COUNTY APPROVES BUYING PART OF FLOOD-PRONE DORAL APARTMENTS
Charlotte, NC – Two big steps taken, one more to go in Mecklenburg County's effort to buy and tear down a section of the often-flooded Doral Apartments. The apartment complex owner has agreed to a sales price and the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners approved the purchase during the July 6, 2010 meeting. Once remaining legal issues are resolved and tenants are relocated, the County is expected to take ownership of half of the Doral Apartments later this year.
The first big step was in October 2009, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced it would provide a $3.5 million grant to help Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services pay for the Doral project. The second step was completed last night, when the Board of County Commissioners approved the signed purchase offer. The final big step would be the formal real estate closing anticipated before the end of 2010.
The Doral Apartments on Monroe Road has 264 apartment units. The 20-acre site is in the Briar Creek floodplain. The apartment complex was built in 1966, before floodplains were mapped and before local ordinances were passed to regulate development in floodplains. Many of Doral's buildings flooded six times in the past 15 years, with more than four feet of floodwater in some first-floor units. From 1995 to 2010, flood damage at the Doral Apartments exceeded $8 million.
The County plans to buy 132 apartment units in 19 buildings closest to Briar Creek. Of those units, 64 on the ground floor have not been repaired or occupied since damaged by flooding in August 2008. Anyone living in the apartments purchased by the County will receive relocation assistance before the County takes ownership. The County plans to demolish the apartments it buys and return the floodplain land to open space. The remaining 132 apartment units closest to Monroe Road will continue to operate under private ownership.
"Even in difficult economic times, it's important to continue investing in projects that reduce flood risk and make our community more resilient," said Tim Trautman, program manager for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services. "This investment will protect lives and property. It will save local, state and federal money by reducing flood damage and the need for disaster response and recovery."
In 2008, Mecklenburg County bought the Cavalier Apartments directly across Briar Creek and tore down the entire complex. With the planned purchase of Doral, the County will own a 28-acre section of land surrounding Briar Creek. The property will be preserved as green space to store excess floodwater and create water quality features. Long-range plans may include expanding the greenway system or Chantilly Park.
Total estimated cost: $4.7 million
Approximate cost share: 75% federal ($3.5 million)
25% Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water fees ($1.2 million)
Cost includes: Purchasing 8.4 acres of land and 132 apartment units ($3.1 million)
Relocating families and demolition ($1.6 million)
Since 2000, Storm Water Services' Floodplain Buyout Program has purchased more than 200 properties along five local creeks, moving 400 families away from high risk areas. The floodplain is restored as open space, often with greenway trails and with water quality features to remove pollutants from storm water runoff.
# # # #
For additional information contact:
Tim Trautman, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services, at 704-336-7357