Albany Housing Authority Executive Director Dan McCarthy laid out his vision to transform the McIntosh Homes and Golden Age public housing sites into a strong mixed-income community to the Dougherty County Rotary Club on Tuesday. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)
ALBANY — Albany Housing Authority (AHA) Executive Director Dan McCarthy spoke to the Dougherty County Rotary Club on Tuesday and laid out his vision for “The Oaks at North Intown” neighborhood transformation plan. His vision is clear — revitalize the McIntosh Homes and Golden Age public housing sites to create a strong, mixed income community in Albany’s most distressed neighborhood.
“The vision is to transform the neighborhood into mixed income housing where people will want to live,” McCartney said. “The idea is to entirely transform the neighborhood.”
According to McCartney, the revitalization of the McIntosh Homes, Golden Age and West Central Albany is intended to replace deteriorated and physically obsolete public housing with a new market-quality, mixed income community that provides real housing choices for residents.
It also is intended to enhance existing housing, strengthen access to neighborhood retail and create linkages that support educational, health and wellness and employment opportunities.
“The planning for the Oaks at North Intown is about so much more than housing,” McCartney said. “Our goal is to foster the growth of a healthy and diverse community.”
The razing of the iconic ‘blue houses” scattered along North Madison Street to Residence Avenue last summer was the first tangible signs of making that vision a reality. The project, McCarthy said, revolves around HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Planning program. The AHA’s plan is broken into two phases — Phase I involves the razing and rebuilding of 60 “off-site” multi-family units and the building of 41 new single-bedroom units for a total of 101 units. Total cost is estimated at nearly $15 million.
While the ‘blue house’ lots sit vacant, McCarthy said the AHA has enlisted the service of co-developers Hunt Inc., out of El Paso, Texas, and the Boulevard Group of Atlanta to help with the project.
“We plan on applying in June for state and federal low-income housing tax credits which we are hoping will be attractive to investors,” McCarthy said. “We expect to hear about those applications in September or October. We feel good about the applications because we have high-quality co-developers. We plan on using two-thirds of that money to cover construction costs.”
Phase II, the Oaks at North Intown project, will involve the razing and rebuilding of 252 McIntosh Homes and Golden Age units. That cost is estimated at $34 million. McCarthy said the second phase will be paid for by a combination of Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants and the remainder from other sources, primarily Low Income Housing Tax equity.