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A closer look at Sweet Auburn’s upcoming affordable housing complex

Sean Keenan

Housing affordability and convenient mass transit access don’t intersect often, but an apartment complex planned for Atlanta’s historic Sweet Auburn district promises both and then some.

Called Thrive Sweet Auburn, the upcoming housing development is the brainchild of a collaboration by nonprofits Mercy Housing Southeast, Project Community Connections, Inc., and Enterprise Community Partners. The team that endeavors to bring new living options and workforce development programs to an area witnessing unprecedented growth — and with it, an increased cost of living — a block away from the King Memorial MARTA station.

Project officials recently spoke with SaportaReport about the development, which is slated to deliver 117 apartments priced for households earning between 30 and 80 percent of the area median income (AMI) — some of which would be reserved for permanent supportive housing for the homeless.

Earlier this month, the development team celebrated securing a $350,000 grant from Wells Fargo, and before that, Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs awarded Thrive Sweet Auburn 9-percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), a boost that’s only yielded to three projects in Atlanta each year, said Mercy Housing Southeast President James Alexander.

“That is funding which really cleared a path to make this development feasible and move forward,” Alexander said. “The funding from Wells Fargo is also instrumental and ensures that there is a paved path toward completion of the development.”

And since the state DCA’s tax credit program is so competitive, project leaders had to be sure this was the one for which they wanted public backing.

Ultimately, Thrive Sweet Auburn fit the bill, said Alexander, “because of all the elements that make great affordable housing for people who need it. It’s near the King Memorial MARTA station; it’s near healthcare at Grady Memorial Hospital and Mercy Care; it is near grocery stores.”

Thrive Sweet Auburn is also expected to feature its own on-site healthcare services, such as nutrition-related activities and classes from Project Open Hand, women’s reproductive help, and preventative care.

The complex would also house a kitchen that would be used for jobs training.

The project site, 302 Decatur Street, is also where PCCI has been headquartered for two decades. Within 12 months, the existing offices are anticipated to meet the wrecking ball to make way for the new construction.

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