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$24 million project brings affordable senior housing to south DeKalb

The county loaned $1.1 million in federal funds to the project. (Courtesy)
The county loaned $1.1 million in federal funds to the project. (Courtesy)

Credit: DeKalb County

Credit: DeKalb County

More affordable housing for seniors is now available in a part of southern DeKalb County experiencing a wave of redevelopment.

DeKalb officials celebrated the grand opening of the $24 million Sterling at Candler Village housing project last week. The 170-unit housing complex, partially financed with public funds, has been in the works for more than 10 years, county community development director Allen Mitchell said. The development’s two buildings sit on a 13-acre campus on Candler Road that is also home to a senior center and library.

Using federal funds, the county loaned the developer $1.1 million to help with the project. The funds also allow the county to inspect records for some units at the development to ensure they remain affordable in the long term.

“This is the largest investment that we’ve made on Candler Road in my 10, 15 years here,” Mitchell said, adding that there is a “big need for affordable housing in that area.”

The two buildings have a total of 170 units.
The two buildings have a total of 170 units.

Credit: DeKalb County

Credit: DeKalb County

The apartments sit along a busy commercial stretch of Candler Road between Glenwood Avenue and McAfee Road just north of I-20. Mitchell said the county anticipates a “significant increase in investments” along the corridor, which is considered a gateway to south DeKalb.

In 2017, developers at The Benoit Group began construction on the buildings, which include about 110 one-bedroom apartments and 60 two-bedroom units. To live in the complex, residents must be seniors who make less than about 60% of the area median income. In metro Atlanta, the median family income is about $79,700, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Candler-McAfee has a median household income of about $39,000, according to the latest Census estimates. Almost one-fifth of population is 65 and older.

The average monthly rents in the development are $784 for the 708-square-foot one-bedroom units and $936 for the two-bedroomswhich are about 950 square feet. But some residents may also use federal project-based vouchers to subsidize some of their rent.

The buildings are already occupied, and there is a waiting list to get a room, according to Mitchell. He thinks it will be a popular location for seniors because the Scott Candler Library and the South DeKalb Community and Senior Center are located next to the apartment buildings on the same property.

“We’ve always encouraged developers to go in areas where there’s a big gap in funding,” Mitchell said. The project, he said, is a good example of a public-private partnership to support affordable housing. He said the county has worked on several similar projects in the past, including one in downtown Decatur, where the county assisted with a private developer to help provide affordable housing.

“We do anticipate more … proposals coming forward,” Mitchell said. “You’re going to be seeing quite a few more.”

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