WINSTON-SALEM -- Plans to tear down and replace apartments built in the postwar building boom are running into opposition in Winston-Salem's Ardmore neighborhood.
The Parsonage family has lived in Ardmore Terrace Apartments for a couple of years.
"They're nice, reasonably priced, it's nice having all the old trees around,’’ said Ben Parsons.
Along with the Cloverdale Apartments, they were built in the post-World War II housing boom. About 350 units total are part of the Ardmore Neighborhood's Historic District.
"This is been here for over 50 years, and it is part of the community, and in fact, it's a very important part of the community,’’ said Winston-Salem City Councilman Dan Besse.
The owners are looking at redeveloping the properties. One of the co-developers says they're obsolete and in need of major repairs.
"There's asbestos in the buildings. There's lead-based paint in most of the apartments," said Robin Team with Carolina Investment Properties. "There would have to be significant rewiring done, all the buildings would need new roofs. They all need new HVAC systems.”
Some folks who live in the apartments and others in Ardmore want the buildings preserved. The owners say it's not cost effective.
"Those repairs are very expensive and will not appreciable effect the value of the property nor would it cause the property to lease for any more income," said Team.
Because of their history, some see the apartments as part of the fabric of the area, but there's also a feeling that they fill a real need in the community.
Folks who live at the apartments can walk to work at Wake Forest Medical Center or other nearby businesses. There’s also a shopping center and grocery store right across Cloverdale Avenue.
"You get something here that is in short supply, increasingly in short supply in our community, well located, affordable, workforce housing," said Besse.
The project’s developers and owners think that that responsibility lies elsewhere.
“The ability to provide that affordable housing would be certainly be the responsibility of a municipal government,'' said Team.
Developers are looking at keeping some of the buildings, but some want the whole project preserved.
"It is nice to have the history around. It's also getting a lot harder to find actual affordable housing around here,’’ said Parsons.
Developers are negotiating with the city over two proposals.
One would replace the apartments with about 370 units. The other would require rezoning and would include mixed use with street level retail on Cloverdale Avenue.