ATLANTA, GA - Construction is now underway on a new affordable and 55+ community in unincorporated Stockbridge in Clayton County, just south of Atlanta, after a celebratory groundbreaking. The $76 million property includes the Villas at Mt Zion, a 96-unit senior, independent living community (age 55+), and the Flats at Mt Zion, a 210-unit multi-family community for families with children who attend Mt. Zion Elementary and Primary Schools.
"The Flats and the Villas at Mt. Zion will include gated entry with reciprocal easements to enable all residents to enjoy the swimming pool, exercise facility, computer library, playgrounds, outdoor garden, wellness center and the Early Learning Center (ELC)," says Duncan Gibbs, a partner with TriStar. He notes the ELC will be staffed by Star-C, Inc., an Atlanta 501(c)3 non-profit which will provide free on-site wraparound services including an after-school program as well as other educational, social and emotional wellbeing programming.
Speaking at the groundbreaking, Dr. Morcease J. Beasley, Superintendent/CEO of the Clayton CountyPublic Schools, noted that, "by partnering with our school system and other public and non-profit organizations like Star-C, this innovative apartment community will help reduce transiency, stabilize families and keep children in Clayton CountySchools, where our district can help them graduate career- and college-ready."
The development is the first in an alliance between the two organizations: Zimmerman Properties, an affordable housing builder and developer, and TriStar, an investment firm focused on commercial real estate and mission-based affordable housing funds. Along with Summit Contracting Group, the two hosted the groundbreaking, which included representatives of the many municipal and public agencies who were part of the innovative collaboration. The Mt. Zion projects target singles, families and seniors who earn within 50%, 60% and 70% of Area Median Income.
"The innovation of our alliance entails leveraging the deep experience of for-profit partners who work closely with the municipality and other public agencies that are crucial to the success of such a project," Gibbs says. "along with vital non-profit participation, namely from Star-C in the guise of wraparound services that help stabilize families, the apartment community, the local school and the larger community itself. It's a 'win' for everyone involved."
On hand for the groundbreaking for the Flats and the Villas at Mt. Zion (3297 Mount Zion Road, Stockbridge, Georgia 30281) were Michael Bryant, Housing Authority of Clayton County; Tab Bullard, Zimmerman Properties; DeMont Davis, Clayton County Board of Education; Audrea Rease, Star-C Programs; Marjy Stagmeier, TriStar; Benjamin Straker, Sr., Clayton County Board of Education; and many others.
"The importance of and need for more equitable housing for Clayton's residents is vital," says Jeffrey E. (Jeff) Turner, Chair of the Clayton County Board of Commissioners. "We are glad to be part of such an innovative model of public-private-nonprofit partnership and hope to see more efforts like this wonderful collaboration, as kids, families, the apartment community, the local schools and the community at large benefit."
Zimerman and TriStar, with the cooperation of Star-C, are exploring similar ventures leveraging LIHTC in Birmingham, Charleston, Charlotte and Greenville.
"On Mt. Zion and, we think, future projects, we benefit not only from our own collaboration, but from true, robust partnerships with the county, the board of commissioners, the school system, housing authority and so many other public entities," says Bob Davidson, COO, Zimmerman Properties. "With each project we learn from one another and improve the model for the next project, of which we hope there will be many."