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Gainesville's Church Street Manor apartments are no more. This is what's next
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A crew from PRA Construction demo the interior of Church Street Manor apartments Wednesday, May 11, 2022, in Gainesville. The old apartment complex is getting a complete renovation and will be called The Lofts on Jewell. - photo by Scott Rogers

Church Street Manor is no more. 

The last resident has moved out, and even though it is months behind schedule, the “rebirth” is now fully underway. 

The apartments had provided government-subsidized housing to residents living on social security and disability checks, many of them elderly and disabled. The move-out deadline was initially scheduled for the end of last year, but the Gainesville Housing Authority, which then managed the property, had a tough time relocating residents given the scarcity of affordable housing in the area. 

Located at 710 Jesse Jewell Parkway, the new apartments will be called The Lofts on Jewell, and while they are meant to fill the need for affordable housing, they will no longer be government subsidized or accept vouchers. 

There will be more than 40 studio and one-bedroom units, ranging from $800 to $1,400. The project is expected to cost about $4 million and open in spring 2023. 

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The Lofts will be a redeveloped space where the subsidized Church Street Manor apartments were located on Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville. Rendering courtesy the Norton Agency.
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The Lofts will be a redeveloped space where the subsidized Church Street Manor apartments were located on Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville. Rendering courtesy the Norton Agency.

The building was developed in the late 1970s, but despite its old age, it is not being torn down because it has “great bones” and a history worth preserving, the developer said. 

“We're trying to keep as much of the history of the building as possible,” said Emilie Cisco, development coordinator for NCREDIBLE Properties, a division of the Norton Agency, the real-estate firm that oversees the property. She is the daughter of Frank Norton, CEO and president of the agency. 

Norton has said he is probably as excited about this property as any other project he has worked on, because the transformation will be so stark.

The Lofts on Jewell is meant to combine luxury and affordability, and it is being designed with university students and traveling nurses in mind. Northeast Georgia Medical Center and Brenau University are close by. 

“It really lends itself to that young professional,” Cisco said. “Travel nurses are coming in with nowhere to stay. … We're not designing exclusively for them, but we are keeping them in mind as we make decisions.” 

Features include vinyl plank flooring, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, office space, an outdoor exercise facility, a dog park, and a washer and dryer in each unit. 

“If you're trying to target medical (workers), one of the biggest things that we've learned in some of our research is the first thing they do is take off their clothes and wash them,” Cisco said. “We’re trying to simplify their lives.” 

Eleven of the ground-level one-bedroom units will have a 10-foot by 10-foot patio surrounded by a nine-foot-tall fence. 

“We want to be pillars of the community, and so we can say, we took that and brought it up,” Cisco said. “We want to see other people take some old buildings and reimagine them as well.”

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A crew from PRA Construction demo the apartment units of Church Street Manor apartments Wednesday, May 11, 2022, in Gainesville. The old apartment complex is getting a complete renovation and will be called The Lofts on Jewell. - photo by Scott Rogers
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A crew from PRA Construction demo the interior of Church Street Manor apartments Wednesday, May 11, 2022, in Gainesville. The old apartment complex is getting a complete renovation and will be called The Lofts on Jewell. - photo by Scott Rogers
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A crew from PRA Construction removes appliances as they demo the interiors of Church Street Manor apartments Wednesday, May 11, 2022, in Gainesville. The old apartment complex is getting a complete renovation and will be called The Lofts on Jewell. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Alberto Murillo, of PRA Construction, tosses away cabinets at Church Street Manor apartments Wednesday, May 11, 2022, in Gainesville. The old apartments complex is getting a complete renovation and will be called The Lofts on Jewell. - photo by Scott Rogers
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A crew from PRA Construction removes appliances as they demo the interiors of Church Street Manor apartments Wednesday, May 11, 2022, in Gainesville. The old apartment complex is getting a complete renovation and will be called The Lofts on Jewell. - photo by Scott Rogers