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City tries to fill new Heritage Pine homes built as part of Laney-Walker/Bethlehem revitalization project

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More than two years after the October 2009 ground-breaking for Heritage Pine’s model home, just five houses and half of a duplex are occupied. Construction continues, however, on more houses on Pine and 11th streets to expand the flagship development of the massive Laney-Walker revitalization efforts.

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More than two years after the October 2009 groundbreaking for Heritage Pine's model home, just five houses and one-half of a duplex are occupied. But construction continues to build more houses on Pine and 11th streets.  JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
More than two years after the October 2009 groundbreaking for Heritage Pine's model home, just five houses and one-half of a duplex are occupied. But construction continues to build more houses on Pine and 11th streets.

Augusta’s Housing and Community Development Department said it originally planned to sell houses before building them. When demand appeared to outpace supply, they started building without buyers lined up.

“We want to make sure we have a product for anyone who walks in the door,” said Hawthorne Welcher, the assistant housing director.

Now, five more houses are under construction, bringing the total of new homes in Heritage Pine to 18. According to Welcher, three Pine Street homes are under contract and three Florence Street duplexes need renters. The model home, 1116 Laney-Walker Blvd, also sits empty.

The fifth Heritage Pine homeowner, Chawnette Boyd, moved in Dec. 23, just in time to celebrate Christmas with her 4-year-old daughter. A first-time homeowner who lived in rental properties for years, Boyd called her green two-story house her “dream home.”

“I wanted to be in the city but on the good side of the city,” she said.

According to advertisements, Heritage Pine should eventually encompass at least 44 homes, including new houses and historic renovations marketed as costing between $110,000 and $210,000.

The city is trying to offset selling costs and attract buyers by offering interest-free loans to assist with closing costs and down payments. Also, the Florence Street duplexes, two of which have been sold to community development partner Antioch Ministries Inc., are available for low-income tenants with a household income 50 percent or below the area’s median income.

A map for Heritage Pine available on its Web site shows future homes and renovations interspersed with existing homes on 11th Street from Laney-Walker Boulevard to Wrightsboro Road. According to county property records, the Augusta Land Bank Authority has purchased at least 40 properties in the vicinity, including 20 on Pine Street.

In 2009, the Land Bank bought 1207 Pine St. for $22,000 when the market value was $5,544. The first resident of Pine Street moved into a new 1,400-square-foot house that sold for $117,900 on that site last March. Two other Pine Street houses sold for $120,500 and $148,732.

Welcher said that a timeline for completing the project hasn’t been set but that they will build to keep up with the market. While construction continues, Boyd – whose aspirations include becoming homeowner association president – sees a crime-free city block where neighbors call one another by name.

“I love to come home,” she said. “The outside is beautiful. The inside is immaculate.”

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Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 01/13/12 - 06:39 pm
0
0
If you have a neighborhood

If you have a neighborhood with 13 speculative properties sitting with no activity, you have a serious problem. Why is the city in the real estate and construction business; where does the construction funding come from? The city finances the sales?

They sold 5 1/2 properties in 2 years = project not working

"In 2009, the Land Bank purchased 1207 Pine St. for $22,000 when the market value was $5,544." WHAT? Can I sell you some property?

Am I all by myself here, anybody?

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 01/13/12 - 06:55 pm
0
0
"...Also, the Florence Street

"...Also, the Florence Street duplexes, two of which have been sold to community development partner Antioch Ministries, Inc., ARE AVAILABLE FOR LOW-INCOME TENANTS (emphasis mine) with a household income 50 percent or below the area’s median income..."

Gee, section eight housing to start out; now that's a real selling point! WB, maybe we can go in on a used FEMA trailer for $49.95. We sould be able to sell it to the city for a cool half mill or so.... ?

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 01/13/12 - 07:08 pm
0
0
Hey, dstwartsr, you've got

Hey, dstwartsr, you've got a plan; let's get two of them.

dichotomy
37494
Points
dichotomy 01/13/12 - 10:33 pm
0
0
"In 2009, the Land Bank

"In 2009, the Land Bank purchased 1207 Pine St. for $22,000 when the market value was $5,544."

Geez, this would be funny if it wasn't true. Maybe they are financing all of this with their investments in Solyndra or something. The Land Bank.....is that another term for taxpayer money?

Hey you clowns! Why don't you build some of this stuff south of Spirit Creek. I've got some land I will sell you for the bogus Tax Value. You can sure have all you want at $22,000 a building lot. I thought the county was crazy for paying $10K an acre for the 4 acres they bought to build the water plant out here but $22K for a $5K property? You guys take the cake for stupid. Which one of our elected officials or members of the cabal owned that lot?

countyman
21632
Points
countyman 01/13/12 - 10:54 pm
0
0
The construction of Heritage

The construction of Heritage Pine may have started in 2009, but 2009-2010 was mostly used for studying and planning... There may have been a total of 1-2 homes built in 2009..

Five houses are underway, and can't be moved into at the moment.. If 5 homes are already occupied, and three are under contract that's good news.. Only five completed homes are empty then.. Keep in mind these are $100k-$200k dollar homes in Laney Walker..

Heritage Pine is only one of the six targeted areas..

Heritage Pine and Holley Street Commons(underway)..
Foundry Place and Twiggs Circle.. Breaking ground 2012
East Mill Village and The Boulevard... Future developments

Not to mention the future projects of Beluah Grove, and House of Prayer.. The Laney Walker Bethlehem redevelopment is doing good, and continues to receive national and state recognition..

William Sankey of Harvard used the quote ''game-changing national model for public-private redevelopment..

The Heritage Pine neighborhood received the Georgia Planning Association's 2011 Outstanding Plan Implementation..
https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:x6ekXXyLEeAJ:www.augustaga.go...

Then you have this article..
Augusta, Georgia: A Green Masters Jacket for the City?

Then finally being one of seven cities in the US chosen the American Institute of Architect to receive design and implementation assistance..
http://www.aia.org/about/initiatives/AIAS075426

The Laney Walker-Bethlehem redevelopment will be presented at the 2012(Feb 2nd-4th) New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in San Diego.. The session is called “Restoring the American City: Augusta, GA and Laney Walker/Bethlehem.”
http://www.newpartners.org/

countyman
21632
Points
countyman 01/14/12 - 02:26 am
0
0
Are you paid to be negative

Are you paid to be negative about everything??

mike71345
75
Points
mike71345 01/14/12 - 02:36 am
0
0
"Also, the Florence Street

"Also, the Florence Street duplexes, two of which have been sold to community development partner Antioch Ministries Inc., are available for low-income tenants with a household income 50 percent or below the area’s median income."
How many of the houses, not the rental units, are also designated solely for low-income families, since many (if not all) these houses were built using funds from the HOME Investment Partnership program? I'm wondering because you make a distinction between the "low-income rental units" and the houses. Are they not low-income, or 'affordable', houses?
The contracts between the builder and the city along with the planned disbursement of the HOME funds can be found at the city/county's website.

Riverman1
93734
Points
Riverman1 01/14/12 - 05:11 am
0
0
Willow, exactly. When are

Willow, exactly. When are going to stop throwing hundreds of millions into the old city area? The rest of the county is tired of wasting money.

dichotomy
37494
Points
dichotomy 01/14/12 - 08:11 am
0
0
countyman.....we are just

countyman.....we are just tired of hearing about, and paying for, "revitalization". While all efforts and most of our tax money is going to downtown areas, we see the rest of the county deteriorating, particularly the south side. It is classic wealth redistribution but the people you are taking money from are not wealthy. The solidly middle and lower middle class "county" residents are paying for all of this "city" revitalization and we have been paying for 15 years. We are sick and tired of hearing the words revitalization and redevelopment. Most of the "revitalization" is nothing more than taxpayer subsidized welfare for the "city" residents and a few select "money men" who benefit from the taxpayer of $millions we so freely give away to the "Riverfront" cabal. Seems like the only growth in this county that isn't taxpayer funded is out on Dyess Parkway. You are building commercial buildings for already rich people downtown and you are tearing out and building new neighborhoods downtown but you expect us to be satisfied with a couple of trails and a park. Okay great, we got a park and even one road being widened. But for 15 years everything around us is going downhill while our taxes go up and every spending initiative and all political discussion revolves around downtown. All I know is that 15 years ago the south end of the county was a racially mixed, middle class, fairly well off area that was doing just fine. Then we "consolidated" and all of our money went downtown. Within months the downtown money men and the downtown race baiters had turned the residents of this county against each other and formerly prosperous areas started a precipitous downhill slide. Now we have new "redevelopment" houses standing empty, Section 8 ruining our South Augusta neighborhoods, a hotel that the taxpayers gave a wealthy group of people $7.5 million to build, a TEE that the taxpayers built and will now pay the same wealthy group of people to operate and whose partially taxpayer built hotel will be the biggest beneficiary of, and a parking deck built on land we don't own which we will also pay the same group of wealthy people to operate and in which we gave up the prime parking spaces. We have a racially divided commission where the members literally hate each other and who sacrifice the interests of their own districts to participate in the "poor black neighborhoods" vs. "rich white guys" downtown politics. We are just sick and tired of all of it, sick and tired and angry. You can tell me all about chemical factories, trail heads, a park, and our one (1) road being widened (while the rest go unmaintained) and I will still loudly protest that the south end is paying more and enjoying it less. I despise what consolidation has done to South Augusta and south Richmond county. And no countyman......nobody pays me to be this negative. I pay for that right when I pay my outrageous tax bill every year, my county sales taxes, and my SPLOST taxes. When I look around at the closed businesses, the closed restaurants, the pothole filled roads, the deteriorating neighborhoods, and the poorly maintained right-of-ways, that is all of the incentive I need to be negative. I am sure you will rebut this but these things are what I see and feel every day and nothing will change my perception. They whole "consolidation" fiasco was for the benefit of the old "city" 15 years ago and to the detriment of the south Richmond county and it is still that way.

Riverman1
93734
Points
Riverman1 01/14/12 - 08:25 am
0
0
Dichotomy, I absolutely

Dichotomy, I absolutely couldn't agree with you more. (Try using paragraphs the next time and it will be even more effective, in my opinion.) We are FACTUALLY SPENDING hundreds of millions of dollars on the decrepit downtown area and that money belongs to the entire county.

South and West Augusta are simply paying the bills while getting very little in return. Can you even imagine $100 million spent in South Augusta where all the industry is? West Augusta, where all the motels are?

InChristLove
22485
Points
InChristLove 01/14/12 - 08:24 am
0
0
Wow, a loud AMEN to

Wow, a loud AMEN to dichotomy's comment!!!! Very well stated!

Riverman1
93734
Points
Riverman1 01/14/12 - 08:28 am
0
0
Dichotomy, I'm not trying to

Dichotomy, I'm not trying to tell you what to do after such a brilliant post, but I'll often quickly post something, then go back and look at it and break it into paragraphs, make changes and correct typos like I just did, as a matter of fact. It's more effective in paragraph form. Heck, we don't pay the bills for the space.

anotherlook
101
Points
anotherlook 01/14/12 - 08:44 am
0
0
Really? So the economic

Really? So the economic downturn shouldn't affect the sales of homes in these neighborhoods? Somehow this area should be exempt from slow home sales? Is it ill advised to make an effort to address inner city and urban blight through investments that encourage working folks to move into the area? It appears that as long as we maintain downtown and West Augusta, we are satisfied that we have "done our part" to keep Augusta the "Garden City." Well I for one am not satisfied with leaving certain parts of our community out of our growth, improvement and plans for the future. Remember folks, "a rising tide lifts all boats." Until the quality of life is improved for all of the area, businesses and corporations have little incentive to relocate here and provide jobs. I am more than pleased with the project that is currently underway in the LWB community. While some of these homes were under construction I visited a couple. I would also like to see a plan in place for South Augusta. More specifically,how long will Regency Mall be allowed to continue to rot without any action? We have the talent and resources. Because of the collective will, generosity, and effort of our community, we were one of a few cities who were blessed with the Kroc center. If we can do it for Harrisburg, we can start attacking problems throughout Augusta-Richmond county.

Riverman1
93734
Points
Riverman1 01/14/12 - 08:40 am
0
0
AnotherLook said, "Because of

AnotherLook said, "Because of the collective will and effort of our community, we were one of a few cities who was blessed with the Kroc center."

Kroc centers go where they are needed thanks to Joan Kroc. Plus you have to realize some fantastic, charitable, local people matched the Kroc gift in order to provide services for the needy. The people of the entire CSRA do care about the downtrodden in Augusta. It's the hub of our existence.

Riverman1
93734
Points
Riverman1 01/14/12 - 09:00 am
0
0
Such a wealth envy diatribe

Such a wealth envy diatribe associated with the Kroc Center is tacky when so many local people donated money to match Joan Kroc's gift.

Harrisburg is a multi-racial neighborhood that was carefully studied before the gift was made. Certain balances have to be in place for such a multi-million dollar gift to work...instead of being wasted.

anotherlook
101
Points
anotherlook 01/14/12 - 09:00 am
0
0
Riverman1, I fail to see how

Riverman1, I fail to see how my using the Kroc center as an example of efforts to improve our community constituted a "wealth envy diatribe." Could you please clarify your comments. Or did I misinterpret your comments?

Riverman1
93734
Points
Riverman1 01/14/12 - 09:01 am
0
0
Anotherlook, maybe I got it

Anotherlook, maybe I got it wrong, but I read your comments to be saying you were upset the Kroc Center was built in Harrisburg instead of more "deserving" places?

anotherlook
101
Points
anotherlook 01/14/12 - 09:05 am
0
0
No. I was lauding the ability

No. I was lauding the ability of our community to come together and get something done that would benefit not only a single neighborhood, but all of the Augusta area. I am sorry. I didn't mean to confuse anyone with the wording of my comment.

Riverman1
93734
Points
Riverman1 01/14/12 - 09:11 am
0
0
Anotherlook, then I am the

Anotherlook, then I am the one who needs to apologize. I need a nap. Thanks.

allhans
24886
Points
allhans 01/14/12 - 09:27 am
0
0
Did they not have the least

Did they not have the least suspicion that there would be problem selling homes of that value in that area BEFORE they started the project. My guess is they will reduce the price to whatever it takes, make them Section 8 and the neighborhood will be still be the same neighborhood.

raul
5729
Points
raul 01/14/12 - 09:37 am
0
0
"The city is trying to offset

"The city is trying to offset selling costs and attract buyers by offering interest-free loans to assist with closing costs and down payments"

Did we not learn anything from the mortage fiasco of the last few years?
If you don't have the money to pay a down payment and closing costs, you probably won't have the money to meet mortgage payments.
Why is the city in the banking business? I see yet another bad decison with the end result of sticking it to the taxpayers.

Dipshot
-5
Points
Dipshot 01/14/12 - 10:39 am
0
0
#1.. They are building homes

#1.. They are building homes that are too expensive for that neighborhood
#2.. The developer still gets their money directly from the government so they are actually encouraged to build overpriced homes that will sit empty. If they don't sell... it's the government that loses out
#3.. This is classic "lipstick on a pig".. it does nothing to solve the underlying root problems of that neighborhood. They just throw up a few "show" houses, most of which will never sell and will sit empty.. or they are turned into section 8 rentals and are trashed within a few years. But the politicians can all pat themselves on the back for having "done something" with your tax money.

Dipshot
-5
Points
Dipshot 01/14/12 - 10:42 am
0
0
Btw, the original idea of the

Btw, the original idea of the Laney-Walker redevelopment was to make "infrastructure" improvements... NOT build overpriced houses. That means build things like sidewalks, trails, parks, community centers, police substations.. things like that.. Instead the money is going directly to this cabal of well connected land owners.. per business as usual in Augusta. Always follow the money.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 01/14/12 - 12:16 pm
0
0
@ allhans 9:27, "Did they not

@ allhans 9:27, "Did they not have the least suspicion that there would be problem selling homes of that value in that area BEFORE they started the project?"

That's the problem with government trying to be in business. It's not their money and they don't need a return.

A realistic projection of profit and long term success was not a part of their study or agenda. They don't care if the properties sell, they make their money on the land and the fees they pay themselves to manage and operate the development and the grants.

Don't forget, section 8 or some other govenment funding will give the needed bailouts. If not, the taxpayers are next in line.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 01/14/12 - 12:19 pm
0
0
@ raul 9:37, "Did we not

@ raul 9:37, "Did we not learn anything from the mortage fiasco of the last few years?If you don't have the money to pay a down payment and closing costs, you probably won't have the money to meet mortgage payments."

I ask you, raul, can you site any event, where they "learned" from experience other than more of how to do the same things expecting people to believe in a different result?

dichotomy
37494
Points
dichotomy 01/14/12 - 12:28 pm
0
0
Yeh Riverman1, I apologize

Yeh Riverman1, I apologize for the lack of paragraphs. I get carried away sometimes when I write and ramble quite a bit. I usually go back and try to paragraph and rearrange a little but I this AM I was running late for meeting some friends for breakfast over at the new Cracker Barrel in Evans. I didn't want to wait until I got back to get all of that off of my chest.

mike71345
75
Points
mike71345 01/14/12 - 12:48 pm
0
0
Wow, if it's doing this well

Wow, if it's doing this well without the overlay zoning in place, I can't wait to see what restricting property rights and allowing mixed-in retail are gonna do for the area.

countyman
21632
Points
countyman 01/14/12 - 01:58 pm
0
0
Dichotomy... The money going

Dichotomy... The money going towards Laney Walker/Bethelhem is being paid for by a local hotel/motel tax...

The citizens of Richmond County live in single family homes, townhomes, apartments, condos, trailer parks, etc... They don't live at the Sheraton, Doubletree, Mariott, Holiday Inn Express, etc... The tourist visiting Augusta yearly are overwhelmingly supporting the gentrification of Laney Walker..

The city is spending plenty of taxpayers money in South Augusta... The majority of projects happening downtown are 'PRIVATE' construction...

The city tried to bring new life into Regency Mall several times, and the voters said no each time... If the city tries to buy the mall I bet the same people will complain..

Dipshot
-5
Points
Dipshot 01/14/12 - 02:18 pm
0
0
No surprise at all that this

No surprise at all that this is all part of the TEE Center fiasco.. remember this goes back to buying off Betty Beard's vote to approve giving the TEE Management contract to one of Billy Morris' LLCs and locating it adjacent to his taxpayer subsidized hotel. There's no telling what kind of special sweet heart deals and cronyism one would find if they fully investigated this Laney Walker Redevelopment scam.

countyman
21632
Points
countyman 01/14/12 - 02:26 pm
0
0
Where are all the taxpayer

Where are all the taxpayer funded projects downtown?? The Whites building, Sprint Foods & Metro Market, Whites warehouse, Fort Discovery, etc are private investments.. The TEE Center was voted for by the citizens of Richmond County..

South Augusta has SEEN tons of more taxpayer funded projects compared to West Augusta... I never see people from West Augusta complain, but somehow a few people in South Augusta feel left out..

List of taxpayer funded projects in South Augusta..

1. $20 million vocational magnet high school
2. $1 million sheriff's office,
3. $15 million Edinburgh Pointe
4. Morgan Rd widening
5. airport improvements(parking lot expansion, $14 million runway expansion, new FBO terminal, etc)
6. Lombard Mill Pond Trail, Butler Creek Trailhead Park
7. Diamond Lakes basketball court/parking lot expansion
8. Marvin Griffin rd improvements
9. Bungalow rd improvements
10. Bus depot on Mike Padgett

Jimmie Dyess is definitely not the only area growing with private investment.. I can add Augusta Exchange area, Augusta mall, Augusta West Plaza, city of Hephzibah, Olde Town, CBD, Summerville, etc.. Even South Augusta has plenty of 'PRIVATE' investment..

Private- $115 million Rockwood plant, Augusta Newsprint $55 million expansion, Bennett International $35 million 15 jobs, Algae facility $10 million initial investment and 200 jobs, US Battery 42k sq. ft. expansion, multi milllion Hampton Inn hotel, etc...

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