When City Councilmember Sharon Hightower and City Councilmember Zack Matheny agree that a project has huge problems, you better believe the project has huge problems.
At the Greensboro City Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 6, both Hightower and Matheny had numerous questions about the latest proposal for the development of the Regency Inn property.
Few if any of those questions received responses that answered their questions.
Rewriting history is fairly common when a project goes awry, as this one has, and City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba did some significant revisions in his opening statement about the development of the Regency Inn property, which originally was going to be a motel conversion to a 58-unit permanent supportive housing facility for the homeless.
Jaiyeoba said, “Initially when the city acquired this site, the plan was to develop it into 58 permanent supportive housing units. From the beginning we have worked with both Step Up and the developer Slate in discussions about this approach.”
Two major revisions of what actually occurred are in that opening passage.
First, the city has not “acquired” the property. The City of Greensboro doesn’t own the property and has never owned the property. “Initially” the city agreed to loan Partnership Homes Inc. $3 million dollars to purchase the property and to make repairs so that the old motel could be used as a winter emergency shelter and then renovated for permanent supportive housing.
Partnership Homes purchased the property in November 2021, and it was used as an winter emergency shelter.
So, the second portion of that statement is also an example of revisionist history. “From the beginning” the City of Greensboro did not work with Step Up or Slate, because in the beginning the city funded and worked with Partnership Homes.
What has never been explained by the city is why Partnership Homes, which still owns the property, was pushed aside so the city could work with Step Up on Second Street, a nonprofit that the City Council was told specializes in motel conversions to provide housing for the homeless.
It is worth noting that Partnership Homes is headquartered in Greensboro and Step Up on Second Street is headquartered at 1328 Second St, Santa Monica, California.
One question Matheny asked that was answered was that Step Up is no longer involved in projects in Winston-Salem or in Asheville.
Both Matheny and Hightower in several different ways asked two questions that were never answered. What is the proposed timeline and how much is it going to cost the city?
Both also suggested that the city buy the property so that it would have control over its development.
The City Council decided to kick the can down the road for another two weeks and get more information on how the current proposal might work at the Feb. 20 City Council meeting.