Hunt Cos., Oakwood Break Ground on Atlanta Mixed-Use Project

The $166 million Herndon Square is being developed across five phases on a former public housing site.

Herndon Square. Image courtesy of Hunt Cos.

Hunt Cos. and Oakwood Development Group have begun construction of the first phase of Herndon Square, a $166 million five-phase mixed-income and mixed-use development that is set to deliver hundreds of affordable housing units to Atlanta’s Westside.

The community, which will have a variety of building types and bedroom sizes for single professionals, families and seniors, is being built on the 12.3-acre site of the former Herndon Homes public housing community.

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The first phase of the project, Herndon Square Seniors, will include 97 affordable units for seniors 62 and older who earn up to 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). It will have five ADA-compliant accessible units and two units for households with hearing or visual impairments. Phase I, located at Cameron Madison Alexander Boulevard and Northside Drive, will also offer free services to tenants, including organized social gatherings, senior-focused enrichment classes and health/nutrition-focused educational courses. It is slated to be completed by spring 2021.

The financial closing for Phase I occurred on December 18. Hunt Capital Partners, the syndication division of Hunt Cos., facilitated the investment of $12.7 million in federal and state low-income housing tax credits through its multi-investor fund, Hunt Capital Partners Tax Credit Fund 31. The $24 million development budget was also financed by tax-exempt bonds issued by Invest Atlanta and a ground lease first and second priority mortgage from Atlanta Housing. Atlanta Housing will also provide project-based rental assistance for all of the units under its HomeFlex subsidy program.

Public-Private Partnership

Tiffany Wills, vice president of real estate development at Atlanta Housing, said in a prepared statement that because Atlanta Housing owns the land it was able to have funds available to provide construction and permanent financing at competitive rates. Those factors, she said, allowed the housing authority to design a financial structure that supported the construction and operation of all the units in Phase I. Wills also called the plan an example of how public-private partnerships can secure long-term affordable housing in the city.

Phases I through IV will include Land Use Restrictive Covenants to secure affordability for units at the site for a minimum of 30 to 40 years. The development, which is expected to be completed in 2027, includes plans for approximately 681 rental units and 32 for-sale townhomes in Phase V. The plan calls for 45 percent of those units to be affordable for households earning up to 80 percent of AMI. Qualifying homebuyers earning less than 80 percent AMI will receive down payment assistance up to $25,000 from Atlanta Housing.

When completed, Herndon Square will also have green space, approximately 36,500 square feet of retail and a 10,000-square-foot health and wellness space.

Hunt affiliates involved in the development include Hunt Development Group as master developer and Hunt Capital Partners who secured the LIHTC financing for Phase I. Pennrose, which develops and operates multifamily communities throughout the East and Midwest, will manage the development of the senior and affordable units. Envolve, formerly known as LEDIC Realty Co., will act as property manager.

Active in Affordable Housing

Hunt Capital and Pennrose also worked together on Gateway Pointe 1, a mixed-income community in Warner Robins, Ga., that opened in November. Part of the financing for Pennrose’s 90-unit multifamily development, was provided via federal and state tax credits syndicated by Hunt Capital.

Last month, Pennrose and the Chattanooga Housing Authority began redevelopment of the Emerald Villages and Cromwell Hills apartment properties in Chattanooga, Tenn., that will redevelop a total of 311 units between the two aging multifamily properties.

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