Suzanne Roland with the Downtown Development Authority spoke Monday at the Calhoun City Council Work Session and told the council that she had received all three “pieces to the puzzle.”
“We have applied for these for three years now, and we finally got them,” Roland said.
The three pieces to the puzzle include a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and urban Development, $1 million home loan and a Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), according to Roland.
She said they have applied for all three each year since 2010, but was unsuccessful in getting all three, so they never received the money. This year they successfully obtained all three.
The LIHTC was the last one to come through and it accounts for $838,563 for the next 10 years, and according to Roland is infused in the project and is credited on the investor’s taxes.
The company in charge of the renovations is a company called Landmark, based out of North Carolina. Roland said the company contacted her three years ago and asked if there were any buildings in Calhoun that could be renovated into lofts, and Roland mentioned the former O’Jay Mills building.
She said within two days Landmark was in Calhoun to do a walk through of the structure. Roland said they were pleased with what they saw, and they started spending money in surveys, environmental surveys and appraisals to get the project underway.
Roland said Landmark is planning to renovate the building by leaving the “bones,” and maintaining the integrity of the structure. After Landmark is finished the initial ownership of the Cherokee Mill Lofts will be 80 percent Calhoun Affordable housing and 20 percent Landmark.
“We decided this was worthwhile and a win-win for everyone,” Roland said.
After completion, there would be 60 total garden-style apartments, which will contain anywhere from one to three bedrooms.
“I hope the families that are able to take advantage of these units take advantage of downtown, and use the sidewalks, and I hope they enjoy the wonderful school system,” Roland said. “I hope the businesses around the area benefit as well.”
Ground is expected to be broken on the project within the first half of 2013, according to Roland, who says they hope they can cut the ribbon to open the units to the public sometime in 2014.
“Suzanne Roland and Stacey Abernathy worked extremely hard to make this happen and we are very appreciative and thankful for them, the State and the Department of Community Affairs,” Mayor Jimmy Palmer said.