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New 6-storey Winston-Salem Residential Tower

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New 6-storey residential tower planned for downtown

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By Mary Giunca

JOURNAL REPORTER

The Goler-Depot Renaissance Community Development Corp. has received an $8.8 million grant from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development to build a housing complex for seniors at the corner of Sixth and Chestnut streets.

"We see this as the tipping point for a lot of the things we're going to be doing in our plan," Michael Suggs, the chairman of the board of directors, said.

The CDC has worked to build a $50 million community in part of downtown that was once a bustling black neighborhood and business district. The orga-nization has acquired 30 parcels of land spread over 10 acres. The planned community will be a mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood.

The six-story complex will have 79 one-bedroom apartments, which will offer independent living for people age 62 and older. Some support services will be available for residents through community agencies.

Construction on the complex will begin next year, and the CDC hopes to move in its first residents in 2006.

The federal financing is authorized under the National Housing Act, which supports housing for low-income elderly.

Applying for HUD money is competitive, said Sandra Jennings, the assistant vice president of the N.C. Housing Foundation, which co-sponsored the project with the CDC.

The complex is part of a larger effort in the old Depot Street neighborhood that has been quietly taking shape.

Over the summer, four Goler Heights Townhouses went on the market.

The Craver apartments, which are next to the townhouses, are on the National Register of Historic Places and will be renovated as housing for people who are saving to buy homes. Construction on that building will begin next year. Goler Memorial will build a sanctuary and activity center.

Lofts will be built in the old 1940 Brown & Williamson Building across from the site of the senior complex, where the CDC has its offices.

The initial plans took root in 1997 when members of Goler Memorial AME Zion Church voted to remain downtown ra-ther than build a church on land that it owned on Waterworks Road. The CDC grew from that decision.

Suggs said that much of the focus of downtown revitalization has been on attracting young people, but that older people have a role to play there as well.

"These folks are going to shop downtown," he said. "They're going to buy downtown. They're the group that will bring downtown back."

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