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Garden Lakes buys duplex subdivision, creates senior living community

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Persistence finally paid off for Garden Lakes Realty President Mark Brewster, who has closed on the acquisition of the former Nan-Lee subdivision in West Rome. “I’ve been trying to buy those from Floyd Ozment for the last seven or eight years, and I’ve always stayed in contact with him,” Brewster said.

The subdivision is served by Nan Lee Drive off Beech Creek Drive on the north side of the Alabama Highway west of Oaknoll Memorial Gardens. The Preserve at Creekside is a 51-unit development, mostly ranch-style duplexes with three single-family units.

“We have formalized the process to make that a senior housing community,” Brewster said. “It will be restricted to people 55 and older, which we’ve had good demand for.”

The Garden Lakes executive said Ozment did a really good job of putting people in out there who have formed a really close-knit community. As a real estate company, he could not designate the property solely for 55 and older residents without going through the process of becoming certified under a provision of the Housing for Older Persons Act that was created in 1995.

In order to qualify for the "55 or older" housing exemption from the Fair Housing Act, a facility or community must have designated at least 80 percent of the units to have at least one occupant who is 55 years of age or older.

“There are a lot of good friends in there and they look out for each other,” Brewster said. “We want that to continue to be an area where the residents can feel a real sense of community.”

Brewster said that when he closed on the deal there was one vacancy but it got snatched up quickly.

Garden Lakes will do upgrades of flooring and appliances as units become available in the future. Brewster said Ozment did a great job of keeping the homes in good shape. “A lot of the tenants have been there for a lot of years. There are some folks who have been since they were built,” Brewster said.