The Athens Housing Authority and Columbia Residential held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the first phase of Columbia Brookside on April 22, 2015. Columbia Brookside marks the first mixed-income affordable housing in Athens in which a third of the apartments will be public housing, a third tax credit, and a third will be market-rate rents. The new apartment community is being built at the site of the former Jack R. Wells neighborhood.
During the process of deciding whether to modernize the dwelling units at Jack R. Wells or raze them and develop new housing, the Athens Housing Authority discussed the process with residents who were in favor of starting over with a new community. Residents were included in design decisions of the community during planning stages. Residents were transferred to other Athens Housing Authority neighborhoods or provided with a Housing Choice Voucher from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Former Jack R. Wells residents have the opportunity to live at Columbia Brookside when completed.
When completed, the community will include three phases – the 100-unit senior residences and two additional areas for families. Work is progressing on Phase Two and should be completed early in 2016 with Phase 3 to be completed in 2017.
Numerous partners are assisting in the development of Columbia Brookside through the use of tax credits, and public and private funding, including the Athens Housing Authority, Columbia Residental, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Georgia Depart of Community Affairs, and SunTrust Community Capital, and Athens-Clarke County.