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Affordable housing in Gainesville will get boost with Walton Harbor development taking shape
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Crews frame a portion of the new 166-unite Walton Harbor housing development Wednesday, June 23, 2021, on Tower Heights Road. The new development replaces the aging Tower Heights’ 15 duplexes and community center. - photo by Scott Rogers

Construction is well underway on the 162-unit Walton Harbor Apartments, a new income-restricted housing development set to open partially in January 2022.

The project, replacing the 55-year-old Tower Heights public housing site that was torn down in late 2020, is “part of a two-phase process designed to increase the affordable housing stock in Gainesville,” said Beth Brown, executive director of the Gainesville Housing Authority.

Walton Harbor, which will be at 320 Tower Heights Road, east of Pearl Nix Parkway, initially will feature 81 units for all age groups. 

The second phase, which will be known as Legacy at Walton Harbor, is scheduled to be completed in early 2023. It will offer 81 units for those 55 years and older.

Both phases will serve families living below 80 percent of the area’s median income, or the income that falls in the middle of incomes of area households. Hall’s median income as of 2019 was $62,984, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Crews continue to build the new 166-unite Walton Harbor housing development Wednesday, June 23, 2021, on Tower Heights Road. The new development replaces the aging Tower Heights’ 15 duplexes and community center. - photo by Scott Rogers

The application process for housing at Walton Harbor is tentatively set for late in 2021, Brown said.

Walton Harbor was funded through a federal low-income housing tax credit program and federal Community Development Block Grant money.

The project’s developer is Marietta-based Walton Communities, which also developed Walton Summit, a mixed-income complex off Atlanta Street.

“Walton Harbor will be similar in scale and quality of Walton Summit,” Brown said.

Former residents of Tower Heights were provided with new apartments and “had extensive assistance throughout the preparation and moving process, including relocation counseling and a right to return,” Brown said.

Tower Heights, built in 1966, had been “determined to be physically obsolete,” she said.

Also, the units weren’t handicapped-accessible and they didn’t have central heat and air conditioning, Brown said.

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A man walks across a muddy construction site at the new 166-unite Walton Harbor housing development under construction Wednesday, June 23, 2021, on Tower Heights Road. The new development replaces the aging Tower Heights’ 15 duplexes and community center. - photo by Scott Rogers
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