Nashville’s oldest public housing unit could be coming down.
On Wednesday, the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency announced the first step in the process of creating a redevelopment plan for East Nashville’s James A. Cayce Place. MDHA is enlisting EJP Consulting Group LLC to lead the redevelopment of James A. Cayce Place in East Nashville.
Construction on Cayce Place, which now holds 740 housing units, first began in 1941, and while MDHA communications director Mark Drury said they haven’t decided between refurbishing and rebuilding, he also acknowledged limited options.
“The units were built between 1941 and 1954, so relative to a lot of our other units around town, they are small and difficult to make repairs in and outdated,” Drury said. “So, it would be difficult to conceive of how you would rectify that, but the consultant is starting with a blank sheet of paper and is going to develop a plan for us.”
EJP previously worked with MDHA on the redevelopment of the Sam Levy Homes and John Henry Hale homes.
“A lot of the public housing developments have been redeveloped ... for the purposes of modernizing and reducing the density,” said Loretta Owens, executive director of The Housing Fund. “It seems like this is a reasonable time to look at how [Cayce Homes] could be redeveloped.”
According to the MDHA, the first step in the planning process for the redevelopment of Cayce Place will be community meetings. Surveys will be conducted and the results will be released.
“You are dealing with people’s existing neighborhoods and you want to be respectful of those peoples’ networks and communities,” Owens said.
EJP will also be responsible for crafting relocation and rehousing strategies once the redevelopment plan is in place.
“I’m pleased MDHA will have the opportunity to work with EJP once again,” outgoing MDHA executive director Phil Ryan said.
“The firm’s experience in revitalizing public housing nationally and in Nashville ensures we’ll be working with people who have extensive knowledge of best practices in public housing and are committed to seeking input from all of Cayce’s residents and stakeholders.”
The neighborhood is named after James A. Cayce, the first chairman of the Nashville Housing Authority.