By Tia Lynn Ivey
A new affordable housing development for seniors is opening in Madison as part of the city’s long-time vision to redevelop the West Washington Gateway.
Silver Lakes Court is a new senior housing development in Madison. The City of Madison has watched this property emerge next to Wellington Park at the entrance to the West Washington Street Gateway Redevelopment area. The ownership and development team is comprised of The Woda Group, Inc., a national affordable housing developer based out of Columbus, Ohio and Parallel Housing and non-profit entity from Athens, Georgia. Here are some facts about Silver Lakes Court.
The property has 44 units for rent for seniors aged 55 years and better. There are 28 one-bedroom and 16 two-bedroom units. The amenities will include a multipurpose room, a community garden, a fully equipped fitness room, and a computer lab.
“There are two things that make this project special,” said Dennis Blackburne, Senior Vice President for Woda, based in Savannah. “The cooperation with the City of Madison and the fact that this is the first LEED Certified development in Madison.”
The City of Madison and the City’s Downtown Development Authority have in fact worked with this development team over several years to find the right location and develop the right property for Madison. Gregg Bayard, Co-Director of Parallel Housing, Inc. claimed “We knew the market for such housing was there, we just needed to find the right location in Madison. This was our third attempt and we are thrilled with this location.” The property is scheduled to have its first tenants move in this September and lease-up is going well. “The two-bedroom units are already fully rented” said local Property Manager Peggy Stidham. “Everybody is excited about moving into a brand new building with historic charm.”
Collaboration with the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation also allowed for the renovation of the John T. Turnell historic home situated right at the corner of West Jefferson Street and Fifth Street intersection. “This involved a lot of cooperation with the City to make sure we could retain the historic feel of the building yet create an efficient space for our leasing office and computer room for our tenants” said Bayard.
“Silver Lakes Court is remarkable for any community. It is certainly thrilling for a small town rich in history yet with a narrow range of housing opportunities,” remarked Planning and Commmunity Development Director Monica Callahan. “With help from the Athens Land Trust, the city was able to pilot its innovative land use tool (Transfer of Development Rights program) as well as court a community-friendly and environmentally-conscious developer.”
According to Blackburne, Silver Lakes Court is being built to meet LEED standards, and projected to achieve a Gold certification. It will be the first LEED development in Madison. A LEED development benefits the tenants as the property will have excellent insulation with an energy efficient air conditioning and heating system. Other features include EnergyStar appliances, low flow water fixtures, ceiling fans, energy efficient lighting and Eco-Friendly construction materials. Curry Wadsworth, Parallel Housing’s other Co-Director reminds us that “Getting the LEED designation is an extra cost for the developer but it provides a third party verification that this truly is an energy efficient property resulting in lower costs and has a healthier livable environment for our tenants.”
Blackburne added “It was important for the City of Madison to retain the historic feel of the neighborhood and therefore keep the size of the building in scope and in harmony with the surrounding community. With the LEED designation we are giving additional benefits to the tenants as well as helping safeguard the environment.”
There is a lot of redevelopment underway in the neighborhood surrounding Silver Lakes Court and it is expected that this new property will trigger additional activity in the community.
“Madison continues to be proactive and reap the benefits of participating in the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing, bringing vital housing options and lessons home for our community,” shared Callahan.