The long commute may soon be over for employees at Roper Corp. and other Northwest Georgia manufacturers.

A $10.8 million development coming to LaFayette next year will bring 61 units of affordable housing to accommodate the area's ever-growing workforce.

Once building permits have been acquired from the city, Rea Ventures Group will build a series of townhomes and quadplexes in the Linwood community, a former mill village that the city is now looking to revitalize.

The Atlanta-based developer's investment will address the critical need for housing, as approximately 60 percent of the employees in local industrial plants live outside LaFayette, said City Manager David Hamilton.

"That's kind of the driving force behind what we're trying to do here: provide housing for the people who are already working in the local factories," Hamilton said. "We want to [give them] the ability to live here in town as opposed to living elsewhere."

Once complete, the development will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom options for rent across three separate lots near Probasco Street.

The homes will be available to renters at about one-third of the area's median household income, which is about $51,586, according to the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.

"It's just a mechanism to make sure there's good quality, affordable workforce housing [where] people aren't spending 60, 70 percent of their income just to live in a good, decent, modern housing unit," said Matt Monroe, project manager at Rea Ventures.

In addition to housing units, the development company will also build a community center and a community health care clinic for the area's new residents.

The community center will be outfitted with a library, a fitness center, a computer room and a media room that can be used for movie screenings, Monroe said. It will also include office space for the community's maintenance staff and property manager.

The adjoined clinic will be operated by Primary Healthcare Centers. From the new location, the Rossville-based medical provider will offer dental care in addition to standard health care check-ups.

Monroe said construction of the combined 5.9-acre site is expected to start around August or September and last for 12-13 months. Developers hope to have plans in to the city for review within the next month.

Email Myron Madden at