Charlotte residential developer Grubb Properties is prepping to tear down a section of the former GMAC building, the first step toward adding 244 apartments in downtown Winston-Salem.

The group has moved demolition equipment to the six-story building, which is attached to the 500 West Fifth tower owned by an affiliate of Flow Automotive Cos., Buddy Thomas, Flow's director of real estate, said Monday.

Crews temporarily blocked Spruce Street between Fourth and Fifth streets Monday.

Grubb officials said in July the building would be torn down by year’s end to make way for the apartments. The goal is to have the first units available in the third quarter of 2021 and construction completed in the first quarter of 2022.

"This timeline is contingent on several factors including weather, but it’s our best estimate at this point," Grubb spokeswoman Emily Ethridge said.

Grubb is the developer of Link Apartments Brookstown near BB&T Ballpark and is developing property in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter that will provide 340 apartments, 5,000 square feet of retail space and a parking deck with 850 spaces.

The Flow subsidiary sold Grubb the building and the parking lot that fronts it on Fourth Street, Thomas said.

The planned $48 million mixed-use facility will stretch to the boundaries of Fourth and Poplar streets. It will contain a mini dog park and an adjacent “pocket park” off North Spruce Street.

Thomas said the plans include having five stories fronting Fourth Street with retail on the first floor and four stories on the side adjacent to the 18-story tower.

The Winston-Salem City Council has approved an incentive deal to provide Grubb with $1.65 million over 10 years for the project next to the 500 West Fifth tower.

Grubb has committed to making 5% of the apartments affordable to people making up to 90% of area median income and 25% having rents affordable by people making up to 110% of the median.

City officials say the median usually hovers around the $40,500 mark. A rent considered affordable for someone making 90% of that amount would be a little more than $910 per month.

Another change approved by council involved the timing of the payments to Grubb. Under the deal approved, those payments won’t start until five years after the Grubb project is finished.

Flow owns the parking deck and building at the corner of West Fourth and Poplar streets, with Grubb having access to parking-deck spaces for the proposed apartments.

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