NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN)- It’s no secret that rent in Nashville continues to rise. On Tuesday, before the Metro City Council meeting, community advocates rallied against the rezoning of what was known as River Chase Apartments.
It was a cry for change.
“What happened at River Chase Apartments was a tragedy, a travesty, and it’s something that we can’t allow to happen again here in Nashville,” said one man.
As residents chanted, “When I say housing you say now,” while inside the Metro courthouse, council members prepared to take a vote on approving the rezoning project for the River Chase Apartments.
One woman came forward during the rally, revealing her struggles to maintain a job and afford to stay in Nashville. She said, “I work at the VA. I get a decent paycheck every two weeks. I should be able to afford a decent place to live.”
The plans have been years in the making, transforming and redeveloping the area. With it, the company Cypress Real Estate Advisors (CREA) plans on taking the originally 57 subsidized units and turning them into 225 units. However, the project has been receiving pushback from community members.
“We have got to do something to make sure that all families are secure. I heard someone say that housing is a right, and they are absolutely right,” said one man.
The private project is projected to be a model for future private residential development, according to CREA. The company stated, “the agreement with the Urban League is the first of its kind on private land in Nashville that provides quality affordable housing without requiring public funding. It offers a roadmap to help the community forward with a very difficult problem.”
On Tuesday, construction continued at the development, as crews tore down existing structures. This came, as advocates with Stand-Up Nashville call the River Chase Apartments, a casualty of Nashville’s growing population.
“Of course we want Nashville to grow, but what about the people who grew Nashville to what it is now? You have forgotten about the people who put their blood, sweat, and tears into what is Nashville,” said Nathanial Carter with Stand-Up Nashville.
In an email from CREA to the vice mayor and Metro council members, the company detailed its plans for the development and hoped to end misinformation and confusion about the proposal. The company claims they had given residents a year’s notice before they had to move out and offered them more than $2,000 to help with the cost of living somewhere else.
“A lot of them feel like the city had failed them, and in my eyes the city did fail these families because you got to think, if you ask somebody for three times their rent, these families don’t have three times the rent to move into a new place,” explained Carter.
Still, some believe affordable housing is slowly disappearing, and are demanding Metro Council take action.