2018 Winner of the Edson Award for Best in the Public Housing: Columbia Brookside Redevelopment

Columbia Brookside is a completed multi-phased redevelopment that has created a new model for sustainable, mixed-income housing in Athens, Georgia. A new state-of-art affordable and workforce housing community, that replaced all existing public housing units while tripling the overall site density, replaced a distressed former public housing site, and has been a catalyst for broader revitalization while also creating 370 units of much-needed new high-quality affordable housing. This property represents the first public housing transformation and mixed-income development in Athens.

The design elements included reworking a troubled intersection at the entry, new streets and infrastructure, introduction of a prominent senior building at the front of the property, and a town green at the center of the family residential community. The team also designed the site to LEED ND sustainability standards, representing one of the first LEED ND affordable housing projects in Georgia and taking advantage of the beautiful wooded setting. At Columbia Brookside, residents benefit from close proximity to grocery stores, health care and employment, and direct access to public transportation. The property also offers state-of-the-art amenities such as playgrounds, a fitness center, a business center, a theatre for seniors, and ample community space.

A healthy ongoing incorporation of community and supportive services, delivered by Athens Housing and Columbia Property Management, is a critical part of creating a successful mixed-income community. Columbia Residential’s Resident Services Team focuses on providing an array of activities and services that improve residents’ overall quality of life. Educational and health and wellness programs are designed to promote continuing education opportunities, healthy mind and body practices, and active resident engagement. Direct referral services are designed to connect residents with available community resources and establish community partner network systems to support individual resident needs.

The project utilized three allocations of federal and state Housing Credits, leveraged by private construction and permanent loans through SunTrust Bank, in addition to HOME and PHA funds in subordinate loans. Roughly $39 million in Housing Credit equity was provided by SunTrust Community Capital.

The new community has brought positive change to the area by replacing blighted apartments with a state-of-the-art community while providing public housing residents access to quality affordable housing.

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