The Galvan Foundation's local subsidiary recently constructed three new homes on the 700 block of Lavinia Street in historic Cuyler-Brownville.
The Galvan Foundation's local subsidiary recently constructed three new homes on the 700 block of Lavinia Street in historic Cuyler-Brownville.

Property Matters: First homes built, sold as part of Cuyler-Brownville housing initiative

After years of renting, Savannah native and mother of two, Jackie Haynes spent Saturday moving into her first home, a three-bedroom, two-bath house in historic Cuyler Brownville.

Haynes said she will now be paying less for her mortgage than she was paying in rent after closing on the home earlier this month.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s just enough space for me and my two children. Everything I ever wanted, it’s there.”

The home is one of three single-family houses the Galvan Foundation recently built on a former vacant stretch of land along Lavinia Street as part an initiative with the city to develop more affordable housing in the neighborhood. Through its local subsidiary, Savannah Local Initiatives (SLI), the nonprofit developer sold the neighboring homes at 712 Lavinia St. and 714 Lavinia St. for $209,0000 each in May and June, with the third expected to close by the end of the month, according to Galvan’s Dan Kent.

The home at 714 Lavinia St. was sold to a family of two who began the process of obtaining a home in September 2018, according to the Housing Authority of Savannah, which celebrated the sale during a recent meeting.

The construction and sales come after the city’s transfer of the lots to the Land Bank Authority as part of the housing initiative.

The Land Bank Authority (LBA) in turn sold the parcels to Galvan last year for $15,000 each, with the nonprofit agreeing to build the homes and sell them under the landbank’s affordable housing requirements, which establishes a maximum sales price to ensure the properties can be purchased by households earning 80 percent of the area median income or less.

LBA is to return to the city at least 90 percent of the net sales proceeds received from the sale of the properties to Galvan, per the agreement approved by the city council early last year, according to LBA Director Alison Goldey.

“The Land Bank Authority is pleased to be working with the Galvan Foundation to provide affordable housing in the Cuyler-Brownville neighborhood,” Goldey said via email last month.

Under the agreement, Galvan committed to at least 51 percent of the 19 properties being developed as affordable, with the remaining being market rate.

While not part of the 19 former city properties, Galvan also built and sold a new home in Cuyler-Brownville at 917 W. 40th St. for $203,000, after acquiring it from the LBA for $17,500 last year.

Galvan is also planning to renovate the Kiah House at 505 West 36th St. in Cuyler-Brownville for use once again as a community museum after reaching an agreement with the city for the acquisition and renovation of the property, as previously reported.

Meanwhile, Haynes said she is glad to be back in Cuyler-Brownville after growing up in the area and spending recent years living in an apartment complex on the Southside.

“It is a homecoming,” she said.

Click here to find out more about the city’s DreamMaker first-time home buyer program and other housing assistance programs.


Eric Curl

Connect Savannah Freelance Correspondent I Eric Curl is probably reading building permits, sales records and meeting agendas. He writes Property Matters to share what he finds. You can find the column, along with other stories, cartoons and quizzes about local matters at
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