Friday, July 25, 2014
For 14 Georgetown families, a newly renovated, affordable home is in their future.
For the past 18 months, the Winyah Apartments on Lynch and Duke Streets behind Piggly Wiggly, have been repaired and renovated into brand new, low-to-moderate income, affordable housing.
A crowd of about 60 people gathered July 22 to celebrate the completion of the project and perform a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
The project was completed under the leadership of the Tri-County Regional Development Corporation, Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments (COG) and the South Carolina Community Loan Fund.
Allen Teague, president of the Tri-County Regional Development Corporation board, said the apartment complex was chosen for its central location in the community and the solid foundation of the buildings.
“We knew these were substantial buildings,” he said. “Not only are they nice looking from the curb, but they’re good structures.”
He said the apartments were left vacant for some time due to fire damage.
“With the scale of economies and the neighborhood impact, this seemed like a wise investment,” said David Gray, housing program and grants manager with the COG.
He said the living environment – located close to a grocery store and the new Goodwill – will be positive for the new tenants and the organizations are hoping the renovation will inspire a “‘me too’ attitude” within the community.
Following the ribbon cutting, attendees eagerly toured the model apartment, which was complete with new appliances, storage space and a fenced-in backyard.
There are 14 three-bedroom units in the complex, and rents range from $590 to $700.
“We are so thankful for this affordable housing in Georgetown. This is a chance for people to bring their children here, to grow up here,” said City Councilwoman Peggy Wayne. “I hope and pray we can continue this throughout the whole city.”
It took a $350,000 loan from the South Carolina Community Loan Fund to complete the acquisition and rehabilitation of the properties, Executive Director Michelle Mapp said.
“There is a huge need for affordable rentals and home ownership opportunities for the Georgetown workforce,” she said. In the future the partners will continue to work together to bring those opportunities to Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties.
The groundbreaking for construction took place in February and it only took six months to complete the construction, according to Ronnie Dew, of Dew’s Lowcountry Construction, the contractor for the project.
He said he used local products, tradesmen and laborers to maintain the positive impact of the project in the area.
And it would appear the hard work has not gone unnoticed. Property Manager Tandra Ingram said since the leasing advertisement has gone up, more than 150 have called inquiring about the apartments.
Leasing the units is only at the very beginning stages, although housing applications were distributed to many families during the open house. So far only one unit has been leased.
Shulanda Robinson is the first tenant, who moved in with her 6-, 3- and 2-year-old children this week.
“This is a big change, but we greatly appreciate the opportunity,” she said.
Robinson had been living with family before, and said having “a lot more living space” will be the biggest change for her. This is her first apartment on her own.