By Colin Hogan
The estimated $24 million upgrade to the Pathfinder Courts apartment facilities is slated to break ground in September, officials said Thursday.
The project, which comes with the privatization of the former public housing facilities to a not-for-profit model, is expected to take 24-28 months to complete once it begins.
The Pathfinder Courts apartments, which currently include 60 low-income family units and a 50-unit senior housing complex, were established as state-sponsored public housing in the late 1960s and early ’70s under the Fulton Housing Authority. However, as state funding for local housing authorities has diminished over the years, leaving only the rental revenues to sustain the properties, FHA has struggled to make capital improvements to the aging facilities.
As FHA now approaches the end of those buildings’ 50-year mortgages, it is turning them over to a new not-for-profit entity — Emery Street Housing Development Fund Company, consisting of the same staff and administration who currently run the facilities — which will be investing millions of dollars to upgrade the sites and continue to run them under a low-income housing model.
With Pathfinder Courts privatizing to a not-for-profit model, the City of Fulton will no longer be obligated to make it whole if it can’t meet its financial obligations. As a public housing facility, the city was required to do so.
As the transition continues to move forward, officials are planning major upgrades to the buildings to the tune of $16 million. Those include new facades, repairing hazardous sidewalks, fixing drainage issues, providing outdoor lighting that meets safety guidelines, a new security system, upgraded fire alarm systems, better electrical service to buildings, new roofs and siding, better insulation, updated kitchen and bathrooms, and new furnaces and water heaters. The project will also do away with any asbestos-based materials within the facilities.
When adding in the cost of relocating residents for the construction period, asbestos removal, legal and bank fees, and other miscellaneous costs, officials estimated about $24 million would be spent on the endeavor.
However, officials said Pathfinder Courts will probably only end up borrowing about $1.5 million of that. The rest of the funds are being pooled together from several state and federal resources.
Holly Carpenter of the Fulton Housing Authority said Thursday that all of the expected funding has come through and is currently being finalized.
“All the funding has come through, it’s just a matter of the lawyers crossing the Ts and dotting the Is,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter said the deal is now expected to close sometime in August, and a groundbreaking ceremony is slated for September.
By Colin Hogan