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Decatur Land Trust discusses pending projects, including cottage court affordable housing project

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Decatur Land Trust discusses pending projects, including cottage court affordable housing project

Decatur Land Trust members Valerie Wilson, Bill Adams, Kristin Allin, Linda Curry, Angela Threadgill, Alan McNabb and Lesa Mayer met on Wednesday, Sept. 1, at Legacy Park to discuss pending projects and other updates. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Decatur, GA — The Decatur Land Trust met on Wednesday, Sept. 1, and discussed updates on pending projects, including 108 Park Place, Cottage Courts and Legacy Park.

The Decatur Land Trust was created a couple of years ago as part of Legacy Decatur and five board members were appointed by Legacy Decatur in 2019.

Legacy Decatur is the board that oversees Legacy Park, the former United Methodist Children’s Home property on South Columbia Drive. The Land Trust has always planned to become a stand-alone nonprofit and is in the process of obtaining 501c3 status.

Through the land trust, the city will be able to acquire property through a purchase or donation and facilitate the development or preservation of affordable housing. The entity would also maintain the ground lease for the affordable units in order to keep the affordable over time as the units are re-sold and rented, Decaturish previously reported.

The cottage court project is located at 230 Commerce Drive. It was announced in 2016 but was delayed due to negotiations with the Georgia Department of Transportation over the design entrance on Commerce Drive. Skyrocketing construction costs also stalled the plans because of the city’s goal of keeping the homes affordable at less than $250,000, Decaturish previously reported.

The cottage court project is a small group of small, detached homes centered around a shared courtyard. It is slated to include four to six units of affordable housing. The property is owned by the Decatur Downtown Development Authority.

“[The DDA is] getting close to getting into a development agreement with a developer who focuses on affordable housing,” DLT board member Angela Threadgill said. “They would be our partner in actually building out these six homes as was approved by the City Commission, oh my gosh, several years ago,”

Threadgill did not share the name of the developer and said she hoped to have more information to share by the next Land Trust meeting.

Another project the Land Trust is working on is at 108 Park Place in Oakhurst, which is the former AT&T building. The property will become 33 condominiums and 10% of the units will be affordable housing. The three units would be affordable for those making 120% area median income or less, which was the agreement with the city and administered through the DDA and the Decatur Land Trust.

“They have been issued their building permit,” Threadgill said. “[Affordable Housing Fellow] Kristin [Allin] is now in contact with Toll Brothers to work out the details.”

Thrive was developing the project, but Toll Brothers purchased Thrive. Threadgill said Thrive is still engaged in the project, but Toll Brothers will now be the developer. The goal is to make the project part of the Decatur Land Trust.

The Land Trust is additionally looking to build 25 housing units at Legacy Park that would surround two historic buildings. The units would be single-family cottages and there could also be duplexes, triplexes or other smaller units, Threadgill said.

“The overall idea here is that for those 25 or so buildings, new dwelling units, that the Land Trust would maintain the ground lease and then those units would be purchasable,” Threadgill said.

The historic buildings are each about 10,000 square feet. Threadgill added that some organizations have expressed interest in rehabilitating the buildings to fit their needs. The Legacy Decatur board will probably help find partners and occupants for the space. One question raised was whether the historic buildings would be turned into offices, and Threadgill said she didn’t think they would be.

“It is truly meant to be a housing village with different incomes, different abilities. There’s been a lot of different organizations to come forward on that,” Threadgill said.

The Land Trust will meet again on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 10 a.m. at Legacy Park, 500 S. Columbia Drive.

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