By Tia Lynn Ivey
A new “work-force affordable housing” project is underway, as city leaders and developers gathered last Friday for the Canaan Crossing groundbreaking on Wheat Street in Madison.
Local leaders are hoping the new townhouse and apartment complex will provide a feasible option for those who want to work in Madison, but cannot currently afford to live here.
Canaan Crossing is part of the effort to revitalize the Canaan neighborhood.
Construction will now begin on the 60-unit low-to-moderate income housing development to be built on a 10-acre plot located at 1180 Wheat Street. The plot of land is located in the Northwest corner of March and Wheat Streets. The development will be comprised of affordably-priced townhouses.
Madison Mayor Fred Perriman attended the groundbreaking along with Madison City Councilwoman Carrie Peters-Reid; Jill Cromartie, Division Director, Housing Finance & Development, Georgia Department of Community Affairs; Gregg Bayard, Parallel Housing, Inc.; Denis Blackburne, Woda Cooper Companies, Inc.; and members of Madison’s Downtown Development Authority.
“This will benefit our city,” said Perriman earlier this year. “I think we all know how important it is to have affordable homes in our community now.”
“I look forward to Canaan Crossing being a great asset to the city of Madison and District one. Canaan Crossing will be located in a mile of retail, restaurants and churches.. workforce housing it’s really needed in the city of Madison,” said Councilwoman Carrie Peters-Reid, who also praised the developers’ positive track record in Madison. “We have worked with Woda and Parallel Housing before. A few years back WODA and Parallel constructed the Silver Lakes, a senior housing community, here in Madison Georgia,” said Reid. “It is a great looking, well-kept facility for our senior citizens.”
Back in October, the Madison Mayor and City Council annexed 10 acres into the city and rezoned the land as “R1,”which is the zoning designation for Large Lot Residential, to make the Canaan Crossing development possible. The city’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) used its zoning flexibility privileges for the new land to build the townhouse community.
The project is the brainchild of the city’s Downtown Development Authority, which purports the new rental properties will add $12 million to the city’s tax base while offering tenants affordable rent prices between $400-$650 per month. Now that the land for the project as been acquired and annexed into the city, the permitting process for the townhouse project can begin.
“Different employers in the community are excited about this because it’s going to offer up housing for these people,” said City Councilman Ed Latham last year. “Right now, they can’t get anyone to come live here because they can’t find any affordable rental properties.”
The lack of affordable housing has been an issue for years, according to city leaders. “This townhouse community is exactly what the city needs to give our young professionals and working-class people a nice place to live in our city that they can afford,” said Perriman last year.
According to Karen Bernick, director of Corporate Communications, co-developers Parallel Housing, Inc. and Woda Cooper Companies, Inc. will provide a long-term lease for the land where Canaan Crossing is located in an effort to boost economic development in the area. Funding for the $13 million property is supported through federal and state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) allocated by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. CREA LLC is a tax credit investor and Summit Community Bank will provide the construction loan.
“[The groundbreaking] highlights the need for new affordable family housing and Canaan Crossing is being built in Madison for area households earning up to 60 percent area median income,” explained Bernick. “Canaan Crossing will be a campus-like setting with a large green space between eight buildings. The development, which is expected to achieve LEED certification, will offer eight one-bedroom, 32 two-bedroom, and 20 three-bedroom units. A community center will include an onsite management/leasing office, multipurpose community room with kitchenette, and laundry facility. In addition, there will be dedicated space available to provide private preventive wellness screening & education. There will be a playground, community gardens, and a covered picnic area with tables and grills.”
Parallel Housing, Inc. is a nonprofit developer based in Athens that creates sustainable, affordable multifamily housing for seniors and families. Founded in 2002, Parallel Housing currently has 10 properties in Georgia and one in Kentucky. Woda Cooper Companies, Inc. and its affiliates specialize in the development, design, construction, and management of high-quality affordable multi-family apartments, senior communities, and single-family homes. The company has operations in 15 states and a portfolio of approximately 350 communities and more than 14,000 units.