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What’s planned on lot next to St. Paul UMC where century-old house stood
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Grading is underway on five, two-story duplex apartment homes on a recently cleared lot on Washington Street next to St. Paul United Methodist Church in Gainesville. - photo by Scott Rogers

A nearly century-old house has been torn down next to St. Paul United Methodist Church in Gainesville to make way for a 10-unit rental duplex project.

Grading is underway on the development at 520 Washington St., west of West Academy Street.

But otherwise, “everything’s pretty much in the planning stages, so I don’t have very (many) specifics,” developer Eddie Martin Jr. said Thursday, March 28.

“Nothing else is firm yet,” including rental fees and the construction schedule, he said in an email.

The project on less than an acre was approved by the city last year and involves the construction of five two-unit buildings.

“Each apartment unit will be designed as a two-story residence (that is) approximately 1,200 square feet in size,” a city document states.

The exterior of the brick buildings could feature architecture reminiscent of housing in Charleston, South Carolina, according to the city.

The project involved tearing down a yellow clapboard house that was built in 1920 to house four residences. The house had fallen in disrepair, nearly hidden from the street by overgrown vegetation and trees.

“The main purpose for this development is to provide a walkable live/work environment for residents working downtown,” according to a narrative that was part of the application.

“Gainesville is in need of housing close to downtown. While single-family houses and apartments are the most common developments, middle housing like duplexes are underdeveloped.”

Each unit will have two bedrooms with the hope of “attracting a rental market of older couples, newlywed couples and single adults,” the document states.