A project to turn a blighted corner in Grovtown into an apartment complex with 180 units could be on hold indefinitely.
Columbia County's Development Authority was prepared to issue $8.5 million in bonds on behalf of William Hughes, president of the Alpharetta-based company Bi-Coastal Communities LLC. The company wants to build Grovetown Commons on 13 acres for apartments ranging in size from one to three bedrooms and costing $500-$675 in monthly rents.
But the developer received bad news for the project a few days before the meeting.
"The Department of Community Affairs declined the application for their portion of the project, effectively killing it," Zack Daffin, the county's economic developer said. "What they're (the developers) doing is regrouping and hoping to reapply in six months."
Bi-Coastal Communities needed the DCA's endorsement to qualify for the tax-exempt bonds, which the development authority would not be liable for.
The $13 million project was slated for the intersection of Wrightsboro and Whiskey roads, where a mobile-home park and 108 trailers used to stand.
To qualify for the DCA's approval and the low-income housing tax credit, the developers had to show a need with area residents for more affordable housing.
"It as denied because right now, we're not showing there's a market," said Joy Fitzgerald, director of the agency's affordable housing unit in Atlanta. "We have to make sure there are people for them."
She said there are two other bond deals in the county already utilizing the low-income housing credits - Westwood Apartments in Evans and Wedgewood Apartments in Martinez.
Grovetown Mayor Dennis Trudeau, who has been a supporter of the Grovetown Commons proposal, said he plans to gather more information from Fort Gordon about pay levels of Army privates and forward the numbers to DCA.
"They said that just about everyone in the military are drawing too much pay to be considered a candidate for their apartments," he said. "We're trying to tell them no, there are these citizens that don't make enough money to make the cutoff (for affordable housing)."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.