Mixed Income Developments Panel

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live in a mixed income housing development? Are you curious as to how developers make the financials work, particularly in areas like Uptown where land costs are high? This panel discussion answers these questions and more about the challenges and successes of mixed income housing. FPC members Mark Etheridge and Drew Ludeke share their perspectives on living (and making a living) in such communities. They are joined by Lee Cochran from Laurel Street and Rev. Dr. Walker from Little Rock AME Zion who talk about their plans for a new development on 7th St. The conversation is moderated by FPC member David Dillard. Recorded on October 28, 2021.

Panelists:

Rev. Dr. Dwayne A. Walker was appointed pastor of Little Rock AME Zion Church in Charlotte in September 2005. A native of Rock Hill, SC, and graduate of Livingstone College in Salisbury, NC, he received his master of divinity and doctor of divinity degrees from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.  Dr. Walker currently serves as vice chairman of the Little Rock Community Development Corporation, and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Livingstone College and the Board of Dorothy Walls Conference and Retreat Center. He is also member of the Black Political Caucus and the NAACP, a former member of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Commission and Vice Chair of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee.

Lee Cochran is senior vice president at Laurel Street, a leading mixed-income housing development company experienced in developing high-quality residences for working families and seniors. Based in Charlotte, Laurel Street has a development portfolio of approximately 3,600 units valued at more than $500 million. Lee’s development oversight starts at project conception and runs through completion and stabilization. He has more than 20 years of experience in affordable and market-rate housing development, including elderly and family housing. His prior experiences with mixed-income developments and public/private partnerships are leveraged throughout the organization, and he is well-versed in utilizing a variety of funding structures and sources for projects. Lee is on the Finance Committee for Habitat for Humanity Charlotte and is a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Charlotte Capital Markets Council. He earned a master of public policy degree and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Duke University.

Mark Ethridge is a partner at Ascent Real Estate Capital, where he is responsible for sourcing, underwriting, structuring and managing investments and leads the company’s affordable housing platform, Ascent Housing. Ascent Housing is a leader in naturally-occurring affordable housing (NOAH) preservation and has created 583 affordable housing units since 2019. A Charlotte native and Princeton University graduate, Mark currently serves on the boards of Roof Above, Renaissance West Community Initiative, and Housing Impact Fund. He was a member of Center City Partners’ affordable housing task force and has been active in several leadership roles with the Urban Land Institute.

Drew Ludeke and his wife Chelsea moved from New York City to Charlotte eight years ago and have lived in the mixed use development of Brightwalk for six years with their children Grant and Declan and dachshunds Ella Fitzgerald and Jackson. They love Charlotte because it is a growing city where there’s potential to contribute in a lasting way. As a realtor, he appreciates the value of home ownership in helping to address social equity issues.

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