Athens Review, Athens, Texas

February 26, 2014

Low income apartments proposed in Athens

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — A non-profit organization seeking to construct apartments for low income residents received a mixed reception from the City of Athens and Henderson County Commissioners Court this week.

Nautical Affordable Housing is sponsoring a proposed 80 unit development at 714 Jonathan Street to be called the New Haven Apartments. The Athens City Council voted on Monday night to transfer the property, valued at $11,030 to the non-profit for the sum of $1. The transaction is conditioned upon Nautical receiving an award of housing tax credits from the Texas Department of Housing  & Community Affairs.

“The proposal is to actually tear down the existing New Haven, which is a 50 unit apartment complex and build a new 80 units,” City Administrator Pam Burton said.

Burton said the property conveyed to the non-profit is a wooded area and is not needed by the city.

“We researched it and it was actually donated to the city back in 1974 and to my knowledge there hasn’t been anything on it,” Burton said. “It’s a small tract, but it will help them expand their footprint.”

Mayor Jerry Don Vaught said the proposed project sounds like a good thing for the city.

“I think it will better that community area, with a new facility like that,” Vaught said.

On Tuesday, the Commissioners Court took no action on an item to authorize a private resale of a property acquired by the county to Nautical at a price of $27,460.64 for a portion of the new apartment complex. The land is the site of the old Putnam Home.  

The property has been through one delinquent tax sale, with no takers. The normal procedure would be to put it up for sale a second time, which would not take place until June.

Nautical Affordable Housing was attempting to expedite the transfer of the property by bypassing the sale and also avoid the possibility of the property going to another bidder.

Don Ball of Nautical, represented the company at both meetings and said the planned apartments would be a major upgrade from the present New Haven complex.

“We’re hoping to expand it with a gated, nice, upscale community with a clubhouse,” Ball said.

County Judge Richard Sanders asked for a motion on the question of whether to sell the property, but received no response.

Sanders called for a motion a second time, but the item died for lack of a response.