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Perry building site receives bid
Plans to redevelopment a site along Brunswick's Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard are off to a slow start, but the city has attracted at least one developer with an interest in making an investment.

City commissioners will hear a presentation by Atlanta-based Tapestry Development Group on a potential affordable housing community for the site at a work session tentatively scheduled for March 5.

The now-vacant site is one of two properties the city acquired in a land trade with the Glynn County Board of Education in 2007. The other property, the former C.B. Greer Elementary School at Fourth and Norwich streets, has been developed into Norwich Commons, a 52-unit, private affordable housing community that will open in the spring.

City officials issued a request for proposals for development of the Perry site at the end of 2013 but received no responses.

To make the site more interesting to developers, the city marketed it a second time as the potential site of 35 single-family detached homes, 104 townhouses or 96 apartments that could also involve green space or commercial buildings. The estimated market value for a completed development could range from $5 million to $18 million, the request for proposals read.

A second request yielded one response: Tapestry Development Group.

City Planner Arne Glaeser said the project's preliminary plans include multistory, senior living housing with some space left for additional development.

He said there could be difficulties in finding funding for another affordable housing project in Brunswick.

The Norwich Commons was just awarded low-income housing tax credits by the federal government. For another project in the city to be eligible for federal credits, it would need to be more than two miles away from Norwich Commons, which the Perry site is not, or a senior living development, Glaeser said.

Glaeser noted that the application process for credits is expensive and time consuming.

"If the city selects (Tapestry), they're going to have to do a little more research to see if this is more competitive before they spend $10,000 for an application," Glaeser said. "Applications for low-income house credits are due in June. If they realize the project is not going to be any more than marginally competitive, they have a right to withdraw."

Glaeser told the city commission at its planning retreat Feb. 4 that if Tapestry is selected, the firm is asking only to tie up the property until its application for low-income housing credits is due. If the development group opts not to go through with the application, the property will be returned to the city.

The city's other option, Glaeser said, is to not award the bid to Tapestry, wait a while, then seek developers when there is a better chance of receiving federal tax credits.

Bill Gross, owner of Kingsland-based W.H. Gross Construction, developer of Norwich Commons, said the application process for the low-income tax credits was labor intensive and competitive, but ultimately worth the work put into it. He said the project should be complete by late March or April.

"We have had over 600 inquiries for rental," Gross said. "There's certainly interest. It takes a lot of effort to make it happen, but it's worth it."

* Reporter Kelly Quimby writes about government and other local topics. Contact her at kquimby@thebrunswicknews.com, or at 265-8320, ext. 321.



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