CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — In the five years since the last Charleston Market-Rate Housing Needs report was done, the Charleston Area Alliance says not much has changed, except for a greater increase of higher-income households that are looking for downtown type housing.
The organization now has its eye on bringing developers to downtown, which they say has enough walkability, potential properties, and tax cuts to attract them.
Susie Salisbury with the Charleston Area Alliance points to the Park View Lofts, which sold in record time at $200,000 and above per unit, as well as the Atlas Building, currently in development, as examples of the type of housing they want in the downtown area.
Their target demographic for these condos aren’t families.
“Millenials and then the senior housing, the folks who are empty nesters and don’t want to mow lawns anymore,” said Salisbury.
Residents will tell you housing in the downtown area is desired but tough to come by.
“My wife and I have been looking trying to find some kind of condo downtown that makes sense for us now for a couple of years and we’ve looked at a couple, put a bid in on one actually, and then it fell through in terms of how much it was going to cost to remodel it and stuff so we’re still looking,” said one resident 13 News spoke with.
The report says 424 units are needed in downtown in the next five years.
The study, which was commissioned by the Charleston Area Alliance and done by an Ohio-based consulting group also found that 47,000 people commute into Charleston every day.
Salisbury says if they can capture even 1% of that, they’d help fill the housing gap in Charleston, which stands at just over 96%.
“Like West Virginia, the City of Charleston is going to continue to lose population, however, the downtown itself they’re estimating is going to grow in population as long as we can provide the housing to keep the residents here,” she said.