By Maria Saporta
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced Wednesday that the city would be transferring the title of the Adair School property to the Atlanta Board of Education.
He said he was agreeing to transfer the title because APS had just adopted an affordable housing policy that mirrors the city’s policy.
The developers of the Adair School, which is in southwest Atlanta, have said they plan to have artist studios and retail on the ground floor with housing for artists on the top floors.
The Adair School is one of 10 properties that Mayor Reed announced nearly a year ago that the city would be turning over the titles of 10 deeds. But he decided against turning over the deeds when APS filed a lawsuit to determine the ownership of the properties.
Mayor Reed then said he would not turn over the titles to the properties until APS agreed to affordable housing standards.
Stan Sugarman, the developer who has been wanting to buy the Adair Park school for years, said the very nature of housing for artists would mean his project would be affordable. Sugarman and his partners were at the mayor’s press conference but they were not invited to speak.
Reed credited Councilmember Andre Dickens for his change of heart. Dickens and Councilmember Joyce Sheperd introduced the legislation at a committee meeting Wednesday.
Reed said the ultimate goal was to increase the number of affordable housing units in the city.
“If you want to use public resources as part of your project, it must have affordable housing,” Reed said. “It’s estimated that 18,000 units of affordable housing will come off the rolls over the next decade. Creating affordable housing options has been the city’s position all along.”
The city, under the leadership of Dickens, passed an affordable housing poliy last year.
“This is a really good development for Atlanta,” Dickens said about Sugarman’s proposal and the decision to transfer the title of APS.
Under the legislation, the developer has the option to have 10 percent affordability at 60 percent of the Average Median Income (AMI) or 15 percent affordability at 80 percent of AMI.
APS has now followed the city’s leadership,” Reed said. “We stand ready to partner with them. Fulton County has made similar announcements regarding affordable housing.”
A year ago, none of the jurisdictions had an affordable housing policy, and now all three do.
Reed did not elaborate on when the title of the other properties would be transferred over to APS. He did say that if the property was being used for commercial redevelopment, it would not be subject to the affordable housing guideline.
The mayor went on to say that his hope is that the city and APS would be able to resolve their differences over the issues of real estate.
The litigation is still in the courts, and City Attorney Cathy Hampton said the next move is up to APS.