Charleston, South Carolina, the home of the U.S. flag, is home to a handful of national and international landmarks.
Its downtown skyline is one of the most impressive in the nation, but its streets are filled with many other sights that are a bit of a novelty for those who have never set foot in one.
That is, until now.
With more than $300 million in investment capital pouring into the city in recent years, it is one step closer to becoming the first city in the United States to offer private rental units.
The Charleston Development Corporation is aiming to sell all its property, including the buildings that line its main drag and the city’s historic center, by the end of the year.
The first units will be priced between $1,400 and $2,300 per month, and will be located on the first floor of the buildings.
“We’re really excited about this,” said Sarah Mather, president of Charleston Development.
“This is going to be a unique opportunity for our residents and for our visitors to visit.”
The goal is to create affordable rental units for people who can’t afford to rent in a city where rents have been rising for years.
Mather said that for a single adult, rent for the first year will be $2.33 an hour, and for a family of four it will be at $3.45 an hour.
The city has also made its buildings more attractive by installing new street lighting and making them more walkable.
“There are a lot of people that want to live downtown,” Mather told Vice News.
“Charleston is an exciting city.
But, when it comes to the future, we really have to look at how we want to go forward.”
Mather is confident that the city can take its development momentum to the next level.
She said that while many cities in the country have experienced a boom in property values in recent decades, Charleston is taking the opportunity to become the first to provide a safe and affordable option for those in need.
“I’m not trying to sell people on the idea that they should buy here, I’m just trying to show that you can live here, rent here and build a career,” she said.
“It’s a place that is great for the community to live and work.”
The city is also working on creating an alternative to the public housing program, which offers vouchers to low-income people who want to move out of their current housing situation.
For example, if a family can afford $1 million for a two-bedroom apartment, they can apply for vouchers to buy a two bedroom condo for $2 million, or for a one bedroom condo to rent for $1.5 million.
Charleston also announced that it will work with a nonprofit organization, the Charlotte Housing and Economic Development Partnership, to help build affordable housing.
“The city of Charleston is in the middle of a major transition,” Mary said.
She described it as a “big opportunity” that will “make this a great place to live.”
She said the city plans to open up more of its properties to renters, and to offer vouchers to help those who want more flexibility and are unable to live in the traditional public housing housing system.
The new affordable housing units will go up in the city, but the city also plans to expand the number of affordable housing available to people who don’t have the means to buy on their own.
“Our city is changing and we want it to stay that way,” Maven said.