OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - The Taylor at Opelika is a new apartment complex coming to the historic downtown. Construction on this project was supposed to start in 2022, but it was postponed due to negative feedback from some citizens.
The construction is a multi-family apartment complex that will be located in Opelika’s historic downtown. The project was back in 2022 but postponed due to community concern about it fitting in with the character and charm of downtown. The city council did vote to rezone the lot from manufacturing to multi-family residential. The complex is supposed to take over the lot where the old Opelika’s Farmer’s Market was, at the intersection of South Tenth Street and Avenue C. Opelika City Councilman Tim Aja says he voted against the complex twice because it doesn’t fit with downtown.
“I opposed it both times because I don’t necessarily believe it’s in the best interest of Opelika. I’d like us to go from here to here that fast. I worry that’s going to lead to a lot of vacancies, and I don’t think a lot of apartment vacancies are necessarily good for any town.”
Aja says many citizens have expressed concern about more apartments coming in the near future.
“From, frankly, citizens from all over Opelika and some calling in from Auburn about a domino effect of apartments as has been seen in our sister city, next door in Auburn. Once that floodgate is open, then we have another, then we have another, then we have another. And that would not fit with the character that we have here in town.”
Councilman Aja says citizens have expressed to him they don’t want to see an apartment complex be built in downtown, and the councilman doesn’t want to see it either. However, Lucy Chapman is a citizen of Opelika who thinks the complex may be a good addition to Opelika’s downtown.
“You know, I do think that’s a good thing. I’m sad to hear that the farmers market will be gone because I grew up going there. But you know, I really think that getting that community and having some apartments in downtown Opelika will be great. Getting some diverse ages in, maybe.”
He says the only change made to the plans of The Taylor is the design. He says the developers took a more cookie-cutter approach, which doesn’t fit with the character of downtown. Chapman thinks some change will be good for the town and won’t take away from its charm.
“You know, I definetly think it will bring some change, but I don’ think that change necessarily is a bad thing. And, Opelika is a historic town, but I don’t think an apartment complex will take away from that.”
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