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Legacy Decatur considers proposal from PadSplit for creative village

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Legacy Decatur considers proposal from PadSplit for creative village

The creative village at Legacy Park will provide affordable housing and studio space to local creatives. Photo courtesy of the city of Decatur.

This story has been updated. 

Decatur, GA — Legacy Decatur plans to work on a contract agreement with PadSplit to help recruit tenants and manage the creative village planned for the Edwards and Trustees Cottages at Legacy Park.

The Legacy Decatur board, the board that oversees Legacy Park, discussed the project and agreed to authorize the staff to negotiate with PadSplit.

The Creative Village, included in the Legacy Park Master Plan, is made up of four former group residential cottages at Legacy Park that will be repurposed to provide affordable housing and working studios for qualified area artists, Legacy Park Director of Programs Madeleine Henner wrote in a memo.

“A place for artists and creatives to live and work was a common request among participants in the engagement activities. Decatur has a large number of organizations that support the arts, but few that actually provide residences and studios. The Creative Village utilizes previous housing for children as artist studio space centered around a creative plaza,” the master plan states.

There are eight apartment units between the two cottages, ranging from one efficiency, four two-bedroom units, two three-bedroom units, and a four-bedroom unit.

Legacy Decatur has been looking into the creative village and how to best manage affordable housing for a while, Legacy Decatur Executive Director Lyn Menne said.

“We don’t have the staff capacity to do that kind of tenant relations that are required for residential. PadSplit does this,” Menne said.

PadSplit would receive 12% of the rent revenue.

“They handle the screening of tenants, as far as background checks,” Menne said. “They also would do the onboarding, tenant relation, maintenance, all of that is included in the price.”

Legacy Decatur is working with the Decatur Arts Alliance on the project as well to finish the residences and studios. The arts alliance would provide additional screening as well to look at a tenant’s artistic portfolio.

“We want to make sure that we are working with people who are professional artists, emerging artists. PadSplit has the ability to look at the income levels so that we can make sure that we are working with people who meet the AMI requirement for affordable housing,” Menne said.

Henner stated in the memo that the most effective way to provide the most residential units in the creative village is to use a co-housing model or single room occupancy.

“Individuals would rent a private bedroom and share a kitchen, living room, laundry room, and bathrooms with an apartment mate(s),” Henner said. “The co-housing model could allow up to 19 individuals to rent shared residential space in these two cottages. The co-housing model offers a very affordable housing option for young, low-income individuals and an opportunity to build credit as rent payments are tracked and reported.”

Legacy Decatur anticipates receiving about $102,000 a year in rental revenue from the cottages with a management fee of $12,240, Henner said.

The final contract will be brought before the Legacy Decatur board for review and final approval.

Legacy Decatur expects to receive a $209,000 grant from United States Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-4) that was passed in the federal appropriations bill this year.

“With the $229,000 grant and foundation funding we have allocated for the Creative Village, we will prioritize the renovation of Edwards and Trustees Cottages. In order to maintain the historic character of Cottages and be responsible stewards of the funds, we plan to utilize the existing apartment layouts,” Henner wrote in the memo.

If the model is successful, the Legacy Decatur staff will recommend expanding it to include the efficiency and on-bedroom units in Smith Cottage next year, according to the agenda packet.

In other business, the board also approved extending an agreement with Inspiritus for the lease of one of the cottages at Legacy Park. The board previously approved a short-term lease with Inspiritus for transitional housing through Dec. 31. The nonprofit requested an extension of the lease through May 31, 2023, to allow the children of the current tenants to complete the school year, according to the agenda.

Based on the current schedule for the request for qualifications submittals, request for proposals invitations, and the selection of a developer for the proposed North Housing Village project, this request extension will not delay the proposed affordable housing development.

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