Developer cleaning up low income housing for new residents

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018
(News 12 at 5:30)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Flashback to 2011, you’ll see flashing lights in the Brandywine apartment complex off Boy Scout Road.

“We had people smoking dope, they were sneaking behind the trash cans, there was some riff-raff in here.”

Tony Taylor has lived in Southern Grace, formerly known as Brandywine, for years. He says that “riff-raff” is gone now.

“It's safer a lot safer for the kids because you do see a lot more kids in here than 6 years ago, there wasn't hardly anything."

Developer Joe Mullins is the one cleaning up the area. He bought both Brandywine and the Applecross complex in Columbia County.

"Our goal is to fix it up, put a lot of money in, raise the value of the land, raise the rental income and then turn around and market it to the more professional clientele that can afford it."

He starts fixing up the places by focusing on the people living there first.

"They've got a criminal record, they're felons, they’re wanted...We'll have the police help us when we clean up a neighborhood like that, we get the sheriffs in both counties."

Mullins says he doesn’t want any Section 8 renters, he wants to raise the property value.

“Section 8 Housing has a very good relocation program and they have a lot of owners that work with them, so we contact them and say ‘hey, within 12 to 24 months we're no longer going to be accepting that at this property’ so they have time to relocate."

And for Section 8 people and others who may not be able to afford the new prices but want to stay, they get that chance.

“We'll work programs out with them where they'll stay there, and we'll do a sliding scale of increasing and we'll work with them on their budget, but eventually it probably will get higher then what they can afford because we're marketing to a different group."

Taylor is one of those people who chose to stay and he did notice a change in his rent.

"Mine stayed pretty much the same, it went up maybe $25-$50 but it's been kept up."

And now that it’s cleaned up, it’s a place Taylor doesn’t want to leave.

“The pay and it's close to work, and working the Masters and it keeps getting a little better every year, everything keeps coming up."

Mullins will be doing the same with three more properties in the area including one in North Augusta, South Augusta near the old Regency Mall, and another near Daniel Field.