Decatur DDA to partner with Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership on cottage yard project – Decaturish
By Cathi Harris, collaborator
Decatur, Georgia – The Decatur Downtown Development Authority (DDA) board of directors voted on Friday to work with the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP) nonprofit to build their long-awaited cottage yard project at 230 Commerce Drive.
First announced in 2016, the development was intended to be a demonstration of the market viability for smaller footprint homes as good as a source of affordable housing for city employees.
But progress has stalled due to rapidly rising construction costs and issues with Georgia’s Ministry of Transportation. approval of a development entry, among other factors.
âAt the end of the day, the development authority does not have the resources to play the role of developer for this project,â Decatur’s director of planning and economic development, Angela Threadgill, told the board. administration of the DDA. âIt’s a lot for us. So having a partner in this field who has the vast experience of ANDP will be essential to get this started. “
The Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Inc. was founded in 1991 to “fund, develop and advocate for large-scale affordable housing that promotes racial equity and healthy communities where families thrive,” according to information on their website.
They have a particular focus on working in communities of color, particularly those in the southern Atlanta metro area, which have long suffered from divestment. And, they prioritize working with local, small, and minority-owned businesses, Jay Perlmutter, director of single-family home development at ANDP, told the board.
Their work includes buying and rehabilitating existing homes, providing loan and down payment assistance, and developing new affordable housing where it’s needed, he said. âWe believe this will be of great benefit to the Town of Decatur and will help us meet our five-year goal of completing 250 rental properties, 500 owned units and 1,250 multi-family affordable housing units. “
According to the plans outlined in their agreement with the DDA, the ANDP would build six cottage-type courthouses: 1 one-bedroom house, 1 two-bedroom house and 4 three-bedroom houses, with an area ranging from 528 to 1117 square feet. . The estimated selling prices would be between $ 199,000 and $ 275,000.
âThis is well below the metropolitan area median,â Perlmutter noted.
To preserve affordability in the future, the underlying land occupied by the chalets and common areas would be transferred to the Decatur Land Trust when each of the chalets is initially sold. The ANDP would also take care of the marketing of the finished houses and then examine the original buyers of the cottages under the terms set by the land trust. These conditions would include income limits and would reserve the first consideration for the city of Decatur, as well as employees of the municipal schools of Decatur and those of the Decatur Housing Authority.
During construction, the ANDP will acquire the land from the DDA so that, as the owner, it can more easily supervise the development: acquisition of permits and hiring of contractors, etc. The purchase of the land will be through a loan from DDA of $ 180,000 – the same amount DDA originally paid for the land. Holding the loan for the land protects the authority’s investment and allows it to ensure that the ANDP is doing what it is committed to doing.
As the houses are built and sold, this portion of the loan will be forgiven.
In addition to the land, DDA is also providing up to $ 200,000 to subsidize site preparation costs.
Unlike other real estate development projects, ANDP will not have recourse to external financing. They believe they have enough capital to build these six houses on their own, Perlmutter said. One gap in their budget is funding to prepare the site for construction and this is additional funding that the DDA has agreed to provide.
ANDP plans to work with James Cheeks at Fortas Homes to build the cottages. Fortas specializes in high quality small homes and has worked with ANDP on several other projects, Perlmutter said.
Once the agreement between DDA and ANDP is finalized, Perlmutter plans to obtain the first permit to disturb the soil before the end of the year or early January at the latest. The construction of the houses is expected to take between 12 and 15 months.
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