By Josh Green
Following a construction pause over summer months, a Decatur “missing middle” housing initiative has quickly taken shape in recent weeks a few blocks from the city’s historic Downtown Square.
Plans for the Oak Cottage Court project call for six standalone houses arranged around a shared, central greenspace, offering what officials have described as permanent affordability.
The collaboration between the City of Decatur and nonprofit Decatur Land Trust marks the first cottage-style project in the city. It’s been in the pipeline at 230 Commerce Drive for more than seven years.
Construction on Oak Cottage Court started in summer 2022 on a relatively tight, formerly wooded, half-acre site about six blocks east of MARTA’s Decatur station, just north of College Avenue.
The six homes will range in price between $199,000 and $275,000, project officials have said.
According to DLT officials, the Oak Cottage Court homes will be offered for sale to people who work for Decatur’s city schools, the Decatur Housing Authority, and the city itself. DLT’s model goes that homes will be sold to new owners, but the land beneath them will be kept in a trust. Should new owners sell in the future, the DLT’s ground-lease program is meant to ensure the properties retain their affordability permanently, officials have said.
Nonprofit developer Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership and general contractor Fortas Homes are building the community.
Site plans indicate the project was designed by Mississippi-based architect Bruce B. Tolar, considered one of the country’s leading experts for missing-middle housing design and development. Tolar’s company is specifically known for developing cottage-style housing nodes as part of post-Hurricane Katrina rebuilding.
Plans call for four houses with three bedrooms, one with two bedrooms, and another with a single bedroom, with sizes between 528 and 1,117 square feet, Decaturish has reported. Delays in construction were related to rising construction costs, Georgia Department of Transportation’s delayed approval of the entry off Commerce Drive (a state highway), and other factors.
The housing type has been allowed in Decatur since 2014, when an ordinance passed, and Oak Cottage Court is considered a pilot project, in hopes it will generate “more affordable, neighborhood-friendly housing in the city,” per DLT officials.
Site plans show seven parking spaces, including one handicap space, will be installed next to the central green.
Have a look at where construction stands now—and where its heading—in the gallery above.
Read the article on Urbanize.