COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)— Tuesday, the doors officially opened to Columbus’ newest 102-unit mixed-income housing development.

The new development replaced The Chase Homes that were built in 1952. The 108 public housing units were torn down in 2020.

In its place now stands The Banks at Mill Village. 91 of those affordable with 11 market rate units. The $30 million development has been years in the making.

“We had to get approval from HUD. That took about a year, and then we started the process then of demolition and applying for tax credits,” CEO of the Housing Authority of Columbus, Georgia Lisa Walters said. “We received the tax credits in 2019.”

The development received an allocation of Federal and State 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. This allocation was key in keeping these units affordable.

“Tax Credits represented about 52% of the total development costs,” President of Columbia Residential Carmen Chubb said. “The fact that you don’t have to pay a mortgage on that 52% that came in allows you to have affordable rent.”

The rest of the finances were made up by HACG Moving to Work funds, a private construction loan, funding from the City of Columbus, and deferred developer fees.

For residents like Brandy Underwood, affordable housing in Columbus has been hard to come by. Underwood and her seven-year-old daughter lived in a motel before moving into The Banks at Mill Village.

“We finally have a place where people can come over, she can have friends over. In a second, we’ll tell anybody where we live. She’ll be next to a great school downtown, and it’s here for us to thrive. It’s just an opportunity for us to really thrive,” Underwood said.

Also on the property, a MercyMed clinic that will be staffed by MercyMed including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and support staff. One physician, staffed in partnership between MercyMed and Mercer University School of Medicine, will be onsite two days a week.

The MercyMed Health Clinic will provide preventative healthcare and dental services, access to primary medical, behavioral and wellness services.

Handicapped resident Marion Bass says it has been hard to find affordable housing that accommodates his medical needs. However, he says The Banks at Mill Village go above and beyond with the onsite clinic.

“Everybody is elated that we have MercyMed here. I’m close to all the specialties, all the doctors I’m dealing with, and I’m closer to the restaurants and grocery stores. This is a perfect place for me,” Bass said.

For non-residents, The Banks at Mill Village signifies the beginning of revitalization efforts on 2nd Avenue.

“We hope that this development here serves as a catalyst for additional growth in The Mill District area,” Walters shared.

“We are really, truly trying to make this a space where people feel like its economic viability, it is a safe area, it is an area that we are really trying to tackle things that make the wholistic approach of being healthy,” CEO of The Mill District Lauren Chambers said. “That’s from a wellness stance, an education stance, and providing opportunities for families to do either a trade or further their education so that they can make sure that we are breaking generational poverty for this community.”

Former residents of the Chase Homes were given a tenant protection voucher which allowed them first opportunity for them to move into the new apartments. Property managers say there are still 22 units available.

This development was made possible through partnerships with the development team of the Housing Authority of Columbus, Georgia, MercyMed, Columbia Residential, the City of Columbus, The Mill District, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, RBC Investments, Bank OZK and Sugar Creek Capital.

Amenities include an onsite leasing office, community room, fitness center, onsite laundry, business center, playground, dog park, community garden, and direct access to the Riverwalk providing transportation to the Mill District, Uptown Columbus and Fort Benning.

Renderings of The Banks at Mill Village v. Ranger 3 Drone images

Interior Walk-Through

Previous Reports

July 15, 2021: Construction underway for new Chase Homes complex off Second Avenue in Columbus Mill District | WRBL

Dec. 21, 2020: Columbus Housing Authority demolishes Chase Homes | WRBL