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Ribbon cut on new housing units in South Albany

Vantage Development's Paul Robinson takes to the podium Thursday to thank those responsible for getting the multi-million, 93-unit facility off the ground.

Vantage Development's Paul Robinson takes to the podium Thursday to thank those responsible for getting the multi-million, 93-unit facility off the ground.

ALBANY, Ga. — Both city officials and private developers applauded the completion of three phases of the Southlake master plan development Thursday, heralding the project as the perfect example of how public-private partnerships should work.

Click HERE to read the narrative on Southlake's impact on the community as submitted by the Vantage Group.

The ribbon cutting on the 93-unit, low-to-moderate income and senior living community, comes after years of planning and construction.

Paul Robinson, an official with the Vantage Group that was in charge of the project, said that it is more than $21 million in scope. The development — a mix of federal and state tax credits, federal HOME dollars through the city’s Department of Community and Economic Development, and stimulus money along with private funding — will pay $135,000-$160,000 in local property taxes each year, he said.

“This development only came to fruition through a team effort at the local, state, federal and private level,” Robinson said. “The teamwork here was staggering and, in the end, we’ve rehabilitated a blighted neighborhood and have provided homes to those who need them.”

It was because of that teamwork that Vantage was able to build the units despite the fact construction spanned the period during which the recession was hitting its hardest locally, Robinson said.

“If it hadn’t been for the city’s HOME program, the tax credits, those investors who bought the credits and the stimulus, it would’ve been tough to pull it all off,” Robinson said.

Ward VI City Commissioner Tommie Postell gushed at the development, saying that the project had transformed the neighborhood.

“Before when you’d drive by, this area looked like Beirut, like it had been bombarded,” Postell said. “Now, the people of this part of Albany have something to be proud of.”

Kenneth Cutts, the head of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop’s District Office in Albany, said that project was the poster child for how public-private partnerships should work.

“Here you have an organization that went out and did their homework — applied for tax breaks, worked with the city, and brought their own assets to the table — and it has paid off big for the community,” Cutts said.

And on the same day that the ribbon was cut on the Landing at Southlake — the second of three phases — Vantage officials announced that they had already leased 100 percent of their third phase, the Cove at Southlake.

Vantage’s announcement comes at a crucial time for the city’s low-income housing development efforts.

Plagued by news about failed developments like University Gardens in East Albany and the Cutliff Grove development in central Albany, taxpayer-subsidized low-income housing efforts have become political hot potatoes.

But Robinson said Thursday that when skilled developers do their homework and local government does its homework, the projects can work out well.

“There’s no doubt that there’s a need for low- to moderate-income housing here,” Robinson said. “But you have to try and work with a developer who has done it before and who has a proven track record. It’s always going to be risky because of things like the economy and other outside forces at play, but you can reduce the risk when you have good people working together.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvT3IscZzig

Comments

whattheheck 2 years, 5 months ago

I am thrilled to the gills that Albany was able to build more "affordable" housing since it appears we can never get enough. Has anyone ever noticed that the more housing of this type we build, the more poverty we wind up with? Tracks completely over the years--we are creating our own poverty population.

And I am thrilled that, as Mr Robinson says, the city has its own HOME funds that makes this all possible, although it should be mentioned these are not really city funds. But if the city spent 1/2 as much of CDBG and other similar funds on economic development rather than helping everyone afford housing, we might actually create a few job and get a few people off the poverty roles. Wake up folks, the buzzards are circling and the current in the toilet bowl is getting stronger.

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whattheheck 2 years, 5 months ago

For full disclosure, "brought their own assets to the table", as Cutts said, included $2.3 million in stimulus funds. Brought China's money we are on the hook for is more like it. Nothing like going in debt to subsidize and sustain poverty, I always say.

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MRKIA 2 years, 5 months ago

ACCORDING TO MY MATH, THIS "AFFORDABLE" HOUSING WORKS OUT TO WELL OVER 200K PER UNIT. THE CITY COULD HAVE PURCHASED 93 EXISTING HOMES AT 100K EACH FOR 9.3 MIL. AFFORDABLE HOUSING MY A&&!! JUST WAIT UNTIL THE WELFARE QUEENS AND DRUG DEALERS GET IN. STRINGENT QUALIFICATIONS AND BACKGROUND CHECKS SHOULD BE IMPOSED OR WIND UP WITH A HELLHOLE LIKE THE ONE IT REPLACED

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Albanite 2 years, 5 months ago

This is an outrageous waste of tax dollars! Someone should go to jail.

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wilson 2 years, 5 months ago

If this project actually results in an additional $135K to $160K in property taxes per year (and that is a BIG IF) it will take at least 5 years to just recoup the dollars lost/stolen by the Cutliff Grove and Garden projects. Not to mention the countless other expenses these "free" programs cost taxpayers.

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years, 5 months ago

Speaking of Cutliff Grove...whatever happened with that?

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whattheheck 2 years, 5 months ago

I think it is time for the DA to cough up a report from the GBI on the investigation, or give us a status report, or show us a letter asking for the investigation, or perhaps admit that nothing was done. Something is wrong with this one.

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Albanite 2 years, 5 months ago

Just to point out that this "affordable" housing cost $225,806 per unit - about the same as some very nice Albany homes that remain on the market and will now be even tougher to sell.

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TrixibelleBento 2 years, 5 months ago

Let's go back to this community in 5 years and see what it looks like. It looks so pretty right now...nicer than my own house and I paid for that!

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Albanite 2 years, 5 months ago

They could've bought 93 very nice homes with that much money instead of 93 small low-quality units. Disappointed to see BJ in that picture supporting such an incredible waste of tax dollars.

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whattheheck 2 years, 5 months ago

Much of the cost in the projects is not in construction. Rather, it is all the other cost categories and participants in the process getting their part of the pie.

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MRKIA 2 years, 5 months ago

@ALBANITE: WELL THERE ARE AT LEAST TWO PEOPLE WHO GRASP ELEMENTARY MATH BUT I THINK WE MISSED THE MEANING OF "AFFORDABLE" IN ITS "EBONIC" FORM, TO WIT: FOR A PERSON WITH INCOME AT OR BELOW THE POVERTY LINE , A GENERATIONAL WELFARE RECIPIENT OR SOMEONE WITH CREDIT SCORE BELOW 400 TO LIVE IN A $225,000 HOME A THE PRICE WELL BELOW MARKET VALUE IT IS "AFFORDABLE".

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whattheheck 2 years, 5 months ago

The meaning of "affordable" is quite clear-- "I didn't have to pay for it". Things are always more "affordable" to me when someone else picks up the tab, an event that rarely happens for me but seems to happen often for many.

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Albanite 2 years, 5 months ago

Well, what you have with this development is a lot of people with 400 FICO scores living in ninety-three $225,000+ homes. They should not - and likely did not - cost half that much to build.

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Justice4Moma 2 years, 5 months ago

I am like alot of people here.Why not buy up some of the houses on the market.We dont need more apartments just to look like trash in a year or so.But a House,people feel more like it is a home.Give them something to be proud of paying for,and you might just find out that they will care more about the upkeep.It s not like we dont have alot of nice homes that are sitting empty.Make use of what you have before using money you dont have to build something that will be nasty in a while.

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whattheheck 2 years, 5 months ago

If these places are going to be trashy when all services to operate and care for it are provided (maintenance, lawn care, utilities, etc), imagine what houses would look like with no one taking care of it. There are plenty like that now and we don't need more in good neighborhoods.

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Justice4Moma 2 years, 5 months ago

I agree with some of the houses already looking trashie.But Whos fault is that.?The landlords,code inforcement.If people who get paid to do a job would do it like it should be done,and fine landlords,and tenants also,just maybe they would try.I am for giving anyone a chance,and beleave me i have.And was very disapointed with someone who rented my Moms house they trashed bad.But they were on Hud.Now i have a Young lady who lives there,she has some hard times,and i dont mind helping anyone,if they show they deserve it.This young lady is not on Hud,has kids,and works at Wal Mart.But she takes such good care of what my Mom worked so hard for.I guess you are right whattheheack.But I would rather have someone in my Moms home than it sitting empty for all the theives to break in or steal the a/c.We do not need more low income appartments.We need jobs for people,and there are jobs out there,but some will not get off there lazy butts and work.And i always thought iif you were sent to a job,and refused it welfare payments would stop.What happened with that.Ill Tell you,The SO CALLED LEADERS OF ALBANY THAT ONLY SHOW UP FOR THE CAMERAS WHEN SOMETHING GOOD HAPPENS,LIKE OUR MAYOR.sTART AT THE TOP,AND WE COULD SEE CHANGE HERE.

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supersquawker 2 years, 5 months ago

You could buy several 2000+ square feet houses in my neighborhood for less than $225,000 but after thinking about it I'd rather the residents over there in the new places, all together. When you buy and pay full price for things...you tend to take better care of them.

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