Biennial real estate plan proposes to allot parcels for affordable development, homeownership
Today, Mayor Stoney announced that the administration’s Biennial Real Estate Strategies Plan places an emphasis on using city land to promote affordable housing development and affordable homeownership.
The City of Richmond administration will present the 2020 Biennial Real Estate Strategies Plan to Richmond City Council at the body’s September 28 meeting. This year, the plan’s focus is using city real estate as a means to equitably increase affordable housing accessibility and homeownership opportunities throughout the city.
“A fervent sense of restorative justice should impact everything coming out of City Hall,” said Mayor Stoney. “The issuance of this plan might be standard, but the contents are uniquely dedicated to using the city’s assets to promote affordable housing and help our city recover from the setbacks of the pandemic.”
The plan lists 66 parcels of city-owned real estate throughout the city. Each parcel is categorized for one of three proposed uses.
The plan proposes the plurality of parcels be conveyed to the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust (MWCLT) for the development of affordable homes.
Number of Parcels
City to Maggie Walker Community Land Trust
Affordable multi-family rental units
City to non-profit affordable housing organizations through RFPs
Large-scale mixed-use and mixed-income development
City to developers through RFP (with commitment to affordable housing)
According to Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Economic and Community Development Sharon Ebert, who was hired by Mayor Stoney in 2019, the city should use available real estate holdings to promote equitable affordable housing development.
“To make housing affordable, we have to make the price of developing that housing affordable,” said DCAO Ebert. “If non-profit affordable housing developers have to pay market rate, that adds to the costs and makes it more challenging to serve lower-income residents. We can make city-owned land available at below-market rates for developers who share our commitment to affordable housing.”
The third group of parcels are proposed to host future large-scale mixed-use and mixed-income development. As such, some of these high-value parcels will be sold through a competitive RFP process to provide immediate cash proceeds to address CIP needs and result in important community benefits.
“We intentionally designed this plan for the conveyance of city-owned lands to increase affordable housing development, facilitate Black and brown homeownership through the MWCLT and provide a much-needed stimulus kick for the city’s CIP funds,” said Mayor Stoney of the plan.
City Code §8-56(c) requires that the Chief Administrative Officer provide a biennial real estate strategies plan consisting of recommendations for the sale and disposition of city-owned parcels of real estate to Richmond City Council every even year.
Once the plan is presented, the administration will introduce legislation to move forward with elements of the plan. Any conveyances of city-owned land do require approval by ordinance of City Council.
Below is a timeline of eviction diversion and affordable housing action items in since Mayor Stoney hosted the Affordable Housing and Community Development Summit.
November 2017 – Affordable Housing and Community Development Summit
January 2019 – Founding of the first of its kind in the Commonwealth Eviction Diversion Program
March 2019 – City hires in a permanent capacity Sharon Ebert, DCAO of Economic and Community Development
August 2019 – City team began work on the Equitable and Affordable Housing Plan
August – December 2019 – City team meets with stakeholders to develop plan
January 2020 – Mayor Stoney notes that the city is on track to meet its goal of 1500 affordable units by the end of 2020 and mentions Equitable Affordable Housing Plan (delayed due to pressing needs brought on by the pandemic)
Spring 2020 – City dedicates roughly 14M to rent relief, eviction diversion and emergency shelter beds to manage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
September 2020 – Stoney administration introduced ordinance to earmark funds for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, presents Equitable Affordable Housing Plan to City Council