As new Durham police HQ is built, ideas floated about current site

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — As construction continues for the Durham police department’s new headquarters, there are discussions about what will happen to the old site.

Once the department moves in fall 2018, the city of Durham will no longer have a purpose for the downtown land.

One idea is to convert the area into affordable housing.

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“Affordable housing is a big issue here,” said Don Moffitt, a Durham city councilman. “We’ve done the studies. We know there’s thousands of people paying more for housing than they can afford.”

Moffitt says more affordable housing is needed.

More than 900 people participated in a recent survey about what do to with the land on West Chapel Hill Road. More than half think housing is the best, or second best, option for the area.

The city says results were almost split on whether the building should stay or go.

“One of the questions that have to be resolved is, the building that’s there, should it be preserved,” said Moffitt. “Or, should it be replaced? Then there’s the rest of the site there in addition to that building.”

This city says a design with the existing building could create nearly $5 million in revenue for the city through 2038.

A design without the building, shows almost $17 million of revenue. Both options include affordable housing, open space, and office space.

“I think that they need to really carefully look at all of the possible uses of this site,” said Moffitt. “It is a key site between downtown and West Durham. It can be used in many different ways and probably ought to have a mix of uses on that, affordable housing being one of the important uses.”

The current options will be presented to the city council this week, but a decision will be made after the new council is sworn in on Dec. 4.

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