Moving Day: Multi-million dollar JCHA Dunbar apartments ready for residents

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A multi-million dollar housing project in Johnson City was officially ready for tenants to move in on Friday.

Johnson City Housing Authority’s Dunbar Apartments sit on five acres just off John Exum Parkway. It features 80 units.

This is after the previous homes on this five-acre lot were torn down and built new.

News Channel 11’s Pheben Kassahun caught up with one resident who was the very first tenant to check in.

“I’d come over and look. Seemed like I just couldn’t wait to get to see the inside of it, but I really love it. It’s quiet. I’ll get used to it,” Barbara Bishop said.

Residents at the Dunbar Apartments are starting this new year with a new home. The $14 million government-subsidized housing development in Johnson City has had moving vans on site this week. Residents are looking forward to having spacious rooms but more importantly some peace and quiet.

The complex provides energy efficiency, spacious pods and an on site daycare. All of this will be affordable to tenants, thanks to a new program.

The Johnson City Housing Authority (JCHA) is converting public housing over to HUD’s “Project-Based Rental Assistance Program”.

PREVIOUS STORYHundreds on the waiting list for new JCHA Dunbar Apartments

One by one, Johnson City residents are moving into their brand new homes on Robinson Drive.

“I just can’t get used to being in a big apartment like this because I just had a one bedroom over there. I mean, I was just all crowded up,” Bishop said, “This is plenty big enough.”

Bishop lived in the Dunbar Apartments before being moved to temporary housing during the rebuild.

“They tore all those down and built these new, and then I had to transfer to Garden Drive, she said, “It’s a lot nicer, it’s something new. You have a lot of new stuff to get to come to because the stuff that we did have, everybody has lived in the apartments. But here, you have dishwashers, and built-in microwaves and I’m not used to that kind of stuff but I’m happy with it.”

Before the revamp, the five-acre property had 15 duplexes and 30 units. The complex now has 80 units with options of having 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms.

“It’s like a five-acre property, so we knew this was an under utilized property, which is why we targeted this location, initially, as our first project for this type of work because it was really one of the best places to go,” Johnson City Housing Authority Director Richard McClain said. “It impacted the fewest number of residents and doing this with only thirty residents here to displace, so effectively, we’re putting 25 residents back in here now.”

McClain said there are now more than 300 people on the waiting list. The rest of the tenants will fill up the housing community by the end of the month.

“We’re excited to see the fruition of this long project. We started six years ago to find the funding for this and it took quite a while to get the funding, and a couple years to build a project,” McClain said.

The money for the $14 million project was raised by the state.

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