MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The City of Mobile broke ground on a highly anticipated project. The city will be adding an affordable housing development on the site of the demolished Mae Eanes Middle School in the Maryvale area off Hurtel Street.

This new affordable housing unit will include 96 different units, including one, two and three-bedroom apartments. The new apartment complex will include amenities such as a laundry room, community area and computer room. The city purchased the land from Mobile County Public Schools in 2021, and Mayor Sandy Stimpson says this project has been in the works for a minute.

“Well, you know, the need is huge for affordable housing in the city of Mobile,” said Stimpson. “But it’s huge. everywhere that you go today, across this country, there’s just been a lack of construction of affordable housing. And so we’re on behind the curve on that.”

Near the site of where the new apartments are going to be built, residents of the RV Taylor and Thomas James public housing developments might relocate to the new apartments. The vast majority of both housing units face demolition because the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, otherwise known as HUD, says that financial investment exceeds the value of the property according to Michael Pierce with the Mobile Housing Authority.

“RV Taylor and Thomas James plays are really old public housing developments that the cost to renovate them all and bring them back online so that they meet all of today’s codes is astronomical,” says Pierce. “It exceeds the value that hurts is that you can expand on those developments. And so, when that happens, then they say you have to take them down.”

Pierce says residents at both units will receive vouchers that the new Maryvale Apartments would accept and that it makes more sense to have residents sent there rather than to renovate the entire affordable housing developments.

“So we just finished phase one of that relocation plan where we educate all of our residents, what this entails, what assistance we’ll be providing to them,” said Pierce.

The new Maryvale affordable housing apartments are set to open in the Fall of 2024. Mayor Stimpson says there is a plan to add another affordable housing unit to Mobile, but it will not have as many units as the Maryvale apartments.