan.
That plan aims to increase the neighborhood’s supply of both retail and residential development, while retaining its character as one of the city’s significant Black neighborhoods.
“Tonight is a wonderful occasion,” Scippio said. “This is the very first major part of bringing that East End Master Plan vision to life. It is a phenomenal project.”
Here is what the site plan calls for:
*Two four-story buildings on the northern half of the site fronting Fifth Street and Fourth Street, with 265 residential units and the potential for office and other commercial uses on the ground floor.
*A commercial and office building would be on the western end of a section of the southern portion of the site.
*The southern portion of the site would also have three three-story townhouse buildings with 60 residential units.
*A mid-block courtyard park along Fourth Street would provide an attractive vista at the south end of Highland Avenue.
A corporation formed from United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church has been working on the redevelopment project for several years. The apartment complex, now called Garden Court Apartments, has only three apartment buildings that are occupied. The other nine buildings on the property are boarded up.
The Rev. Alvin Armstead Jr., pastor of United Metropolitan, said in a letter of support for the redevelopment that a development committee associated with the church picked Liberty Atlantic to carry out the development and found the company experienced in working with churches and low-income communities.
Armstead said Liberty Atlantic is a minority-owned real estate company based in Charlotte.
The Liberty Atlantic web site has an artist’s depiction of a new building on the site. The company says the project will target “graduate students, essential workers, transitioning veterans and the local workforce” as tenants.
The company says office space associated with the project will optimize remote learning and working.
Assistant City Manager Tasha Ford said the Metropolitan Village project can start putting a dent in the city’s shortage of more than 16,000 housing units for low-income residents, and that the project can also “help bridge the economic and social divide between Innovation Quarter and the neighboring community of East End.”