Andalusia City Council enters housing partnership

Published 4:30 pm Friday, January 19, 2024

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Andalusia residents will soon see three new houses under construction on Church Street in the next six months, thanks to an agreement approved by the Andalusia City Council Tuesday.

Citing a critical need for workforce housing in Andalusia, the council approved a public-private construction and marketing agreement with VLM Construction Services, LLC, for the work.

Amendment 725 of the Constitution of Alabama allows municipalities in Covington County to become an equity partner with a company for the purposes of economic development.

Lonnie Miller and Brett House, principals in VLM Construction, attended the council meeting. Miller will build the houses and House will market them, as they have done in other communities.

City administrator John Thompson said the agreement calls for VLM to build 1,250 square-foot houses at 405, 407 and 409 Church Street. The two entities will share the expenses and any profits from the build.

Mayor Earl Johnson said there is an extreme shortage of up-to-date housing in this size and price range.

“We currently are in negotiations with a company that wants to locate here,” Johnson said. “They would immediately bring 10 employees, and we don’t have the housing to accommodate them.”

Thompson said city officials have had numerous conversations with potential housing developers about coming to Andalusia. When asked by council members what it would take to get other developers here, Miller said if the Church Street project is successful, he will continue to build houses here, and that he would expect other builders would follow.