Greenville City Council approves ordinance that incentivizes converting hotels and motels to affordable housing


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- Greenville City Council passed an ordinance Monday that incentivizes developers to convert hotels and motels to affordable housing.

In the ordinance, “affordable housing” is defined as housing for renters at or below 80 percent of the area median income, which is $53,200 for a family of four. The ordinance would also require rent be less than 30 percent of those renters’ income.

Data shows a current demand for 15,000 affordable housing units in the Greenville area. City Council has added a new tool to get developers to help: allowing them to convert hotels and motels to residential living spaces– as long as they pledge to make at least a fifth of it affordable.

“That’s much easier or much more cost effective than building from the ground up,” said City Councilmember Dorothy Dowe. “It’s already there.”

Tina Belge with the Greenville Housing Fund said this is a win for renters and for owners of the hotels and motels struggling with vacancies because of Covid-19.

“While we can’t control those closures happening, what we can control is the solution for this vacancies that occurring in hotels and motels,” said Belge, who is the advocacy and community engagement manager for the Greenville Housing Fund.

The ordinance changes zoning rules, which allows for affordable housing in former hotels and motels to be built in major arteries in the city.

“It’s help connecting people to services, employment, education, the grocery store…going to the hospital,” she said.

The ordinance also allows hotels and motels to be converted if 30 percent of the units are converted to owner-occupied affordable housing for families at our below 100 percent of the area median income level.

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