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Affordable apartments planned for Mather property on Campbell Street

Posted: July 26, 2016 9:23 a.m.
Updated: July 26, 2016 9:18 a.m.
Jim Tatum/C-I

A new 60 unit affordable housing/workforce apartment complex is coming to Campbell Street. The property is part of the former Boylan-Haven Mather Academy property and in fact contains memorial markers, informative signage, and the old iron arch that once welcomed students to the school. The developers have said they plan to preserve a small parcel along Campbell Street, which includes several large oak trees, as a pocket park for the Mather memorial elements. An entrance road will come into the property near that parcel, directly across from Rutledge Street. If all goes as planned, the apartment complex could be completed and ready for occupancy by April 2017.

Ground is broken and work is underway on a new affordable/workforce housing property located on Campbell Street.

The property is part of the site of the former Boylan-Haven Mather Academy. The company developing the property, Greenway Residential Development LLC, a N.C. based firm, is building some 60 two and three bedroom apartment units to be housed in three buildings, according to Chad McGinty, project manager for WXZ Construction, who is doing the work.

The two bedroom units will be around 1,100 square feet and usually rent, on average, for $500 to $600 per month, McGinty said. The three bedroom units are slightly larger, around 1,200 square feet, and generally rent for $600-$750 a month, he said.

The buildings will be brick façade, three story walk-ups designed with an eye and feel for Camden.

“Our people are good at choosing styles and materials – we all want this to look right and fit in with the look and feel of Camden,” he said.

McGinty noted that those numbers are averages – rents are determined based on such factors as number of members in the household and income levels – but that the units will be very attractive, well-built, and affordable.

Other amenities will include a leasing center/office property as well as significant greenspace throughout the property. In fact, monuments, signage, and the original iron Mather Academy sign will continue to be preserved, McGinty said.

 “It will sort of be self-contained in a pocket park like setting, but we are absolutely preserving all of that,” he said. 

Thus far, people seem to be positive about the project, he said. 

“We’ve had positive feedback from the city as well as from people who are involved in the preservation of the history of this property,” McGinty said. “We want to make sure everyone is on the same page.”

One point city officials and developers have wanted to stress is the fact that this is not a Section 8 project, but rather a development put together by a private company that utilizes federal Section 42 tax credits to create and provide affordable housing. What that means is the people who live there must be employed, must be able to prove income, and must meet certain criteria to be eligible.

“This is a market driven project – that protects everybody,” McGinty said. “There is a definite need for it or we wouldn’t be here.”

The goal is to have the property fully leased and occupied 60 days after it opens, he said – and in his experience, that will probably happen sooner than that.

The project is already having a positive economic impact for the city, McGinty said, noting that they have already paid the city more than $100,000 in license and utility fees. Ultimately, the developer will invest more than $5 million in the project, he said.

The city of Camden is focused on redeveloping and bolstering that area of town as well, noted Mayor Tony Scully. In fact, not only has the city been focusing on green spaces, improved parking, signage and other such improvement projects downtown, two years ago the city installed larger water pipes in the downtown area to service what city officials hope will become repurposed living spaces above commercial spaces along Broad Street. 

“City Council enthusiastically supports and encourages downtown living, which all our consultants, especially Arnett Muldrow, and before them, DPZ, have recommended,” Scully said.  “It’s a national trend -- working and living downtown.  Billy Silver, one of our more progressive and in fact, visionary City residents, was the first to stake a claim for downtown living. The affordable Cedarbrook apartments will serve to revitalize the area to the west of Broad Street and in turn will support our downtown retail businesses and restaurants. It’s a win-win.” 

If all goes as planned, the new complex should be completed and ready for occupancy by April 2017, McGinty said.


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