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More affordable housing could come to Gainesville with this development
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An apartment complex is planned at the end of Corporate Drive off Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville. - photo by Shannon Casas

Update, June 7: Up to $40 million in bonds to back a new 196-unit income-restricted apartment complex, Waterside Oaks Apartments, was approved.

Some affordable housing is coming to Gainesville with a new 196-unit income-restricted apartment complex. 

The development, called Waterside Oaks Apartments, will feature one- to four-bedroom apartments, and amenities include a covered pavilion with a barbecue area, an office/clubhouse with a workout and yoga studio, meeting space, computer room, a car wash center, playground and probably a pool, planning documents state. 

It will sit on about 30.5 acres at the end of Corporate Drive and near its intersection with Browns Bridge Road. 

The Paces Foundation, a nonprofit organization, is developing the property with funding in part from state tax credits through the Department of Community Affairs. 

The foundation builds affordable housing communities throughout the Southeast, said Michael Bauer, director of community development. Paces Foundation has built nearly 50 similar affordable housing communities, including 15 it operates in Georgia. 

Finding an affordable place to live can be difficult in Gainesville.  

Gainesville’s latest comprehensive plan update estimates about 40% of renters in Gainesville are cost burdened, meaning they pay 30% or more of their monthly income on rent, and more than 20% are severely cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than half their income on rent. 

The income restriction for renters at Waterside has not yet been set but can be no more than 80% of the median income. The median income for a household in Gainesville is about $53,662 for households and $27,496 for individuals, according to 2020 census data. 

Bauer said the struggle for affordable housing is consistent across the communities he has worked in, with rents rising dramatically in places like Miami and Tampa over the last year. 

“Our industry used to support low-income working families,” Bauer said. “And now the cost of housing has increased so much we’re supporting the entry-level professionals.” 

Paces has been planning the Gainesville development since 2019 and submitted a pre-application to DCA in 2020, planning documents state. 

Construction is set to start within the month and preliminary work has already begun, Bauer said. The build out would be a little less than two years. 

The Gainesville Housing Authority recently approved up to $40 million in bonds to back the project.