January 17, 2024

Financing Supports 80 Units at Transit-Oriented Development in Decatur 

ATLANTA – Columbia Residential and the Decatur Housing Authority have closed on financing for an 80-unit affordable senior housing development at the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Avondale Station transit-oriented development (TOD).  

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs, City of Decatur, Decatur Housing Authority and DeKalb County are providing financial support for the new development, which adds to the 92 affordable senior units built in 2018 and provides housing for residents at a range of incomes below 80 percent of the area median income. The 80 additional 1- and 2-bedroom units and amenities targeted for seniors will have direct access to Avondale rail station. 

In May 2021, MARTA sold the land to Columbia Residential specifically for affordable senior housing given Columbia Residential’s successful delivery of affordable senior units in the first phase. The parcel is one of the two final components of the southside master TOD plan executed between MARTA, Columbia Ventures LLC, Cortland, and the City of Decatur. 

“It remains a challenging capital market environment for new developments,” said MARTA General Manager and CEO Collie Greenwood. “This closing demonstrates investor demand still exists for affordable housing communities near transit, especially when executed by quality developers and supported by local jurisdictional partners. By offering more equitable access to transit and affordable housing, this development will provide its senior residents with more financial freedom and mobility options.” 

“Decatur is pleased to be a partner in this development that moves us closer to our community’s affordable housing goals, including the expansion of affordable housing near public transit,” said Patti Garrett, Mayor of the City of Decatur. “There are multiple resources and tools needed to support these complex developments; and we are fortunate that the city was able to leverage its tax allocation district that allows for the use of incremental tax dollars for affordable housing infrastructure. We look forward to welcoming our new residents to this vibrant neighborhood.” 

“Decatur East Phase II will provide affordable senior housing in Decatur that incorporates smart growth, transit-oriented development, new urbanism, green building, walkability, and community-building,” said Doug Faust, CEO of the Decatur Housing Authority. “It is remarkable what we can accomplish when we work together as a community to serve the needs of others.”  

“We are proud to honor our commitment to provide affordable housing options for seniors with access to transit at the Avondale MARTA station.,” said President of Columbia Residential Carmen Chubb. “This development builds upon our work with the Columbia Senior Residences at Decatur East, Phase I, and is a great example of what can be achieved when public and private partners come together to address critical needs in our communities." 

Developments with affordable housing near transit are being recognized by lenders and investors as having strong underwriting fundamentals, especially when they have sponsors with a long track record of success. The developments allow residents to lower their housing and transportation costs, making units within affordable and mixed-income housing TODs easier to lease. For example, similar mixed-income developments that have recently opened – Marchon at King Memorial MARTA station and Quill at Edgewood Candler MARTA station – both reached leasing stabilization within 6 to12 months.  

 “At peak leasing over a three-month period, Quill leased approximately 40 units per month. The fact that it was a TOD and offered units affordable at 80 percent of AMI was a huge help in that process,” said Diana Stoian, VP of Investments at Columbia Ventures. “Overall, Quill's lease-up was the fastest we've ever experienced, so it's a huge success in our book.”  

The closing at Avondale comes soon after MARTA celebrated the groundbreaking for a 250-unit affordable senior and multifamily development at Kensington Station with the Housing Authority of DeKalb County.  



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