HUD OKs demolition of Underwood Homes

The Augusta Housing Authority has the go-ahead to eliminate a second public housing project from the city.

A request to demolish Underwood Homes has been approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD sent the authority a letter dated Wednesday.

"We had to have this to be able to move forward," Authority Chairman Rodger Murchison said Thursday.

The authority has hired Atlanta-based Walton Communities to develop a $25 million to $30 million mixed-income community on the Underwood site off Sand Bar Ferry Road in east Augusta. Underwood has 249 public housing units, and under tentative plans its replacement would have 225 family units and 75 senior units. About 60 would be public housing and the rest would be reserved for families earning $32,000-$34,000 a year.

To be economically feasible, applications for tax credits from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs still must be approved. Should those fail, Housing Authority Executive Director Jake Oglesby has said the demolition and relocation will still move forward and Community Affairs applications can be resubmitted next year. Mr. Oglesby said he's hoping to have residents moved in time for the next school year.

Demolition of the Gilbert Manor public housing project is ongoing. The authority sold it to the Medical College of Georgia last year for $6.9 million, part of $10 million the city gave MCG to keep its expansion in Augusta.