City set to buy land for Twiggs Circle housing project

 

Construction on the first phase of new public housing units near Twiggs Street is set to begin as early as the fall, provided environmental cleanup is completed and rundown houses are demolished.

Augusta Housing Author­ity Exec­utive Director Jacob Oglesby said the agency has received approval to purchase property at the intersection of Twiggs Street, Wrightsboro Road and Ninth Street from the Augusta Land Bank Authority.

The housing authority will pay fair market value, plus the cost of demolishing rundown houses. The soil must be cleaned up where structures are torn down before the sale transaction and
construction can begin, Oglesby said.

The project is behind schedule because the housing authority waited for approval from the U.S. Department of Hou­sing and Urban Develop­ment, he said.

The development known as Twiggs Circle is a collaboration with the city’s Hou­sing and Community Develop­ment department, which is managing a massive neighborhood revitalization in the Laney-Walker and Bethlehem areas. The first phase features 16 duplexes and eight single-family homes for the elderly.

“Ultimately, we expect to have four phases there with somewhere between 100 and 120 units,” Oglesby said.

The master plan for the city’s revitalization project calls for additional housing construction and some home refurbishments.

A cleared portion of the site has been enclosed by a chain-link fence for almost a year while the project commences. Piles of brick from the former Immaculate Con­cep­tion school and church, which were demolished last summer, sit on the land.

Oglesby said there’s discussion about incorporating the bricks into new structures, though that idea has not been completed.

The housing authority hired Cheatham Fletcher Scott Architects to design the housing units. The design will match new homes on Pine Street, the first project in the city’s revitalization efforts.

If construction begins this fall, as expected, residents could begin moving in spring 2014 at the earliest, Oglesby said.

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