Rent's Rising Along Light Rail

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by Kirk Hawkins

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Marie Gillespie might pay the fare to ride the Lynx Blue Line each and every day to work Uptown but when it comes to living in the new apartments along the tracks, she doesn't think it's fair. "I'd love myself to be in one but I can't afford the price range that they have," Gillespie.

60% of 4,000 new apartment units under construction in South End are within a 15 minute walk of the light rail where average rent is $982 a month compared to a city average of $638 per month.

"It's hard to be all things to all people and promote new development and the rejuvenation of areas that are declining," said Ken Szymanski, the Executive Director of the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association, "You can't please all the people all the time in cities. But, nevertheless the city is conscious of that," Szymanski said.

Charlotte City Council approved a Density Bonus. It lets developers build more units than current zoning allows if they set aside lower income housing. Gillespie hopes it will eventually help her make a move to live closer to the light rail that serves as her life line. "I love it, I love it. The only thing I wish they would do is expand it. That would be a blessing to me...and I know a blessing to other people," said Gillespie.

CATS hopes to begin construction of the LYNX Blue Line extension in Northeast Charlotte in 2014.
It is scheduled to open in 2017.

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