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Residential Real Estate

State Awards $15 Million for Affordable Housing in Savannah

10/12/2009 – The Georgia Department of Community Affairs announced recently that two major affordable housing developments in Savannah will be the recipients of competitive tax credits expected to bring in more than $15 million for the projects.

City council was notified that Savannah Gardens, planned along Pennsylvania Avenue on Savannah's eastside, will receive tax credits that will generate up to $8 million to build more than 115 affordable rental units. In all, the $100 million development will transform the former Strathmore Estates into up to 130 single-family homes and 440 mixed-income rental units.

Sustainable Fellwood, off West Bay Street on Savannah's westside, will receive tax credits with an estimated value of $7 million. The money will be used to help construct up to 100 units of affordable senior housing. In all, the development includes 320 mixed-income rental units and 13 single-family homes.

The tax credits are sold on the open market, which results in capital funding for affordable housing projects that meet specific criteria set by the Department of Community Affairs. The State awarded tax credits in 2009 to only about a third of the more than 65 applications received across the State. Of those projects, Savannah Gardens was ranked third highest in Georgia; Sustainable Fellwood was ranked sixth.

"The awards for both projects in the same community is yet another example of our quality housing partnerships and planning that is favorably recognized in the state and national housing industry," City Manager Michael Brown said. "This further advances our efforts to provide decent, safe and affordable housing for our citizens."

The State DCA scored both projects high in part because of the high level of community support for the projects, the fact that both applications were endorsed by City Council, and because of the unique public-private partnerships involved.

At Savannah Gardens, the City of Savannah is building infrastructure and parks, providing technical expertise, and offering funding assistance, while the nonprofit CHSA Development Inc. serves as master developer, and the nonprofit Mercy Housing developing the affordable rental units. Construction of the housing units is expected to begin early next summer.

Sustainable Fellwood is a Housing Authority of Savannah project, which will result in the redevelopment of the former Fellwood Homes site. Infrastructure and parks are being built by the City, with the private Melaver Inc. serving as master developer. Phase I is now complete, with Phase II under way.

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