Norcross racing to quadruple number of public, affording housing units at one site
By David Pendered
The Norcross Housing Authority plans to demolish a 1960s-era housing project to build an apartment complex that is to more than quadruple the number of units of public housing, market-rate workforce housing and affordable housing units.
Plans call for removing 15 buildings that provide 44 residences. They are to be replaced with three structures that are to provide up to 180 residences, according to the zoning application presented Wednesday to the Norcross Planning and Zoning Board. Expected price points in the new units were not specified.
The existing structures were built as public housing in about 1961 and the city has deemed them functionally obsolete, according to records in the application package.
Time is of the essence for the authority to secure city approval for the project. An application to the state for federal tax credits that would provide construction financing is due in May. The project is proposed as a joint development of Norcross Housing Authority and its partner, Walton Homes.
Because of the deadline, the city has modified its approval process for the project. One such change involved moving the architectural review from the early to the late stages of the review process. The mayor and City Council could vote as early as April 4, according to a schedule in the application.
Norcross is seeking construction funding from a fiercely competitive federal funding program managed in Georgia by the state Department of Community Affairs. In 2021, DCA issued 30 awards from a pool of 67 applications, according to a Feb. 16 report from DCA on the 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.
“The LIHTC 9 percent program requirements for this year’s funding cycle mirror the project that they are proposing,” the application observes. “Program funding criteria in the DCA program change from year to year and it may be a number of years before funding criteria match this project again.”
This year, Georgia has an estimated $30.3 million in federal tax credits to allocate, according to a report from Novogradac. The national professional services firm specializes in tax credits of multiple types.
Together with its development partner, Walton Homes, the housing authority intends to boost the density of the existing housing project.
The 5.8-acre site is located on Garner Street, near Summerour Middle School, which is near the intersection of Beaver Ruin Road and Buford Highway. The existing 15, one-story residences range in size from 1,000 square feet to 2,200 square feet. The development has a playground and is accessed through a private drive.
The purpose of the project is to benefit residents, according to the application.
“The zoning proposal made by the Norcross Housing Authority is representative of their desire to improve the lives of their residences by delivering a unique community with improved amenities and connections to the larger community of Norcross,” the application observes. “The age and condition of the existing facilities combined with a desire to serve more residents is the primary motivation behind the zoning request. The approval of this zoning request will allow the Housing Authority to pursue the financing for the project.”