The long-awaited time is here. Gonzales Gardens officially begins demolition in October with planned completion by the end of the current year. The Columbia Housing Authority has provided new information on final plans for the future use. We have a neighborhood representative who attends meetings on behalf of Forest Hills and all updates are delivered in newsletters and posted on the website. Stay tuned for details.
April 6, 2017
The Columbia Housing Authority hosted a planning update meeting on April 6, 2017. Representatives of FHNA attended the meeting. The Housing Authority spent months dealing with historic preservation people about how to keep the history of the Gonzales Gardens alive. They have now signed a memorandum of agreement with HUD and the state to document the buildings and will build a history room in the old community center buildings which will be maintained. They also have oral histories.
Demolition is scheduled to begin in December 2017.
- Demolition is $2m of the $38m project. Funding has not been identified yet.
- There will be 272 units, not including single-family houses on McDuffie.
- Seniors units will be 1&2 bedroom.
- Townhomes facing Forest Drive will be 2 BR.
- Rental apartments with mixed incomes will be 2 and 3 BR.
- All units will have a balconies so residents can enjoy the outdoors.
- They will realign Lyon Street to be perpendicular to Forest Drive.
- The image below is a rough representation of the current plan.
Here is an image of the newest plan draft.
July 19, 2016
The Columbia Housing Authority hosted an update meeting this week and reports that 196 units have been vacated with 84 left to go with a proposed August completion. See the most recent Gonzales plan.
Twelve new houses in the area directly behind Manning will be built by the end of this year. Construction will start after Labor Day and we may be seeing cable companies and power trucks in the neighborhood prior to Labor Day as the contractor gets ready to break ground. These new houses will be in the 125,000 – 160,000 price range and will be similar to the new ones we’ve already seen behind us.
The three buildings in Gonzales Gardens closest to these lots where the houses will be built are now empty and will be the first ones demolished. When they begin construction, trees and streets will remain as they are currently.
The Historic Columbia Foundation is helping to preserve the history of Gonzales Gardens which will be showcased in the community center that is now the GG office building.
Update as of May 10, 2016.
The Columbia Housing Authority is actively relocating residents with 129 of total 280 completed so far. The remaining tenants in the Gardens will be moved by July 31, 2016.
All residents were offered vouchers for housing in other locations including some who took their vouchers and used them toward home ownership. The CHA physically moved or paid to move all residents. The first tenants relocated moved to these areas of Columbia (and one to Florida!).
Following relocation, demolition will begin, with the City of Columbia taking a lead with a $1M commitment toward demolition.
They are still seeking several one bedroom apartments for some of their seniors, particularly those with disabilities or who need to be near transportation lines. If you know of any one-bedroom apartments available, please email Julia Prater at email@example.com.
There is no set date for construction but Mungo Homes is the development “partner”. The Master Plan shows locations for:
– single-family attached housing (similar to Rosewood Hills but with the trees)
– multi-family apartments
– Senior apartments
– Senior cottages
The Columbia Housing Authority is encouraging development of single-family housing surrounding Gonzales. Forest Hills neighbors could help by inviting good owners to consider the Lyon Street neighborhood as it changes.
The CHA is looking for a name for the newly redeveloped area, so if you have ideas, please send them to our neighbor, Sam Scheib, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 30, 2016
The Columbia Housing Authority has relocated all tenants from Gonzales Gardens and is working through a historic preservation process in anticipation of beginning demolition in 2017. There are also some tweaks being considered for the master plan here which the Housing Authority hopes to make available in a short time.
In the meantime, 12 new homes will begin construction on McDuffie Avenue, Washington and Manning Streets in early December, 2016. These homes will all be for sale within a few months.