2 affordable housing complexes near downtown Raleigh will stay affordable

The new owner of two affordable housing complexes in east Raleigh plans to renovate the apartments and continue to accept federal housing vouchers for at least 20 more years.

Steele Properties paid $15.7 million for Raleigh North and Millbank Court, both off of Raleigh Boulevard about three miles east of downtown. On Wednesday, the company announced it will spend $11 million to renovate the complexes and combine them under the name Raleigh Millbank.

Alan Izzo, the project manager for Steele, said the company is a “mission-driven” developer that specializes in rehabilitating older affordable housing complexes.

“We look forward to delivering what I understand is a long, long overdue rehabilitation for these apartments,” Izzo said.

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The Raleigh area has been losing affordable housing complexes as developers buy them with plans to make upgrades and charge market-rate rents. Residents of Wintershaven and the Sir Walter Apartments downtown have to find new homes in the coming years as the properties’ contracts expire for federal Section 8 vouchers.

The need for more affordable housing has been a focal point for Raleigh and Wake County leaders, and it was a hot-button issue in this fall’s race for Raleigh mayor.

Steele will spend nearly $50,000 on upgrades to each of the 229 apartments at Raleigh Millbank, Izzo said. Interior renovations are set to begin in January, and exterior work will begin later this year.

Izzo said Steele will pay for the current residents to stay in hotels while the work is being done.

Steele received about $20 million in tax-exempt bonds from the North Carolina Housing Finance agency and a $1.1 million federal tax credit to finance the project.

Gargan: 919-829-4807; @hgargan

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