[What follows is a copy of a letter ONE Wake sent the Raleigh City Council on Tuesday, December 1. Please note that this report is a snapshot in time and may be outdated soon] 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Mayor Baldwin and Council Members:

ONE Wake is an organization composed of 43 dues paying member institutions representing 50,000 people from across Wake County. Seven weeks ago our organization publicly launched our grassroots agenda for change in front of 3,167 members, and won commitments from John Kane to address our concerns around the Downtown South Development. 

For the last month, ONE Wake has been negotiating with John Kane regarding community benefits in exchange for our public support of Kane Realty’s rezoning application for Downtown South, which will soon be heard by the Raleigh City Council. We are presenting this letter today as an update on the state of our negotiations and what more we think needs to be done before the Council hears the rezoning application.  

If the Council chooses to grant the rezoning for the Downtown South, the value of the property would skyrocket overnight, generating instant profit for John Kane and his investors. At the same time, the project risks accelerating gentrification,  and it is unclear whether it will generate living wage jobs or investment in Minority and Women owned businesses.  

ONE Wake’s position is simple: if the public is being asked to make an investment of this magnitude, then we should be treated as investors, and we deserve to know how our public investment will lead to tangible community benefits.

During our negotiations over the last month, Kane expressed a preliminary desire to work with ONE Wake to shape community benefits including stormwater protections, affordable housing, investment in Minority and Women Owned Businesses, workforce development, and living wage jobs.

However, just two hours before our internal assembly last Tuesday we heard from Bonner Gaylord, Kane Realty Operations Director, that John Kane has refused to negotiate with ONE Wake on the issue of affordable housing.

Our overall impression is that Kane has walked away from the negotiating table with ONE Wake, and is instead pursuing a series of discreet deals in private, and in doing so is keeping everyone else in the dark of what’s being offered and to whom. We feel this calls for us to make our position public to ensure that the Raleigh City Council and all residents of our city know exactly where ONE Wake stands. 

ON STORMWATER: John Kane has made a commitment with Partner for Environmental Justice, a ONE Wake ally, that we believe is strong and should address our concerns on downstream flooding. PEJ deserves credit for their consistent and persistent advocacy. However, we expect more from Kane than just stormwater protection alone.  

ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING: John Kane has submitted an offer in the form of a zoning condition on November 25 that is far too little for a rezoning request of this unprecedented size and value. 

Kane is offering 10% of housing units to be affordable for residents earning 80% AMI, for “at least” five years. Our interpretation of the zoning condition is that this offer is only for the first 1,000 dwelling units built, or 100 units total. 

We are disappointed in the short, five year window of affordability for these units, the 80% AMI target, and what seems to be a cap at 100 units total. Most concerning to us is that it appears that enforcement will be triggered only when Kane seeks a certificate of occupancy for the 1,000th unit, which suggests a long timeline before the City can enforce this agreement (and a possibility, however unlikely, that Kane will not have to build any affordable housing as long as he keeps residential dwellings at or below 999 units). 

We welcome Kane’s clarification on any of the above. 

ON JOBS AND INVESTMENT IN MWBEs: To date there are no zoning conditions that spell out Kane’s commitments in this area. 

We call on Kane to add additional conditions that spell out his commitments on living wage jobs and investment in Minority and Women owned Business Enterprises. We believe that it is essential to secure these commitments prior to granting a rezoning of the property to ensure that this development benefits all communities. 

ONE Wake calls on the Raleigh City Council to be good stewards of the public’s interest on these issues, and to encourage Kane to rejoin us at the table to negotiate openly and publicly on our concerns. 

Signed, the ONE Wake Steering Team


Rabbi Ariel Edery

Beth Shalom 

Rev. Asa Bell

Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

Rev. Bankole Akinbinu

Baptist Grove Church

Fr. Javier Almendárez-Bautista

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church 

Fr. Jemonde Taylor

St. Ambrose Episcopal Church

John Fleming

Christ the King Lutheran Church

Rev. Melissa Florer-Bixler

Raleigh Mennonite Church

Imam Mohamed AbuTaleb

Islamic Association of Raleigh

Rev. Mycal Brickhouse
Cary First Christian Church

Rev. Dr. Rose Cornelious

Dorcas Ministries

Rev. Royce Hathcock

Tapestry Church of the Nazarene