Boston Homes to be sold: Houses, townhomes planned for former housing project site
by Haisten Willis
May 16, 2014 04:00 AM | 3261 views | 1 1 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — The Marietta Housing Authority on Wednesday voted to sell the site of a former federal housing project known as Boston Homes to local developer Brock Built for $1.5 million. Brock Built is proposing 72 single-family houses and 20 townhomes for the property at a total retail cost of $27.6 million.

Built in 1953, Boston Homes was a federal housing project located near the intersection of Roswell Road and Cobb Parkway, just down the road from the Marietta School District’s central office. The housing authority razed it in 2010, leaving the site as green space.

Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin said the planned subdivision will be another small-lot development close to downtown.

“We’re not urban, but we do have urban concepts,” said Tumlin. “This will be in walking distance of the Square. We have the same type of homes but just a little bigger at the Manget development. Smaller yard, smaller house, which also makes it more affordable. Most people don’t want to cut grass all Saturday and Sunday any more. This seems to be the model people prefer.”

Pete Waldrep, executive director of the Marietta Housing Authority, said Brock also bought property around the old housing project to make the development bigger.

Boston Homes spanned 13 acres, but the adjacent properties purchased by Brock bring the new development to 17.5 acres. The single-family homes will be Craftsman style, with features such as tapered columns, front porches and rear-access parking.

“The Craftsman bungalow is a style of home that really is kind of a traditional house of the 1920s and ’30s,” Brock Built owner Steve Brock said. “We set them closer to the street so there’s intimacy, with front porches. The houses are close together. It helps bring people together to create that sense of a neighborhood, a sense of belonging.”

The homes will range between 2,000 and 2,500 square feet, with about five homes per acre. They will have either three or four bedrooms, either 2.5 or 3.5 baths and will sell for between $275,000 and $325,000, according to Brock.

The town houses will cost about $250,000, ranging in size from 1,900 to 2,100 square feet with either three bedrooms and 2.5 baths or three bedrooms and 3.5 baths.

The development also will feature a neighborhood playground.

“A large portion of this will be attractive to young families with children,” said Waldrep, who was on the Marietta City Council from 1994 to 2005 before joining the Marietta Housing Authority in 2006. “I think that’s what Marietta likes to see. We like that as well.”

The plan will go before Marietta City Council likely in August, and construction is expected to start in January. Brock hopes to sell three or four units a month, finishing up in mid-2017.

“We’ll build as fast as we can sell,” Brock said. “It’s a market-driven schedule for the building of the homes.”

Waldrep said there were two bidders for the vacant property, both from Marietta-based developers. Brock won with $1.5 million, beating out Traton Homes’ bid of $750,000.

Brock is also working on the Manget project in Marietta, which was originally started by Hedgewood Homes in 2005 but went through several different owners during the recession. Manget is a mix of detached single-family homes and townhomes tucked between South Fairground Street and South Marietta Parkway. Brock has also developed a number of residential projects in Atlanta and one in downtown Woodstock.

“They have a good track record,” said Waldrep.

Demolition of Marietta’s public housing

Today, Marietta has no more federal housing projects. Instead, residents were given federal Section 8 housing vouchers to help pay for rent at a place of their choosing.

The city once had five public housing complexes, all of which were demolished during the last decade. The first, the 100-unit, 8-acre Johnny Walker Homes on Powder Springs Street, was demolished in 2004. It was followed by the demolition of the 132-unit, 12-acre Clay Homes off Roswell Street in 2006. The third housing project, razed in 2007, was the 10.5-acre, 125-unit Lyman Homes off Cherokee Street north of the Loop. Boston Homes was demolished in 2010. The last to be demolished was the 120-unit Fort Hood project on Cole Street, which was razed last spring.

A study done in 2008 found renovating Boston Homes would cost $16 million, which led to the housing authority’s vote to demolish it.

“All the facilities the Marietta Housing Authority had were somewhat outdated,” Waldrep said. “They had no central air conditioning, they were not the best units available to serve the needs of an affordable community. So we said we’d demolish those and issue Section 8 so former tenants could go out in the community and find accommodations of a home or apartment to fit their needs.”

The housing authority now has 2,700 families enrolled in its Section 8 program. It has a budget of about $32 million and a staff of 50.

Tumlin praised the work of both the housing authority and Brock, and said he’s excited about the new development.

“We’re always delighted to have a quality developer bring in quality housing units,” Tumlin said. “They know what Marietta folks are looking for in a house. They have a good reputation and they’ve earned it.”

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Kennesaw, take notes
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May 16, 2014
Why oh why can't the City of Kennesaw do something like this? Marietta has far more foresight and vision. Instead, the City of Kennesaw is giddy about a new apartment complex downtown featuring 250 or so units and another new apartment complex at the Old US 41 and Barrett Parkway site that'll 300 more units.

They already have Section 8 apartments near the later site but appear to be angling for more. Craftsman style single family homes should be what the City of Kennesaw insists upon for that site too.

The City of Marietta's leaders are making great strides to improve their town with impressive street scapes projects and the right types of developments. If only Mark Matthews could see the long-term damage he is doing to the City of Kennesaw by not having the same foresight.
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