Decatur cottage court project on Commerce Drive to be complete early next yearA look of the future courtyard space and the current cottages of the Oak Cottage Court project in Decatur on Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. Photo by Zoe Seiler.
Decatur, GA — The Oak Cottage Court development on Commerce Drive in Decatur is nearing completion. The framing and roofing have been completed on the cottages.
The first two homes will likely be completed by the end of the year, and the remaining cottages will be finished in January or February 2024.
The Decatur Downtown Development Authority has been working with the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership [ANDP] and Fortas Homes to construct the project. The Decatur Land Trust will eventually own the land in order to help keep the home prices affordable.
Construction began in August 2022. According to the plans outlined in their agreement with the DDA, the 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 1171 square feet. The estimated sales prices would be between $199,000 and $275,000, Decaturish previously reported.
It is still up to the Decatur Land Trust and the developers to set the prices of the homes. The land trust will have a ground lease in order to retain affordability as the homes are sold.
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.
The construction is anticipated to be finished in January 2024. ANDP hopes to have the cottages sold and occupied by March 2024, said Jay Perlmutter, managing director of single-family development for ANDP.
“There’s a little bit of some unknowns we’ve got to work through with the [homeowners association] and final replats and addresses that may adjust that timeline slightly, but the goal would be the first quarter of next year to have all the units sold,” Perlmutter said.
Jim Cheeks with Fortas Homes said the cottage court is coming along nicely.
“We’re framed with everything. We’ll be at Sheetrock for three of the six units early next week. Inspections have been going great,” Cheeks said. “The other three units are just a few weeks behind that. On the first three, we’re 60 to 70 days [or so] away from completion on those, and probably another two to three after that for the remaining three.”
He added that a few changes were made to the plans. The main change involved redesigning the crawlspaces, as well as lowering rooflines slightly. No changes were made to the exterior of the cottages.
Perlmutter said another change involved putting the electrical system underground, so overhead power lines would not run through the cottage community.
“That’s something that’s still underway, but we think that will improve the overall aesthetics because it’s so small,” Perlmutter said.
ANDP will work with the Decatur Land Trust to market the homes, and they hope to announce the opportunity for city and school district employees to apply soon.
“When we do that, we’ll schedule some open houses, so prospective buyers can come tour the property. We’ll outline the process that they’ll need to go through to apply and then there will be a lottery at some point,” Perlmutter said.
There will be some parking on site with six spaces, one for each cottage. ANDP plans to use pervious pavers for the parking area. The DDA and ANDP are also partnering with the Holy Trinity Parish Episcopal Church on East Ponce de Leon for parking. The church has a parking lot at the corner of Sycamore Place and Sycamore Street.
Currently, construction crews have a dedicated row of parking at the church. They plan to continue that partnership with the church when construction is completed for overflow parking.
DDA Board Member and Decatur Land Trust Board Chair Linda Curry said it was great to see the progress on the homes.
“It exceeded expectations, I would say,” Curry said. “I’m impressed with the builder and our developer partner. It took us a long to get to where we are now. We’ve owned that property for a while.”
Curry is looking forward to being able to show others what can be done on an affordable basis.
“All we’ve had really are the drawings and specs and that kind of thing. It’s hard for people, and it’s hard for me to visualize what it’s going to look like. It’s going to look different the next time when we go through, and it’s sheet rocked,” Curry said.
She added that it would be great for people to own their own homes.
Commissioner Lesa Mayer is also a member of the Decatur Land Trust Board and joined the site visit on Oct. 13. She told Decaturish that the homes are coming along beautifully.
“I was pleasantly surprised at how much space they feel like they have. The design was very smart and the usage of all of the space, as opposed to wasted space, was really great,” Mayer said.
The homes could meet various needs among homeowners. Mayer is excited to have more housing diversity in the city.
“I’m excited that we’ll have a different option for people to choose from when they are looking at their housing needs and potential housing costs in Decatur,” Mayer said.
Here are some photos from the DDA’s site visit on Friday, Oct. 13:
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