Marietta Housing Authority looks to build new 80-unit senior community on Roselane Street

Mar. 12—The Marietta Housing Authority hopes to build a new, 80-unit senior community at 343 Roselane Street, on a 2.3-acre parcel just south of its intersection with Tower Street and about a half mile from Wellstar Kennestone Hospital.

The authority's board unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday authorizing Executive Director Pete Waldrep to move forward with the project. Several hours later, Marietta City Council did much the same, rezoning the property in question for residential use. The city Planning Commission, in an unanimous vote, recommended approval of the project before it went to City Council.

As proposed, Roselane will have one- and two-bedroom apartments. Approximately 62% of units would be one-bedroom. The project would be owned by a limited partnership between the MHA and Prestwick Companies. Rent would be between $750-1,050 for one-bedrooms and $920-1,250 for two-bedrooms.

Several residents spoke against the rezoning at the City Council meeting, saying the project could negatively affect property values, interfere with a nearby creek and increase traffic.

Representatives for MHA and their partner, Prestwick Companies, said the traffic increase would be low due to seniors driving less than the average adult does. Stream buffer issues are typically addressed after the rezoning process, Public Works Director Mark Rice said in response to a question from Councilwoman Michelle Cooper Kelly.

Another argument made by nearby property owners and their lawyer, Steven Early, was that the land may be needed for medical use in the future, as there is a large concentration of doctor's offices in the area surrounding Kennestone. Edrick Harris of Prestwick Companies argues the proximity to medical facilities actually made the location ideal for seniors, and that opponents of the rezoning were really just worried that MHA was "messing with their investment opportunity."

The Council approved the rezoning 5-1-1, with Joseph Goldstein opposed and Reggie Copeland abstaining.

Featuring 76 to 80 units, the four-story building would include a community room with a kitchen, a fitness center, a business center with computers, a furnished library, a community garden, a wellness room, interior gathering areas, a laundry room and a gazebo and picnic area.

An application must now be submitted to the state Department of Community Affairs, to be judged on a points-based system. MHA Capital Fund Manager Noel Taylor believes the project will score well, as it would be a short walk from transit, several parks and the hospital.

MHA will likely submit the application in May. It would then receive a preliminary score in August or September and hear in November whether DCA approved the project through the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program.

Taylor also updated board members on MHA's other affordable senior housing projects at the meeting.

MHA projects provide two types of affordable housing to Cobb County seniors — Low-Income Housing Tax Credit units (LIHTC, often referred to as Section 42 housing) and project-based vouchers (PBV, which is part of the Section 8 housing program). The rent for LIHTC units is based off the Area Median Income. PBV vouchers are generally cheaper and more coveted, Taylor said, as they are usually pegged at 30% of the renter's income. MHA subsidizes the difference between the renter's income and the fair market rent.

Taylor said each project that contains PBV units has a waiting list of hundreds of seniors seeking the more affordable option. Most on the waiting list are Cobb Countians, he said, and many are on several of the lists, seeking any PBV unit they can find.

The Roselane project will have 20 PBV units, with the rest being LIHTC.

Another MHA affordable senior housing project, The Banberry, was successfully selected by the Georgia DCA to receive LIHTC last fall, Taylor said. It will be located on Cobb Parkway in Marietta. The project will feature 73 units, 23 of which will be PBV, Taylor said. MHA plans to close the property sale before the end of March and begin construction by September. Formerly the site of a bowling alley, MHA still needs approval from the City of Marietta to divide the property into two parcels.

Bond closing occurred in late February for Meredith Park, a 141-unit senior housing project on Powder Springs Road in south Cobb. Construction is now underway. Meredith Park features 20 PBV units.

McEachern Village, an all-LIHTC affordable senior unit project, has finished leasing all of its units. It is locatd on Old Villa Rica Road in Powder Springs.

Construction has finished on The Adrian Apartments on Austell Road. An all-LIHTC project, it has leased 97 of its 175 units. MHA hopes it will be fully occupied by the end of May.

Phase 2 of Walton Ridge Apartments is underway. One of the three Phase 2 buildings is still under construction — MHA hopes it will be finished by March 15. The project has leased 100% of its first phase, which had 80 units. The three Phase 2 buildings will hold 171 units, 54% of which are already leased. MHA is providing 87 PBC vouchers for the project.

Finally, the Legacy at Walton Heights — Phase 2 is under construction. Residents for the first, 90-unit phase began moving on March 8, with MHA providing 27 PBV vouchers. For Phase 2, 61% of units are pre-leased.