Marsh Properties donates nearly eight acres for mixed-income affordable housing

CHARLOTTE, N.C., October 9, 2018 – Market-rate apartment developer, Marsh Properties Inc. (“Marsh”), donated 7.8 acres to help make the financing model for DreamKey Partners’s proposed mixed-income rental housing development work. The donated land is at the corner of Freedom Drive and Camp Greene Street in west Charlotte and will house almost 200 affordable housing units.

“While we aren’t affordable housing developers, we believe it [affordable housing] is a community issue that takes community responses for community solutions,” said Jamie McLawhorn, president of Marsh Properties. The third-generation real estate and property management company has deep roots in the Charlotte community having been founded by family patriarch, Lex Marsh, in 1926. The elder Marsh began acquiring land after the Great Depression and held that land for future development.

The donation comes at a time when soaring land, construction materials and labor costs have made financing affordable housing much more difficult. The proposed development will consist of 185 units for families with incomes ranging from 30 percent to 80 percent of area median income (AMI) and will include market-rate units. This unique unit mix combined with free land, a low-interest equity investment and a long-term ground lease is the formula that makes an affordable housing deal like this possible in Charlotte’s current housing market.

Seventy percent of the total units will be affordable with rents for the one to three-bedroom units ranging from $348 to $900 per month for families at or below 60 percent of AMI. The proposed site on Freedom Drive adjoins a property with a new charter school and an existing grocery store, Compare Foods. There are multiple CATS bus stops within a quarter mile of the proposed development served by two prominent bus routes.

“A land donation is one of several ways that companies can help Charlotte solve its affordable housing problem,” said Fred Dodson, executive vice president of DreamKey Partners. “Financing these types of developments will always require capital resources but access to zero-cost basis land can go a long way towards making the numbers work.”

The Marsh land donation is a tax-deductible contribution for the company that will have a direct positive impact on the bottom line of the project. “The driving force for the donation was the collaboration of DreamKey Partners as a high-quality affordable housing developer and the other community organizations who made investments,” said McLawhorn.

ABOUT DreamKey Partners

DreamKey Partners is a broad-based, private, nonprofit housing development and financial corporation organized in 1988 to expand affordable and well-maintained housing and promote stable neighborhoods for low- and moderate-income families in the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The agency provides assistance to residents of its properties to more fully enter the economic mainstream and achieve independence. For more information, please visit

Leave a Reply