The NorSouth Cos. has broken ground on Hearthside Brookleigh, a 121-unit senior apartment community in Atlanta touted by the developer as “amenity rich,” yet affordable. Move-ins for Hearthside Brookleigh, designed for independent seniors age 62 and older, are scheduled to begin in early 2012.

The $15.7 million senior living community will serve as Phase III of Brookleigh, a new six-phase, mixed-use development on the site of the former Johnson Ferry East public housing project near Ashford Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry roads in north DeKalb County.

The 56-acre Brookleigh site is owned by the Housing Authority of DeKalb County (HADC) and is being redeveloped through a public/private partnership between NorSouth and HADC as a mixed-use, mixed-income community built around a central park.

Construction is being managed in six phases. When completed, the property will include apartments for independent seniors, a new retail village, luxury mid-rise apartments and high-end, single-family homes and condominiums.

Hearthside Brookleigh will offer private gardens, a residents’ lounge and media room, fitness center, sunroom and bocce ball court. The one- and two-bedroom apartments will feature spacious kitchens with pantry, Energy Star appliances, microwaves, washer/dryer hook-ups and large walk-in closets.

Select units will feature balconies, while ground floor residences will offer direct entry from the outside.

Monthly rents for a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment at Hearthside Brookleigh range from $680 to $750; rents for a two-bedroom, one-bath unit start at $760 and go up to $850; and rents for a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment range from $790 to $950.

The sustainable building features of Hearthside Brookleigh will include energy-efficient appliances and lighting fixtures, indoor air quality improvements, a rainwater harvest system, LED outdoor lighting and more.

Mature trees were removed during the demolition of the old public housing buildings and then re-planted in Brookleigh’s new park. Community garden plots are available for the residents of each of the senior properties at Brookleigh.

“We believe there is already a strong need for affordable homes for independent seniors, which will only increase in the future,” says Dave Dixon, managing partner with NorSouth.

“Our goal is to create a true sense of place at Hearthside Brookleigh, with large, usable green spaces, the conservation of old-growth trees, pedestrian connectivity and the highest quality design standards throughout the development,” adds Dixon.

Pete Walker, executive director of the DeKalb County Housing Authority, says that seniors who live at Hearthside Brookleigh will have access to a full slate of amenities and services without having to make a substantial down payment prior to moving in.

Brookleigh is located just north of Brookhaven near Chamblee and adjacent to Blackburn Park. The PATH Foundation multipurpose trail runs through the site, connecting Brookleigh to Blackburn Park, Murphy Candler Park and other destinations throughout metro Atlanta.

Brookleigh residents also have convenient access to public transportation, two supermarket-anchored shopping centers, restaurants, the Ashford-Dunwoody YMCA and nearby hospitals and medical facilities.

Based in Atlanta and Savannah, Ga., the NorSouth Cos. is a diversified development, construction and management firm specializing in environmentally sensitive, affordable communities for independent senior living.

Other senior living projects in metro Atlanta currently under construction by NorSouth include Hearthside Towne Lake in Woodstock, and Hearthside Johns Creek.