BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD)- A groundbreaking ceremony years in the making, East Baton Rouge residents will now have a new affordable housing option to call home.
Many community members have used the word “eyesore” to describe the former site of Brandywine Condominiums. Roy Maughan with City Holdings said the property has been on a downwards spiral for years.
“The disrepair led to vacancies, the vacancy led to vagrancy, the vagrancy led to depreciation, deterioration, and people abandoning their homes,” said Maughan.
With the help of tax dollars, the new housing development, Sherwood Oaks, will provide over 200 families with low-cost, income-based housing.
“Benefits have been awarded to the developers through Louisiana housing and the federal government that allow them to develop the complex at a lower cost and then to be able to pass those savings on to residents in the form of lower rent,” said Maughan.
A property that has been around since the ’70s, Bradley Sweazy with the Louisiana Housing Corporation said it was important to repurpose the land for the community.
“To tear something down and leave it a green space, especially in an area that’s already got infrastructure, that’s not in our best interest,” said Sweazy.
The development will also boost the economy. More than 100 construction-related, administrative, and service opportunities are expected to be created over the next two years.
Construction for Sherwood Oaks marks the end of a journey that began in 2014, developers ran into many roadblocks along the way. Acquiring the titles of abandoned homes to begin demolition was a huge issue for investors.
“We had to run down former residents all over the state, all over the country in some places, even find heirs and relatives to obtain the titles we needed,” said Maughan.
Mayor Sharon Broome said this project is a commitment to provide affordable housing opportunities for all.
“We hear a lot about blight in our community and this is a premier example of blight but what we’re going to do here is transfer blight to beauty,” said Broome.
When construction is finished, there will be 298 units in the Sherwood Oaks housing development.
The new housing development is located at 10950 Darryl Drive.