According to an item on today’s agenda, Charlotte City Council may approve the purchase and demolition of a motel and replace it with affordable housing.
The 4.5-acre property, on which an Economy Inn sits, is worth $4.2 million. The motel is located in District 1, which Charlotte City Council Member Dante Anderson represents.
Economy Inn and another motel on the property, Budget Inn, are owned by property management companies Mara Enterprises and Rising Tides. Economy Inn is within walking distance north of Charlotte neighborhood Hidden Valley.
Marjorie Parker, the president of Hidden Valley Community Association, said many Hidden Valley residents are excited about the possibility of the city tearing the hotel down due to the crime in the area. In the last six months, 485 crimes have been reported in the area where the Economy Inn and Budget Inn motels are located, according to the city’s Crime Map.
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According to the agenda for an upcoming city council meeting, the city’s Spring 2020 Sugar Creek/85 Design Sprint and 2022 Sugar Creek Playbook suggested “reducing the number of motel rooms” in the area to decrease the number of violent crimes. It would be a welcomed change, Parker said.
“I think we may have quite a few people show up [to the city council meeting],” Parker said. Parker has lived in Hidden Valley for 48 years. She and her husband moved to the neighborhood in 1977 and raised their children there. Parker said crime started to become an issue in the community around the 1990s.
Efforts to improve Reagan Drive — where the motels are located — in Sugar Creek have been ongoing. Around the start of the pandemic, Parker and other Hidden Valley residents walked from North Tryon Street to Reagan Drive to inventory what was in the area.
“Our job was to look at everything along that corridor and tell [city stakeholders] what should go and what should stay, what was an asset and what needed improvement,” Parker said. The purpose of this was to give their perspective to city officials on what changes could come to the neighborhood.
From there, Parker said she worked with community engagement managers for Corridors of Opportunity, Monica Holmes and Aisha Sabur, to get the concerns of the Hidden Valley residents before the city council. After years of clean-ups and meet-ups, Parker got the call she’d been waiting for.
“I feel like God is answering our prayer,” Parker said, noting that she plans to attend the meeting. “We’re just waiting in anticipation of [the purchase] going through and the first part of it getting done.”
WFAE reported the Economy Inn is home to 11 long-term residents. If the purchase is approved, Economic Development and Housing & Neighborhood Services, Crisis Assistance Ministries and the hotel management will work with residents of the motels to notify them of the motel purchase and find new housing according to the agenda.
Funds to purchase property will come, in part, from the Foundation for the Carolinas, according to the council’s agenda. The Mayor’s Racial Equity Initiative will contribute $1 million towards the demolition of the buildings, relocation of the current residents, and fencing and security for site redevelopment.
QCity Metro reached out to Mara Enterprises, owner of Budget Inn, and they had no comment on the matter. QCity Metro reached out to Rising Tides but was unable to make contact.