CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Like many people, Eric Applefield gets to and from places by driving. He has to, so he can get his young children to where they need to go.
But if Applefield has his way, driving may become less of a need.
He is the director of development for Grubb Properties, which is building Charlotte's first car-free residential complex.
It will have 104 units, five stories, and located in the Seversville neighborhood.
“The key to providing affordable housing is cutting costs. Parking costs are usually between [$15,000] to $20,000 per space that then gets passed on to the tenant,” Applefield says.
So, tenants will have to sign an agreement that they won't own a car.
If they do own one, they will face a penalty or potentially eviction.
The positive is the cost of rent being significantly less than what people are used to.
Of course, the other is the impact on the environment.
“This is in itself a necessary piece of the puzzle,” says Sustain Charlotte Program Coordinator Eric Zaverl.
Zaverl says in order for something like this to be replicated, the city will have to become more connected.
“This development is just one piece. Really, for people to buy in, all these pieces have to be put in place...it's still going to take several years from now,” Zaverl says.
That means having a city that is walkable and having consistent public transportation.
Getting to that point will take money from all levels of government and buy-in from private developers.
“You basically have to make the choice before you leave your house that it's just as easy, just as convenient, if not more so to bike, walk, or take the train. Right now that's not for most people a choice at all,” Zeverl says.
Applefield hopes this new complex could be a step in the right direction.
“I think our target audience is anyone who wants to live in a different lifestyle,” he says.
Grubb Properties hopes to have the project complete by 2022.