‘We demand you to stop’; Homeowners in University Park complain they’re being harassed by developers trying to buy their homes

Attorney in the neighborhood pursuing possible legal action against developers and buyers if they don’t stop
Updated: Sep. 30, 2019 at 6:49 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte neighborhoods are feeling the changes as Charlotte continues to grow. As the city increases in size and popularity, so do the homes and businesses closest to the action. In a lot of ways, that’s a good thing for Charlotte, but some neighborhoods are feeling negative impacts.

Homeowners in west Charlotte say they’re being harassed by buyers and developers asking to buy their homes almost every day. Homeowners say the offers are usually to buy in cash but for well-below market value. Homeowners are nervous that the buyers will renovate the homes and sell it for double the original price, making it impossible for many people to live in the area.

It’s especially concerning for the University Park neighborhood off of LaSalle Street and Beatties Ford Road. It’s a historically black neighborhood with a rich culture and history. Many of the homeowners have owned here for decades, including Narcissus Lowery.

“I love living here and I pray to the Lord I get to stay here," said Lowery.

She’s called LaSalle Street home for 45 years and just celebrated her 92nd birthday over the weekend. She says the letters and calls are constant asking to buy her home.

“It’s sad how they send mail here wanting to buy my home, calls come in wanting to buy my home. It’s sad," she said.

And she’s not the only one. Dozens of neighbors say developers and interested buyers harass them daily, even calling their work phones and family members.

It’s unclear if it’s one developer/buyer or multiple groups of people interested in the properties, but it is clear that there’s a lot of interest in the University Park neighborhood.

“Why would you want to buy me out, where am I going to go,” said Lowery. “I don’t have anywhere else to go but here.”

Lowery presents the view that most of her neighbors have: they don’t want to leave. And although many of them have told them no and thrown away the flyers, other neighbors are nervous for the first neighbor to say yes to the offer.

“A lot of this is stemmed by greed,” said Alesha Brown about the buyers.

Brown is an attorney and executive director of a non-profit called For the Struggle, Inc. She’s lives in University Park and says she’s a victim of the harassment as well.

She said the buyers are not only obnoxious and low-balling homeowners on offers, but targeting vulnerable people who might take a cash offer instead of thinking about the true value of their home.

“It’s concerning. They are preying on certain communities, often time it’s dealing with our elderly community,” Brown said.

She’s now working to find affected neighbors, not just in University Park but any affected neighborhoods, to gather information for a possible class action lawsuit down the line to stop developers from harassing homeowners.

If you’ve been affected, you can contact her at alesha@forthestruggleinc.com.

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