City + Citizen News

Podcast: An in-depth conversation on Oakview Apartments and the Northside

Wednesday, August 27

Tearing down outdated housing complex is crucial piece of Northside Initiative


As you may have read in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal this past Sunday, Oakview Apartments has one of the highest concentrations of poverty and crime in our city. Inside the cinderblock walls of the property's 105 units, 75 percent of residents earn less than $5,000 per year and live in conditions one resident described as "one step up from being homeless." Tearing down this barracks-style low income apartment complex on Howard Street and replacing it with a new community center has long been a central piece of the Northside Initiative, but before that can happen, the property and the privately-owned, publicly-subsidized housing complex that sits on it has to be purchased.


Oakview's owner, Related Properties, is principally owned by Stephen Ross, the multi-billionaire owner of the Miami Dolphins. Despite City estimates that value the property at roughly $600,000, Related's price is $2.5 million, far more than the Northside Development Group, the City, or any of our other partners on the Northside are willing or able to pay. The result being that, for now at least, some of what is planned for the Northside is being held up.


Why is there such a large discrepancy between the price Related is asking and the City's estimate for the property's value? Why is the Oakview Apartments property so important to the future of the Northside Initiative? Today on the podcast, we're talking with Northside Development Group Project Manager Curt McPhail and Assistant City Manager Chris Story to get a deeper understanding of the issues at play. Listen below for more.


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Podcast music provided by Spartanburg singer-songwriter, David Ezell.