Mixed-income housing development Walton Oaks draws applicants

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 Applications for Augusta’s first mixed-income housing development, under construction on the site of a former public housing complex, have exceeded the number of available units.

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The Walton Oaks Apartments off Sand Bar Ferry Road, a mixed-income housing development, is currently accepting applications.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
The Walton Oaks Apartments off Sand Bar Ferry Road, a mixed-income housing development, is currently accepting applications.

Walton Oaks property manager Alicia Holland said at least 115 applications have been received for the 75-unit family housing complex off Sand Bar Ferry Road. After the application approval process, Holland said, the complex should reach 100 percent occupancy by the end of August.

“It’s very strict about who’s actually qualified to live here,” Holland said. Residents must have a clean criminal record and sound financial background.

Walton Oaks, built on the former site of the Underwood Homes public housing project, follows a model widely used across the nation that replaces traditional barracks-style public housing with modern apartment homes available to both poor and middle-class tenants. The first two public housing complexes to disappear in Augusta were Underwood Homes and Gilbert Manor.

Fourteen units at Walton Oaks are reserved for public housing tenants through the Augusta Housing Authority. Right next door, higher-paying tenants receive the same amenities at a rate reduced from market value to attract middle-income families. A two-bedroom unit rents for $663 a month, and three-bedroom costs $754.

Construction on Walton Oaks should be complete by the end of July, Holland said. The apartments, a fitness center, an activity center and a playground are the second phase of the Walton Oaks complex. The first phase, Legacy at Walton Oaks, opened in October and reached its rental capacity by Dec. 31.

Legacy at Walton Oaks is reserved for residents older than 55. About 50 percent are reserved for low-income residents as public housing or project-based rental assistance.

Walton Oaks residents sign a 12-month lease. The development will offer free summer care and after-school care for children who are residents, Holland said.

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