March 24, 2008
Every one associated with Sustainable Fellwood seems downright giddy when they talk about the project. “The Department of Community Affairs is looking at this project as a model,” says Denis Blackburne, chief financial officer for Melaver Inc.
The DCA is helping to fund the first phase of Fellwood with $8 million in tax credits awarded back in September. It is a somewhat complicated process, but developers sell the tax credits to banks and corporations in exchange for capitol to pay for building affordable housing. Blackburne and the rest of the team are already working on getting more from DCA for phases II and III. They will seek an endorsement from Savannah City Council this Thursday in advance of applying for the second round of credits in May.
Neighbors haven’t seen much on the site between Richard Street and West Bay Street since the old Housing Authority of Savannah buildings came down in the summer of 06. Blackburne says that will change soon. “You’ll see bricks and mortar on that site the end of this summer. Somewhere between the end of August and early September is when we plan to break ground. You’ll see some activity on the site before then when the city starts to put in the infrastructure streets all the utilities.”
Blackburne expects that work to begin in June. He says families could start moving into the first phase of affordable apartments by the end of 2009.
Melaver Inc. and the rest of the partners behind plans for a new affordable housing development in West Savannah aim to begin construction this summer. The first families could move into what’s called Sustainable Fellwood late in 2009.