More affordable apartments for seniors are bound for a site just south of the Avondale MARTA station, marking another win for transit-oriented development advocates.

On Friday, representatives with developer Columbia Residential announced the firm’s Senior Residences at Decatur East project had secured a coveted 9-percent Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)—a highly competitive public subsidy—from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to propel the development’s second phase.

The project exemplifies the kind that housing experts say actually deserve public assistance, unlike the many developments that claim tax breaks or other government subsidies when they don’t really need them.

Today, the mixed-income complex has 92 apartments for folks 62 and older. Phase 2 would produce another 80 units, 70 of which would be priced for households earning below 60 percent of the area median income—with 24 of those earmarked for very low-income households, supported by rental assistance from the Decatur Housing Authority (DHA).

Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett said in a press release that this is also the first project to receive funding from the city’s East Decatur Tax Allocation District (TAD) “because the project aligns well with the community’s goals for more affordable and sustainable housing.”

Columbia Residential president Jim Grauley added that this phase of the project “will enable us to deliver additional green-certified senior housing units within a highly coveted, transit-oriented community that is steps away from public transportation and within easy access to a variety of retail, restaurants, and medical facilities.”

The Senior Residences at Decatur East will also feature what the development team calls “market-rate amenities,” such as a fitness center and business center—rare trappings for an affordable housing complex and even more odd for a community that includes subsidized housing.

Construction of Phase 2 is slated to commence next year, with completion planned for 2023, a Columbia Residential representative told Atlanta Civic Circle

This is the first project to earn LIHTC assistance since the Oct. 26 passing of Columbia Residential CEO Noel Khalil, a revered builder and advocate for housing affordability. It seems his legacy of “building cathedrals for God’s children” continues.

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