Located on approximately five acres within the Gillespie-Selden Urban Redevelopment Area in Cordele, Georgia, Gillespie Gardens is the latest renovation proposal in the neighborhood revitalization project that the City of Cordele has been working on since 2008.
Currently, the project is under review by the Georgia State Historic Preservation Office. Once this review is finalized, the proposal will be sent to the National Park Service/Department of Natural Resources for federal-level review. Subsequent next steps include the creation and approval of design drawings, historic rehab certification and construction permitting. The anticipated close date for the project is Fall 2021.
The historic site for which the neighborhood is known, The Gillespie-Selden Institute, is a complex of education and medical buildings that first opened as a school for African American children in 1902. In addition to the school, structures on the property have also included two hospitals and a church which served African Americans who were injured or homeless.
The development involves the adaptive reuse of four historic buildings, all individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as the construction of two three-story buildings designed to complement the existing historic buildings and neighborhood. The 53 housing units at Gillespie Gardens will serve individuals and families who are at or below 60% of the area median income.
Designed as a central effort in the revitalization of the Cordele Historic District, this catalytic housing development is a collaborative effort between the Vecino Group, the City of Cordele, Blackshear Place Business & Events Center, and the St. Paul Presbyterian Church.
“Gillespie Gardens will be a catalyst for the redevelopment of the West side” says Dravian McGill, President of DCMS, who has long been an advocate for reviving Gillespie-Selden. “This will help to further housing and economic development across the street as well as reverse the blight.”
Honoring the historical and cultural significance of the Gillespie-Selden Institute has been key for all stakeholders in the project. “Respecting the communities we work with is essential to our mission at Vecino,” said Rick Manzardo, President of the Vecino Group. “From the very beginning, everyone involved with Gillespie Gardens has made celebration of this noble and historic place their first priority.”
About the Developer
The Vecino Group is a national housing company dedicated to building a better world, one development, one community at a time. Each project the company undertakes must address a broader need, set an example, give back to the community, and inspire the professionals working on it with a sense of higher purpose. The company has completed more than two dozen impactful housing developments across 13 states.