Project Backer: Enough Pie
We are all aware of the affordability issues in Charleston — particularly around the need for affordable housing. Enough Pie also believes there is a significant need for affordable commercial space for local businesses, artists, and creative industry. We believe the area of the upper peninsula is the ideal geography to implement progressive and inclusive policies. We have applied the model of affordable housing to commercial space, where a developer is incentivized to set aside 15 percent of the square footage of a project for rent-controlled space targeted to community and creative businesses. Currently we are working with the City of Charleston on a draft ordinance to put this policy in place.
The stakeholders are all local, creative, community and minority owned business owners who need affordable space to operate their businesses and organizations. Affordable “Main Street” storefronts and studio space will continue to add vibrancy to the area of the upper peninsula and show the City’s support of our community assets.
HURDLES + CHALLENGES
Convincing developers that this is a worthwhile incentive. We plan to pilot the program at 1600 Meeting Street to show that not only does it make economic sense to promote affordability within a new development project, but it also supports the community in ways that will continue to add value and diversity in perpetuity.
Currently we are in discussions with the Local Development Corporation to ensure that the proper qualifications are in place for business owners interested in applying for the affordable space. It is important that the incentive helps those it is targeting like community services businesses and minority-owned businesses while also providing a developer with viable and diverse tenants. We would also like to work with the SC Community Loan Fund and others who are interested in supporting affordability for everyone.