About a block from the Oakhurst Village, where patrons chat on the patios of Steinbeck’s Ale House and Kavarna while school kids shuffle home unchaperoned, an unremarkable, two-story brick apartment building has been leveled in recent months into a red-clay pit.
But in this coveted section of Decatur—an ITP city where median housing prices have ballooned more than $200,000 since 2014 and new studio apartments can fetch $1,300—the pit won’t yield a row of million-dollar neo-Craftsmans or a pocket of contemporary townhouses.
Rather, what was affordable housing is being swapped with, for a change, affordable housing.
Oakview Walk, as the project is called, is the last piece in a trifecta of revived public housing developments the Decatur Housing Authority says will boost the city’s affordable stock by 9 percent since 2014.
The addition of 43 affordable units, for a total of 518 homes, might not sound seismic. But per 2015 estimates, Decatur proper counted less than 22,000 residents, and 38 percent of them were renters.
In all three cases, the previous public housing was “physically and functionally obsolete,” as DHA officials have put it. The revitalization marks a partnership between DHA and Decatur government leaders that aims to maintain economic diversity in a city where single-family housing prices—in one instance, at least—have crested $2 million.
Doug Faust, DHA executive director, told Curbed Atlanta the Oakhurst project will open in June 2019, with leasing launching next spring. Tax credits are covering the bulk of $5.6 million development costs.
Just how inexpensive will the new Oakhurst rentals be?
Twenty-seven of the 34 homes will be designated affordable housing (that is, reserved for families making up to 60 percent of area median income). One-bedrooms, for that bracket, will rent for between $653 and $784, with the six two-bedrooms ranging between $785 and $942.
Two-bedroom flats at newer, more amenitized apartment communities can fetch more than three times that rent.
The remainder of Oakview Walk rentals—reserved as workforce housing—will be capped in the $1,500 range for the largest units, per the DHA.
The development is replacing the circa-1961 Oakview Apartments, which offered 10 fewer subsidized units on the corner lot.
The earlier two phases of the Trinity Walk initiative saw the overhaul of Gateway Manor—a late 1960s community in the shadow of downtown Decatur—where previous Oakview renters have moved, per the DHA.
The more central Decatur project wrapped its second phase last fall (the first was 100 percent leased a year earlier), with more than 120 apartments and townhomes for qualifying families, plus elderly and disabled residents.