THOMASVILLE -- Liz Crockett said she got a sense of just how badly affordable rental housing is needed in Thomasville when she recently moved here from the New Jersey shore.
After living in an area where a one-bedroom apartment can run about $1,000 each month, she was excited to see three-bedroom houses advertised at $300 monthly, she said. After looking at the houses, she realized why they were so cheap.
"You drive by and you see it's in total disrepair. Ones of quality are few and far between," she said of the properties. "Here, it seems like there's no middle ground."
For about 100 families trying to make ends meet on low to moderate incomes, there will soon be another housing choice in Thomasville. Hunter's Chase Apartments, located on Old Albany Road near Plantation Oak Industrial Park, is offering 89 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments at below market rent for those who qualify. The remaining 23 of the 112 units will be rented at market value.
The complex -- which will consist of 14 two-story buildings, a clubhouse, a swimming pool, a volleyball court, a playground and a picnic area -- will be gated. Every apartment will have Berber carpeting, energy-efficient appliances, a dishwasher, a garbage disposal and washer and dryer hookups. The clubhouse will contain gym equipment and a computer lab.
"These are luxury apartments," said Crockett, the property manager at Hunter's Chase. "These are not slapped together."
Potential residents must have verifiable income, said Crockett. They also must provide references from previous landlords and agree to checks on their credit and criminal histories.
A single person living alone who earns $9,600 a year or less could rent a one-bedroom apartment at Hunter's Chase for $173 a month. A two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment for a household of three people where the annual income is between $12,300 and $20,500 would cost $404 a month. The apartments can be offered at the discounted rate, said Crockett, because of rental housing tax credits, financial incentives for developers who construct or rehabilitate rental housing developments for low-income people. The tax credit income and rent limits are based on the area's median income, which, for this area, is about $45,000.
Project Superintendent Robert Banker works for Summit Contractors, the construction management company assigned to the project. He was on the job site Monday and said the first apartments will be rented in October if the weather starts cooperating. The recent rain has slowed construction and turned the ground into a mud pit. Construction should be completed by the end of the year.
City council member Roy Campbell said the city is pleased. Apartments tend to be on the expensive side here, he said, and rental houses tend to be in poor condition.
"I think there's a tremendous need for it," said Campbell of the lower-priced apartments. "For those who can't afford real expensive apartments and who, because of one reason or another, do not own a home, this gives them something that's kind of a step between. This gives them a nicer surrounding."
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