Affordable Asheville Highway apartments will reinvent run-down hotel property
Growing up, Carl Lansden would often pass the Holiday Inn on Asheville Highway on his way to see his grandparents a mile and a half down the road.
When the family came from out of town, they often stayed in the now run-down motel. It was always an opportunity for Lansden to swim in the motel pool.
“I came here 2,000 times a year,” the developer, known for restoring historic homes, told Knox News.
After purchasing the property at 4625 Asheville Highway for $ 575,000 in 2017, Lansden obtained the tax credits and tax support to fund his $ 20.2 million redevelopment. The motel property is located in Town Hall East, just northeast of Burlington.
The motel will be demolished to make way for The Ammons at Asheville Highway, an 80-unit apartment complex. Dubbed “housing for the workforce,” The Ammons will charge below market rents. It aims to provide an affordable living environment for workers.
Knoxville residents need affordable rental options. A study published by Stessa earlier this year found that the median rent in the Knoxville metro area has increased from $ 1,251 in March 2020 to $ 1,361 in March 2021, an increase of 8.8%.
âWith a plot this size (near) Burlington, I think it’s going to be, it’s such a big project, especially with what’s going on with Amazon and East Towne (Mall) and all that,â Lansden said. . “It’s going to bring more goods and services, restaurants and things of that nature here.”
What is âworkforce housingâ?
Named after Lansden’s grandparents Gladys and Hugh Ammons, who were active members of the neighborhood, The Ammons will consist of four apartment buildings with 28 two-bedroom units and 52 three-bedroom units. Each apartment will have two bathrooms and a laundry area.
The 6.8-acre property will include a business center, dog park, and dog wash.
Workforce housing, according to national research firm Brookings Institute, is housing for households earning too much to qualify for traditional affordable housing grants such as US Department of Urban Development bonds.
The term is controversial because it implies that the poorest households that receive subsidies are not employed, so some experts call it âmiddle income housingâ.
To be eligible for residency at The Ammons, households will need to earn less than 60% of the average median income. The interim monthly rent will be approximately $ 1,060 per month for a three bedroom and $ 829 per month for a two bedroom.
âIt’s your, it’s your waitress, it’s your mechanic,â Lansden said of future tenants.
There are many reasons to invest in housing for middle income residents. It increases the tax base and reduces “the socio-economic isolation of low-income downtown households”, according to a 2010 study.
This prevents these people from relocating to neighboring counties or towns cheaply, and these people are spending money locally on groceries, entertainment, and other goods.
The project receives a $ 2 million grant from the City of Knoxville Affordable Housing Fund. The city has already contributed to projects such as Southside Flats, Restoration House, Middlebrook Gardens, Mineral Springs Apartments and Burlington Commons.
The administration of Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon has designated $ 8.1 million to support affordable housing in the 2021-2022 budget. The Affordable Housing Fund is a commitment of $ 50 million over the next 10 years, according to a press release from the city.
âThat donut hole in the budget was around $ 2 million,â Lansden said. “So the city of Knoxville came to the table, investing in that, in housing the workforce, that has helped tremendously.”
The Holiday Inn property had many owners
Lansden originally planned to restore the Holiday Inn to affordable one-bedroom seniors’ accommodation. But one bedroom doesn’t generate enough income, and the motel, built in the 1950s, was too far away.
Lansden is perhaps best known for saving the Cooper D. Schmitt house from demolition by moving the 19th century house to Fort Sanders to new land. He restored historic residences in Old North Knox and Fourth and Gill. This is his first multi-family project.
He has a partner with experience in commercial real estate and affordable housing in Capital of the South-East. Based in Knoxville, the company has developed Burlington Commons, a 59,000 square foot, 50 unit low-income apartment complex with on-site playground and community laundry facilities.
Holiday Inn ownership has changed hands several times over the years. It was sold to Lucky Inns of America in 1947, according to property records. In 2005, its neighbor Chilhowee Hills Baptist Church purchased the property. In 2013, it belonged to Freedom Christian Academy before changing hands again before Lansden bought it.
âGrowing up in this neighborhood is very rewarding,â said Lansden. “It works for investors. It works for unions, for developers and most importantly for tenants.”
The demolition of the motel was scheduled to begin in late October and will take approximately 30 days. The construction process will take 16 to 18 months, Lansden estimated.
Davie Construction is the contractor and Emerald Housing Management will oversee the community. R. Len Johnson and Associates is the architect.
Next, Lansden is planning a market-priced multi-family property in West Knoxville and an RV park in Sevier County.
Growth and Development Editor-in-Chief Brenna McDermott can be reached at [email protected] Follow his work on Twitter @_BrennaMcD. Support our local information efforts by become a Knox News subscriber.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Knoxville Apartments: Affordable Housing Near Burlington En Route