The Decatur Housing Authority (DHA) celebrated the opening of Oliver House Sept. 26. The new facility is an 80-unit senior housing community, which was built as a part of the ongoing revitalization of the Allen Wilson Community in downtown Decatur.
The opening of Oliver House marks the completion of the second phase of the three-phase revitalization of Allen Wilson Terrace, a former 200-unit public housing community originally built in 1941.
The first phase was completed in spring 2011 and consists of 40 units with buildings housing one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. All of the new buildings have a state-of-the-art rainwater collection system as well.
“We’re very excited and it’s a wonderful facility for our seniors,” said Doug Faust, executive director of the Decatur Housing Authority.
Faust said the building uses its rainwater collection system for all the irrigation in the facility and for flushing toilets, which makes the units more energy efficient. Additionally, Faust said there are solar panels on the roof of the facility to defray energy costs.
The new site is located off Commerce Drive within two blocks of downtown Decatur’s commercial and business district. It’s also located close to the Decatur MARTA station. Faust said the facility includes an exercise room, craft rooms and a garden for the seniors.
Several years ago, DHA began a revitalization process that was designed to retain the residents in the area while constructing the new housing. Many families were able to move directly into the new Oliver House, named for a distinguished Black businessman, Henry Oliver, who lived in the area in the 1800s.
The overall Allen Wilson campus includes a one‐half mile paved walking trail to provide a place for residents to walk for exercise and to socialize outdoors. Full occupancy of Oliver House is expected by Sept. 30, with more than 40 of the 80 homes being leased by current senior DHA and Allen Wilson residents who are being assisted to move into the new community.
The total cost of the Oliver House was approximately $12.3 million, which was paid for by federal low income housing credits, Georgia tax credits, HUD funds and DHA reserves and partner contributions.
Faust said the DHA is currently pursuing low-income housing credits for the development of the third and final phase of the Allen Wilson Terrace project, which is estimated to cost $10 million and include 71 housing units.
“We’ve applied for tax credits in June and if we’re awarded we’ll be able to start construction at the beginning of next year and hope to be done the end of 2013,” Faust said.