Columbia Residential Adds Former City and State Executive to Accelerate Construction of Affordable Housing

Columbia Residential has hired Carmen Chubb, an experienced public sector executive, as president to help the developer “double the size” of its affordable housing construction to meet rapidly growing needs, CEO Jim Grauley said. Atlanta Civic Circle.

Columbia, one of Atlanta’s best-known affordable housing developers, owns and manages more than 6,500 mixed-income and below-market multifamily homes inside the I-285 perimeter alone, with a portfolio spanning Georgia , Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

But the need for affordable housing far exceeds what is available as rents in Atlanta and elsewhere continue to climb, Grauley said. “We’re producing as much as anyone, and we’re still not getting close to what needs to be done,” he said, adding that Columbia has about 45 projects in the Atlanta metro area, and that d others are under construction.

The addition of Chubb allows Columbia to significantly expand its footprint in the South, Grauley said, following the death of its founder and visionary CEO, Noel Khalil, last fall.

“Carmen is going to give us the ability to really increase the size and scale of what we do through her abilities. She’s going to start running,” he said, citing his experience navigating public grants. on which private developers depend to build affordable housing.

Most recently, Chubb was former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ chief of staff, having spent 23 years as a top executive — the last seven as deputy commissioner — at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA ), which funds the private development of affordable housing. through tax credits.

“We would like to double the size of what we do,” Grauley said, adding that Chubb’s years of experience in DCA will strengthen Columbia’s working relationships with government agencies that administer affordable housing funding.

“We’re not going to do that if we stick to the same funding tools we have today,” he warned.

“If you want affordable housing, it has to have a subsidy, because the cost is basically the cost of housing at market price,” Grauley said, adding that new public funding mechanisms are needed, such as the new city ​​affordable housing trust. fund program.

Khalil, who founded Columbia in 1991, died in October at age 70 after a years-long battle with cancer. His passing left titanic shoes to fill, Grauley said. “When you reflect on the loss of someone who was such an inspirational leader, it redoubles your effort and your intent to fulfill the mission — and expand the mission,” he said.

Chubb will help Columbia pursue Khalil’s vision of “building cathedrals for God’s children,” Grauley said, by producing high-quality housing that low- and middle-income families can afford.

At Columbia, Chubb will oversee new multifamily development, asset management and unit preservation.

“I chose to take this job because…when I was considering my next steps, it had to be work that advanced community development and affordable housing,” she said. Atlanta Civic Circle.

Chubb said that for her, creating high-quality affordable housing is personal. Growing up in Atlanta as the daughter of a single mother with four children, she said, her family was constantly concerned about housing security.

“We were lucky to be able to keep our house, but I saw my mother struggle,” she said. “I know the fear of not being able to afford your accommodation – or, if you can, how you make sacrifices with other things.”

Chubb said his top priority at Columbia is to ramp up production of affordable units that are also good places to live. “People deserve to live in places they can be proud to live in, that have access to community amenities like transportation and good schools.”

Chubb’s government expertise could help Columbia develop more transit-oriented projects, such as one of its latest projects, Columbia Senior Residences in Decatur East near the Avondale MARTA station.

Located at 590 East Freeman Street, the mixed-income complex already has 92 apartments for people aged 62 and over. Phase 2, announced in November, will produce another 80 units – and 70 of them are priced for households earning less than 60% of the region’s median income, including 24 for very low-income households.

Funding for the project is based on a highly competitive 9% federally and state-funded low-income housing tax credit issued by DCA, with additional funding from Decatur.

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