Builder proposes 49 smart, affordable houses

Willow Oaks, a proposed affordable housing project by Rowanoak Development, would be built in an opportunity zone located north of the U.S. 82 and Main Street intersection.

Greenwood may be able to offer residents a new option in affordable housing if a proposed project becomes reality.

Rowanoak Development, a Pearl-based firm that specializes in low to moderate income housing, would like to create Willow Oaks, which would have 49 residential houses. Each home would have either three bedrooms and two bathrooms or two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

“It’s a really nice housing project. They’ll have security cameras; they’ll also have a security guard,” Mayor Carolyn McAdams said earlier this month when explaining the project during a City Council meeting.

The project would be located north of the U.S. 82 and Main Street intersection on a vacant field next to Snowden Jones Apartments. The site is located in a designated opportunity zone.

Established in 2017, and certified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), opportunity zones provide tax benefits to long term investors in projects.

Opportunity zones correspond to U.S. Census tracts. In Mississippi, 100 tracts are designated as opportunity zones after Gov. Phil Bryant submitted his nominations to the U.S. Department of Treasury in 2018.

According to Rowanoak’s project development plan, rent “will be restricted to tenants earning at or below 60% of the median income for Leflore County.”

The U.S. Census Bureau, using county household income from 2013 to 2017, puts the county’s median income as $25,210 as of 2017.

Additionally, the firm’s development details that residents would have access to a community garden to cultivate their own crops and make use of smart technology inside their homes.

For example, smart surface counter-tops would be installed inside homes to allow residents to charge their electronic devices. A smart light control system would also be installed to allow residents to control lighting through the use of a smart device.

Willow Oaks would also feature a business center and clubhouse for residents to use.

“It’s an updated, real good-looking version of housing,” the mayor said, adding that the city is “in dire need of good housing projects.”

She believes that Willow Oaks seems promising and other city council members, such as David Jordan, whose Ward 6 includes the site for the proposed project, share that same feeling.

The council earlier this month approved sending a letter of its support to Rowanoak for use in its application process.

A representative from Rowanoak Development could not be reached for comment Tuesday. However, according to the firm’s development plan, the project should be completed by December 2021 if the proposal makes it through the application process.

Tenants would also have the opportunity to purchase the homes at a reduced rate after a “15-year compliance period,” according to the development plan.

• Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or

(1) comment


Why not bring jobs to town instead of keeping people on low income houses??

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