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Oakwood 84-unit affordable housing plan is being proposed again this year
0717PEAKS
An 84-unit affordable housing apartment complex is again being proposed off Osborn Road and Atlanta Highway/Ga. 13 in Oakwood.

An Atlanta firm is trying again to get tax credits to help fund an 84-unit affordable housing apartment complex in Oakwood.

“Tax credits are the major financing source for the project, and I don’t believe we could move forward without it,” said Gary Hammond, principal of Landbridge Development LLC.

He added there are “no changes to the site plan” submitted last year for the $12 million development, which is proposed on 9 acres off Atlanta Highway/Ga. 13 and Osborn Road, across from Blackshear Place Baptist Church.

If approved, the development would require tenants to meet income requirements, with rents varying from $430 to $725 per month for one-bedroom to three-bedroom units, Hammond has said.

“There are no rental subsidies” as part of the project, which is not related to federal Section 8 housing, he said.

Under Section 8, “tenants pay based on their income and ability to pay, and if they don’t have an income, they don’t have to pay any rent and the government picks up the rest,” Hammond said.

In the Oakwood project, “rents and incomes are artificially lower so that the units are built for people making a certain income based on household size,” he said.

The state administers a housing tax credit program that allocates federal and state tax credits to owners of qualified rental properties “who reserve all or a portion of their units for occupancy for low-income tenants,” according to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

In exchange for financial help from public agencies to help pay for apartment construction, “we’re going to set our rents so that those families find it affordable,” Hammond has said.

“It’s a very high-quality product that we’re capable of building for a reasonable rent,” he said.

Thirteen of the units wouldn’t “be part of the program,” Hammond said, adding that rents on those apartments could be higher, even though “we typically don’t charge that much more.”

The complex will feature a clubhouse, community room for resident gatherings and functions, laundry area and a playground and gazebo, Hammond said.

The project could take a year to complete, he said.

The Landbridge proposal initially was voted down by Oakwood City Council but was approved when it came back up at a later meeting.

“People can agree or disagree on this type of housing, but there’s no denying there’s a lot of demand for it,” Hammond said at the time.

Out of 79 projects, only 25 — or less than a third — were approved for tax credits in 2016.

This year, the state received 73 applications, DCA spokeswoman MaryBrown Sandys said.

“We will fund approximately $22 million in credits,” she added.

The state is targeting mid-October to announce awards.

Also seeking tax credits this year is Walton Communities LLC, which has teamed up with the Gainesville Housing Authority to redevelop the former Green Hunter Homes on Atlanta Street.

Already approved for tax credits in an earlier round, construction of the 252-apartment project will go through three phases. The first residents will move in next year, officials have said.

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