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Development Authority approves bonds for affordable apartment complex
Development Authority

With several votes, the Peaks of Dawsonville apartment complex advanced one step closer to becoming a reality.

During a special called meeting, the Development Authority of Dawson County’s directors formally greenlit a resolution for $10 million in tax-exempt bonds to help finance the forthcoming residential project. 

“It’s the first revenue bond we’ve done to help the living-wage housing effort in the county,” said DADC chair Tony Passarello. “Today, we’ve made history.”

The 80 multi-family apartment homes will be located on about 14.3 acres near the Ga. 400-Ga. 53 intersection at 65 North 400 Center Lane. Construction is expected to start the first week of October. 

Atlanta-based firm Landbridge Development proposed the project in 2019. The company and company principal, Gary Hammond, will be part-owners, along with the complex’s limited liability company. Fairway Management Co., who has previously worked with Landbridge, will manage the development’s daily operations. 

At the March 19, 2019 meeting, the Dawson County Planning Commission approved a variance and re-zoning ordinance request for the apartment complex. During the June 2020 DADC meeting, Hammond gave a detailed presentation about the project. Its value was at $16.8 million. 

On July 28, 2020, the first public hearing was held about the bonds. No public comments were offered at that time. Then on Sept. 3, 2020, the Board of Commissioners approved DADC to move forward with the resolution to issue the bonds to the Peaks of Dawsonville. That approval had to be renewed in Sept. 2021 since it only lasted for a year. 

The second legally-required public comment meeting was held on Aug. 24, 2021.

Wednesday’s meeting also served as a time to approve interest rates for the bonds, which are .28 percent. An issuance fee of $25,000 will be paid out of the $10 million and directed back to the DADC since it was not deducted on the front end. The bonds will mature on October 1, 2023. 

Apartment costs and amenities

Market analysis firm, Bowen National Research, prepared a feasibility study for the Peaks of Dawsonville. The firm specifically cited how the complex could be developed by accessing funds from the state Department of Community Affairs’ Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. 

his dollar-for-dollar tax credit encourages private equity usage to create affordable housing options for low-income Americans, according to the 2019 report. 

The Peaks of Dawsonville will target a portion of its units to lower-income families who earn 50 and 60 percent of the Area Median Household Income (AMHI). 

The complex will have 12 one-bedroom, 40 two-bedroom and 28 three-bedroom units spread across five two-story, walkup residential buildings. 

Each apartment will have a full-size, Energy Star washer and dryer. Other amenities will include a stove, refrigerator, microwave, garbage disposal, dishwasher, ceiling fan, central air conditioning, patio or balcony and outside storage closets. 

The forthcoming 1,735-square-foot community building will feature a kitchenette, wellness center and gym areas. Outdoor amenities will include a playground, picnic pavilion with a grilling area and a community garden. Passarello said that the development will also entail a passive park on its outskirts. 

He added once the complex opens, its management will have a responsibility to report federal compliance with housing a proportion of lower-income residents and connecting them with services like healthcare, exercise or transportation. 

After two years of having different stages approved, Hammond voiced his excitement to start building during a call with DCN. In particular, he was pleased with the prospect of having food service, retail and other proximate workers live closer to their jobs, cutting down commute times. 

“I went into the Burger King [in front of the development] the other day to introduce myself to our neighbors,” Hammond said. “I was talking to one of the workers, and they said they wanted to be the first resident.” 

The complex’s construction is slated to finish in November 2022.