Chapel Hill executes development contract, ground lease for Tanyard Branch Trace

Rendering courtesy of the Town of Chapel Hill.


By Adam Powell

A Chapel Hill affordable housing project six years in the making is nearing completion. The Chapel Hill Town Council has voted to execute a development contract with the Taft-Mills Group for the construction of the Tanyard Branch Tract affordable housing community.

The Council also voted on June 5  to execute a ground lease with Tanyard Branch Trace LLC for a town-owned parcel of land within the community at 110 Jay St.

The agreements will allow for the construction of 48 affordable apartments, ranging from one to three bedrooms, over the next year and a half.

Tanyard Branch Trace will serve residents living below 60 percent of the area’s median income for Chapel Hill. Twenty-five of the units—25 % in total—will serve residents living below 30 percent of the area median income.

“The project is approved, financed, and the developer already has site control,” said Sarah Viñas, the Town of Chapel Hill’s affordable housing and community connections director. “Once the project secures its final permitting, executes needs agreements and closes on funding, the team hopes to begin construction by the fall of 2024.”

Amenities for the neighborhood will include a walking path, a clubhouse and a dedicated public access to the adjacent Tanyard Branch Trail.

Tanyard Branch Trace will be geared toward workforce homeowners and renters, including nurses, UNC employees and school teachers.

That’s according to Community Home Trust, a local affordable housing advocacy organization working with the Town of Chapel Hill on the project.  Housing units typically sell for 30 to 50 percent below the typical market value for similar properties.

At the June 5 meeting, the council approved both the development agreement and the ground lease, 7-0.

“I’m really excited about this project. I’m really happy to move forward with it,” said council member Camille Berry.

“We’re excited,” reiterated mayor Jessica Anderson. “We are excited for another ribbon cutting.”

The current timeline calls for a groundbreaking ceremony following the formal securing of permitting and the closing of the property later this summer.

Construction is expected to take about a year.

“This summer the development team will secure all permits, execute these agreements and close on town funding,” Viñas said. “Construction will begin by fall, and the units should be fully leased by the winter of 2026.”

The Tanyard Branch Trace project’s roots go back to 2018, when Chapel Hill’s council prioritized the Jay Street site for affordable housing.

Adam Powell is a reporter on local news and sports and an education communications professional. A 2001 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, Powell has served as managing editor of multiple local publications, including the Mebane Enterprise, News of Orange County and The public information officer for Rockingham County Schools in Eden, N.C., Powell is the author of four books and lives in Mebane with his wife and two children. This reporter can be reached at Info@TheLocal

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