Greensboro City Council members aired grievances about the management of a planned supportive housing initiative at Tuesday’s meeting, as project partners Step Up on Second and Slate Property Group shared a proposal to expand the long-delayed project.

In the weeks before the meeting, Step Up was named in a major lawsuit out of the state of California. And Slate Property Group again missed a deadline to close on the property on the site of the former Regency Inn – the motel was originally set to be converted into housing for the chronically homeless in April of 2023.

Leaders of Step Up and Slate did acknowledge the delays in their remarks to the council on Tuesday. But they also proposed widening the scope of the project. 

“We really want to consider and explore the ability to deliver some additional density of housing units here, in order to help make the overall project economically viable,” said Brian Vetter, with Slate Property Group.

Vetter pitched creating a 200-unit mixed-use development on the site, rather than just 58 units of supportive housing. The idea didn’t seem to land with Councilmember Sharon Hightower. 

“It just seems like we've been sold on a promise. And it's not being delivered,” said Hightower. "And I'm just very concerned about this. It needs to wrap up quickly, one way or the other.”

The criticism was echoed by Councilmember Zack Matheny, who posed questions about the timeline and budget. 

“I've never seen anything as poorly facilitated as this project,” he said.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan addressed the setbacks, but said other ideas hadn't surfaced. 

“I would say at this point, nobody's come up with an alternative plan. Has this not worked out well? No, it hasn't worked out well,” said Vaughan. “But nobody's come forward with a new option."

Vaughan said the city had completed a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the project. 

“And Step Up was the only ones who responded," she said. "So it's not like we didn't go out to get other ideas on what to do with this property. There was an RFP, this is what we got.”

Her statement appeared to be in conflict with comments made by Housing and Neighborhood Development Director Michelle Kennedy in May 2023. She told council then that no RFP had been completed “because there are a very limited number of organizations that do this nationally.”

Council opted to table further discussion about the expansion until its February 20 meeting, when developers are expected to present a timeline for the plan. 

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