Large housing, rental development planned off Burgetown Road

Published 8:51 pm Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A public hearing concerning a $5 million phase one of a development that proposes construction of 30 duplex rental units on land off Burgetown Road in the Carriere Community is set for Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 10 a.m. in the Pearl River County board of supervisors meeting room. The county’s subdivision regulations require the public hearing.

Phase one of the development includes 60 rental units coming on-line by the end of the year.

Ty Gill, the developer, said the phase one project will see the construction of the units on about 20 acres of a 125-acre tract of land and that he envisions eventually developing the remainder of the property with single-family residences.

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Money from the Mississippi Development Authority is being funneled into the rental project, and Gill says the development will be geared to attract the handicapped and the elderly, “in order to attract a more stable clientele.”

He said the community will be gated.

A legal notice announcing the public hearing was run in the Friday, Jan. 1, edition of the Picayune Item.

Gill said the initial phase of the rental project will see about $5 million invested, with 50 percent of the investment being MDA money and the other half his.

The subdivision is called the Tin Hill Subdivision and is owned by G4 LLC.

“What I am trying to do is to attract an older clientele so that the renters will be more stable,” he said. Gill added he is planning to make each unit handicapped accessible and compliant with disability regulations.

“My intent is to make it the best possible development it can be. It is a reflection on me and my hometown, so I want it to be a good development that will upgrade the community and help produce tax revenues for the county. Right now there is nothing going on in this county,” he said.

“If there was anything else going on here, I would not be building this. There isn’t anything going on. Right now I am having to put out two and one-half million dollars of my own money to create myself and my fellow workers a job. On top of that you have a $5 million development being placed on the tax rolls next year. The project has to be completed in nine months, according to MDA,” he said.

He said that with the addition of single-family units on the other acreage, he will have to make sure that the rental unit portion of the project is “held to a higher standard.” He added, “I will have to please these people and keep the development in a higher standard of development.”

Gill is not the only developer who has taken advantage of the MDA program here. Developers Richard Teague and Brent Holston are constructing two four-plexes just off George Ford Road a little north of Gill’s project. Teague and Holston were hoping to have the units rented by February, an earlier story about the project in the Picayune Item reported.

Gill’s project so far dwarfs anything in Pearl River County that has been undertaken with MDA as a partner.

Developers have also constructed a number of the MDA-sponsored units in Roseland Park Community. That development brought some protests to the Picayune City Council from longtime Roseland Park residents who said they feared the rental properties would later deteriorate and attract a lower economic class of resident.

However, developers said the units were well-constructed and added that they would actually push upward property values in that area.

Gill said his rental units will range from $592 a month up to $938, and the full amount of the lease must be paid by the occupant.

In addition, he said the units are designed to Americans with Disabilities Act standards, that the units will have three bedrooms and each unit has 1,444 square feet and that there will be a community park incorporated into the development.

He also said that the planned development will be located on 125 acres with a mix of single-family and multi-family homes and that the project will stimulate the county economy by approximately $5 million.

“Everything, and all the work will be done locally and will help a sagging economy here,” said Gill.

He said, “I have designed these units to be the nicest and most spacious units in the county. As far as people that look down their nose and say that a family that makes $36,400 a year is low income and somehow less of a citizen who does not deserve an affordable home, I say ‘shame on them!’ ”

About 60 percent of $5.4 billion in federal funds for rebuilding after Katrina was set aside in Mississippi for housing projects, said Lee Youngblood, MDA communications director.

Youngblood earlier told the Picayune Item that about 66 units were constructed in the first-round of the program in Pearl River County and about 131 units in the second-round.

Other developers have said that the continued increase in the construction of MDA-assisted rental units in Pearl River County might push down monthly rental rates. But others pointed out competition is good for renters.

Sources said that the rental rates here have fallen from about an average of $1,000 a month shortly after Katrina to about $750 per month currently. Prior to Katrina, average monthly rental rates here were estimated to be about $675 a month, the Picayune Item reported in an earlier story.