A potential buyer for Crystal Towers — a public housing building in downtown Winston-Salem that provides housing to the elderly and people with disabilities — has been revealed.

But this sale is far from final.

The Housing Authority of Winston-Salem, or HAWS, says the Arden Group is the prospective buyer. The real estate development company is led by Stuart Parks, who manages assets for a fleet of car dealerships across the Carolinas.

But acquiring Crystal Towers is not as easy as signing on the dotted line. The deal has to be approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and supported by the city — support that the housing authority currently doesn't have.

One reason? City leaders are wary that the sale would add to the dearth of affordable housing in the area. Officials also say they fear residents being left with nowhere to go. According to federal policy, residents cannot be displaced.

Larry Woods, CEO of HAWS, says tenants will be given protection vouchers.

“They can take that voucher and move into a different part of the city, versus me saying ‘You must move into Cleveland or Sunrise,'" says Woods. "They could take that voucher and move into another city or state. But no one will find themselves being destitute or homeless."

Officials from HAWS say if residents have to move, there will be a case management process.

Funds obtained from the sale of Crystal Towers, with some minor exceptions, have to be used to either acquire or construct new property.

Eddie Garcia: garciaea@wfu.edu

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