NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A plan to bring affordable housing to the Salemtown community took a step forward during Tuesday night’s Metro Council meeting.

The council approved the specific plan zoning request for 1622 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard, paving the way for the five-story building.

Based on the plans, the first floor would house the non-profit service group, Inspiritus, which already has a presence in Nashville. The top four floors would hold up to 95 affordable residential units, marketed to senior citizens.  

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“If you were trying to buy a house in Salemtown right now, the price points even from 15 years ago are just staggeringly higher,” said Metro Council Member Freddie O’Connell, District 19. “I think it’s really important for a community to be able to embrace having some new neighbors.”

The lot, on the corner of Rosa L. Parks Boulevard and Garfield Street, currently holds St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. The church will come down in the process, but O’Connell, who’s leading the project, said Inspiritus will carry on much of the church’s mission.

“Inspirius wants to be here, they want to continue the services they’ve already been offering for years,” said O’Connell.

The church’s pastor told News 2 he’s agreed to close the church due to declining membership.

O’Connell said the project is in a location that will connect residents to the nearby interstate, parks, and grocery stores.

“From walkability, transit access, community amenities, and the fact that otherwise, this neighborhood is actually losing affordability, it makes a lot of sense,” said O’Connell.

The council member said he did hear some concerns from community members regarding the project’s timing, scale and reduced access to the neighborhood’s alleyway. He said those concerns were addressed in the approved amendments from Tuesday, Jan. 17.

“I’m not going to say we had everybody excited for it, but we did have a lot of community support for it,” said O’Connell.

Over the coming months, the developers will create final plans and renderings that will be shared and discussed with the community.