The first residents have started moving into a new apartment complex offering Effingham County a quality, affordable housing option.
A few tenants moved in Saturday and more will arrive this week to Goshen Crossing Apartments, according to Bill Rea of Rea Ventures Group LLC, the developer of the 60-unit income-limited complex off Highway 21 in Rincon next to the Goshen Park Commercial Center.
The complex is available to people who do not earn more than 60 percent of the median income in the area. For example, a family of three could make no more than $32,880.
“It’s for people who have jobs and can pay rent; they’re just not making a lot of money,” said Stan Brading, president of the Effingham Goshen Crossing Limited Partnership.
Goshen Crossing is currently leasing its one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Rents start at $425 for a one-bedroom and peak at $605 for a three-bedroom.
“We look at each individual application to determine eligibility,” said site manager Paula Bell.
Along with being affordable, the apartments are EarthCraft certified as energy-, water- and resource-efficient. Each unit is equipped with Energy Star appliances and electrical fixtures, high-efficiency heating and air systems, and water-saving plumbing fixtures. In addition, all Goshen Crossing residents are required to recycle.
Other amenities of the complex include a community building, playground, fitness center and a walking trail. Tenants can also plant in a community garden.
“The apartments are well thought-out, and we think they will last a long time,” Brading said during a recent Effingham County Board of Commissioners meeting.
“The buildings you have down there really look good,” Commissioner Reggie Loper told Brading.
Goshen Crossing is funded through federal and state tax credits, which are sold to limited partner equity investors on the agreement that they keep rents at certain levels and lease only to people whose incomes don’t exceed set maximums. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs designates areas where complexes such as Goshen Crossing are needed, Brading said.
“The developers go where the state says facilities are needed – that’s why we went to Rincon for phase I,” he said. “So many people are coming in, there’s definitely a need for phase II.”
More units planned
With that need in mind, Effingham Goshen Crossing LP is already laying the groundwork to build phase II of the complex, if tax credits are available.
Addressing the Effingham County Board of Commissioners, Brading asked for a resolution from the county supporting construction of phase II, an additional 60 units on property adjacent to phase I.
“If we don’t get the tax credits, we won’t be able to build the project. We get extra points if we get the resolution,” he said.
Brading stressed that the tax credits are an “extremely competitive process, so every little bit helps.” The federal government allots a certain number of tax credits to each state, and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs awards tax credits to about 25 projects each year.
“There are two to three applications for every award granted,” Brading said. “Every county, every city is competing with other projects in other locations to get those tax credits.”
Commissioner Vera Jones supported the project.
“The long-term comprehensive plan said that we need we need more of this type,” she said. “If it didn’t have some assistance, it would not be as nice. It would not be the project we’re looking at.”
Assistant county attorney Elizabeth Pavlis added, “I don’t see a problem with a letter stating we support this kind of project. I don’t see a problem with Effingham County adopting a general resolution supporting affordable housing projects in the county.”
The board approved a letter stating “the Effingham County Commissioners understand the need for additional affordable multi-family housing units and additional affordable housing for senior citizens.”
Brading said he will know in November if phase II of Goshen Crossing will receive tax credits. If so, he anticipates construction to start in April and the apartments to open in December 2013.
Along with the 60 new homes phase II would create, Brading said it would also provide two full-time jobs, 150-170 construction jobs and more than $5 million in construction investment.
For more information about Goshen Crossing, call 826-0180.