The Valdosta Daily Times
Patty Jarvice and her husband, Dareld, get a lot of questions about why they decided to move from Alpena, Mich., to Hahira.
“Everybody asks why we moved from all that snow,” said Patty. “It’s because of all that snow.”
After living in Valdosta for a time with their daughter, the Jarvices moved to Hahira to live at the newly constructed Gateway Pines II Apartments in Hahira.
Built by McClain and Brown, the apartments are part of a years-long project between McClain and Brown and Investor’s Management Company, both long-time local companies in construction and property development.
It’s a project that began a few years ago when they set out on a three-phase project. The first phase was to build Gateway Pines I, a set of apartments designed for families.
“We initially received questions (from the local community) about Phase I,” said Hunter Brown, vice president of McClain and Brown. “But once we answered their questions and they saw the product, we built in Phase I, that have been nothing but supportive.”
With Gateway Pines I completed in 2012, McClain and Brown moved on to Phase II, breaking ground on Gateway Pines II in September 2012.
While the first Gateway Pines was family-oriented, the second one is designed to meet the needs of senior citizens.
Each apartment — one bedroom or two bedrooms — is adaptable and accommodating for handicapped residents and each apartment building has an elevator. A covered walkway extends from the complex’s main office throughout the three apartment buildings, allowing residents to make it from the main office building, which houses a wash room, work-out room, computer lab, library and a versatile meeting/gathering room, no matter the weather.
“There’s a definite need for affordable housing for elderly,” said Melanie Ferrell, vice president of development for IMC. “We thought it would be good to try to feel that need.”
Now with the majority of the construction completed — there’s still some work to do on the third building which will be finished by the end of the year — residents have started moving in.
The Jarvices were one of the first, moving in at the beginning of October.
“Everybody here is like family,” said Patty.
Part of that family is Carolyn and James Dozier. Homeowners for years, a recent avalanche of medical bills found them living in an RV in a church parking lot. That’s where they were when they heard about Gateway Pines II.
“When I saw it, I said, I love it,” said Carolyn. “I called everyday. I worried (them) to death.”
After a month of living in their new apartment, they have nothing but praise.
“It’s nice and quiet and you feel independent,” said James. “You don’t feel crowded.”
For Brown, Ferrell and the rest of the team who put together Gateway Pines II, that’s just what they want to hear.
“I love talking to tenants,” said Brown. “We hear how they struggled to find a place and how happy they are.”
They’re considering moving in a third phase and constructing Gateway Pines III, but that would be further in the future. For now, they’re hammering out the details for Pines II, finishing landscaping and installing a community garden with a lot for each apartment to grow whatever they like.
Also, they’re ironing out a schedule of social activities for residents, ranging from sewing and computer classes to yoga and tai-chi classes.
“We want to create a sense of community in the area.”