COLUMBIA, S.C. — After being vacant for nearly three years, demolition of Allen Benedict Court (ABC) has begun, making way for new affordable housing units.
"Right now, we have some preliminary plans that we will use as our blueprint to start having conversations with the community," said Ivory Mathews, Chief Executive Officer with Columbia Housing.
The projected plans would include:
- Two senior buildings facing Harden Street with 168 units for those age 62 and over (one bedroom);
- 96 townhomes for families (2-3 bedrooms); and
- 99 units for workforce residents, defined as non-disabled, non-senior single adults (2-3 bedrooms).
Mathews said Columbia Housing is working with the Atlanta-based developer Benoit Group. The group is also working with SC Uplift Community Outreach to help build the neighborhood and provide the needs for residents.
"Some individuals living on the site will be those who need those rental assistance, low income individuals, and we also anticipate that there will be individuals residing on the site that we have been deemed in the category workforce housing," Mathews said.
Workforce housing is housing for individuals whose income does not qualify for rental assistance, but still need assistance for housing.
The demolition comes nearly three years after two men were found dead in their homes at ABC due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
A day after their deaths, multiple gas leaks were discovered throughout the property, and the entire collection of units had to be evacuated, leaving more than 400 residents in need of housing.
"Those families were permanently relocated, which means they found a permanent place," Mathews said. "But we are offering a preference to those families if they would like to transition back. They certainly have the opportunity to apply to transition back into the community."
The cost for each unit has not been determined yet. Demolition is expect to be complete by March 2022, followed by underground removal.
Mathews said the estimate occupancy date is December 2024.