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Decatur Downtown Development Authority increases funding for cottage court project

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Decatur Downtown Development Authority increases funding for cottage court project

Design drawings depicting the potential layout and front facade of a two-bedroom cottage in the planned Decatur cottage court development. Image obtained via the city of Decatur

Decatur, GA — The Decatur Downtown Development Authority, at its May 13 meeting, increased its financial commitment to the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership from $200,000 to $250,000 for the cottage court project site construction.

In February, the DDA signed a development agreement with ANDP for the cottage court project at 230 Commerce Drive. The new name of the project is Oak Cottage Court.

ANDP would build six cottage court homes: 1 one-bedroom house, 1 two-bedroom house, and 4 three-bedroom houses, with square footage ranging from 528 to 1117 square feet. The estimated sales prices would be between $199,000 and $275,000, the board discussed at the Feb. 11 meeting. 

“After the recent numbers, those costs have gone up considerably, and so they have come back to us requesting an additional $50,000, so increasing from $200,000 to $250,000,” said Angela Threadgill, DDA executive director. “The reason being is, at the end of the day, we want these cottages to be affordable as workforce housing. If we want to continue along that goal, we need to put a little bit more money to help with that gap financing.”

The DDA previously had cost estimates for a retaining wall at the front of the property and the site work that were about $300,000. Those costs have increased to $725,000, Threadgill said.

The project will be aimed at an area median income between 80-120%.

First announced in 2016, the development was intended to be a demonstration of the market viability of smaller footprint houses as well as a source of affordable housing for city employees.

But progress stalled due to rapidly rising construction costs and issues with the Georgia Department of Transportation’s approval of an entrance to the development, among other factors.

In mid-January, the DDA applied for a land disturbance permit and is going through the review process. The board also had to get boundary tree agreements from the neighboring property owners, Threadgill previously said.

To preserve the affordability in the future, the underlying land occupied by the cottages and common areas would be transferred to the Decatur Land Trust when each of the cottages is initially sold, Decaturish previously reported.

ANDP would handle the marketing of the finished homes and vet the initial buyers according to the terms set by the Land Trust. The terms would include income limits and reserving first consideration for city of Decatur employees, as well as City Schools of Decatur employees and the Decatur Housing Authority.

In other business, the DDA also authorized the board chair and executive director to sign a sublease agreement for the property at 115 Clairemont Avenue, which is a retail space owned by the DDA.

“The space at 115 Clairemont Avenue has been vacant for quite some time. It is a retail space,” Threadgill said. “It’s taken us some time to find interested retailers to come and look at the space, but we think we have finally found a good retailer — Journeyman, which is owned by David Morris.”

Journeyman is an experiential bicycle, retail café. Morris would sell bicycles. There would be a community café and the business would support artisans who make supplies or materials for the bicycles or cyclists.

“This business is very experiential. As you know, most retailers are having to expand what they offer and make it more of a community space. We feel like this is a good contender for this space. This would be an extension of our incubator program because it is a new concept and vision.”

Morris would move into the space this month and the sublease would run until November 2024, which when the DDA’s lease ends with the landlord.

The DDA will meet again on Friday, June 10, at 8 a.m. at Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street.

Writer Cathi Harris contributed to this article.

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