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Decatur Housing Authority, Columbia Residential close on financing for Decatur East project

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Decatur Housing Authority, Columbia Residential close on financing for Decatur East project

Artist's rendering of the planned Phase II of Columbia Senior Residences at Decatur East. Credit: City of Decatur.

Decatur, GA — The Decatur Housing Authority and Columbia Residential have closed on financing for the Decatur East phase two project, which is an 80-unit affordable senior housing development.

The project is also considered a transit-oriented development since it is located at the corner of Freeman and Sams Streets near the Avondale MARTA station. The address of the project is 515 E. Freeman Street.

The Decatur Housing Authority announced in August 2023 that it was working to close on the financing within about six weeks for the project and begin construction soon after. MARTA announced on Jan. 17 that the entities closed on the financing.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs, city of Decatur, Decatur Housing Authority, and DeKalb County are providing financial support for the new development, according to a press release from MARTA.

Columbia Residential completed phase one in 2018, which was a 92-unit mixed-income senior community. The developers are working on phase two of that project, and all units will be for seniors aged 62 and older. Phase two will feature a mix of one- and two-bedroom units and amenities targeted for seniors.

“We are proud to honor our commitment to provide affordable housing options for seniors with access to transit at the Avondale MARTA station.,” President of Columbia Residential Carmen Chubb said. “This development builds upon our work with the Columbia Senior Residences at Decatur East, Phase I, and is a great example of what can be achieved when public and private partners come together to address critical needs in our communities.”

In May 2021, MARTA sold the land to Columbia Residential specifically for senior affordable housing. The parcel is one of the two final components of the southside master TOD plan executed between MARTA, Columbia Ventures LLC, Cortland, and the city of Decatur.

“It remains a challenging capital market environment for new developments,” MARTA General Manager and CEO Collie Greenwood said. “This closing demonstrates investor demand still exists for affordable housing communities near transit, especially when executed by quality developers and supported by local jurisdictional partners. By offering more equitable access to transit and affordable housing, this development will provide its senior residents with more financial freedom and mobility options.”

Also in May 2021, the Decatur City Commission provided Columbia Residential with about $438,000 in grant funds to the tax allocation district to cover the infrastructure costs supporting the affordable housing development. The city’s funding was conditional and based upon the developer producing the project and receiving the low-income housing tax credits. The housing authority, in partnership with Columbia Residential, received the LIHTC in November 2021.

The development is the first project to receive support from the city’s East Decatur tax allocation district, a financing mechanism for infrastructure and other public improvements using revenues from the enhanced property tax values from the new development.

Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett said the city is pleased to partner in the development and move Decatur closer to the community’s affordable housing goals.

“There are multiple resources and tools needed to support these complex developments, and we are fortunate that the city was able to leverage its tax allocation district that allows for the use of incremental tax dollars for affordable housing infrastructure. We look forward to welcoming our new residents to this vibrant neighborhood,” Garrett said.

DHA Chief Executive Officer Doug Faust added that it’s remarkable to see what can be accomplished when the community works together.

“Decatur East Phase II will provide affordable senior housing in Decatur that incorporates smart growth, transit-oriented development, new urbanism, green building, walkability, and community-building,” Faust said.

The closing at Avondale comes soon after MARTA celebrated the groundbreaking for a 250-unit affordable senior and multifamily development at Kensington Station with the Housing Authority of DeKalb County.

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