Atlanta agency votes for Vine City mixed-income build

By Maggie Lee

Atlanta’s development agency has voted to sell the city’s housing authority 7.8 acres of land in Vine City for a $60 million mixed-income residential project.

The plan is for the Atlanta Housing Authority and partners to build apartment buildings and single-family homes on part of the block fronting Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, across Sunset Avenue from Herndon Stadium.

The 239 residences would take about two years to develop. Eighty of them are to be priced at market rate, but the rest will be set aside as affordable housing. They will be priced in two tiers so that folks who make less than the area median income (AMI) won’t have to spend too much of their pay to live there.

For example, a two-bedroom unit could cost about $1,010 per month. Here are the detail’s of AHA’s plan:

“We are excited about the concept plan and the opportunity to really activate this portion of MLK,” said AHA’s Ernestine Garey, speaking to the board of Invest Atlanta on Wednesday morning.

The post office on the site would move into a new retail building on the block.

The Invest Atlanta board approved the sale of the land to AHA for $3.3 million, but there was one objection.

By way of background, parcels in this deal are part of the roughly 30 acres that Atlanta and Friendship Baptist Church bought from Morris Brown when the school was in bankruptcy in 2014.

At the time, then-mayor Kasim Reed said a city buy would bring cohesiveness and stability to area communities and the city would embark on an effort to spur job creation, civic engagement and business investment.

The complication is that about 13 of those acres apparently weren’t Morris Brown’s to sell. Under a decades-old deal, that land was to revert to Clark Atlanta University if it wasn’t going to be used for education.

And just this week, Clark Atlanta got what may have been the final court ruling it needed to secure ownership of the land.

A sketch from the Atlanta Housing Authority shows part of a planned new Vine City development at MLK and Sunset Avenue.

A sketch from the Atlanta Housing Authority shows part of a planned new Vine City development at MLK and Sunset Avenue.

So, fast forward back to this Wednesday morning, and IA board member Julian Bene said he very much supports building affordable housing, but he’s not seen professional opinion that convinces him that the plan is the best way to maximize value.

He said selling this piece of land pre-empts the idea of doing a larger master plan with adjacent land.

However, the rest of his colleagues voted for the sale.

IA President and CEO Eloisa Klementich said she knows this piece of land is a challenge, but that the deal with AHA is a good opportunity to do what the public wants done.

“One of the things that we heard clearly and what we continue to hear is a need for affordable housing, rented and permanent ownership,” she said.

(Read more about the deal and see a map here.)

At the end of the meeting after a private session, the board turned to respond to a bit of recent news.

Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed City Hall seeking records related to spending dating from previous Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration. One of the transactions they’re looking at, according to the AJC, is spending by Partners for Prosperity, an Invest Atlanta nonprofit fundraising organization. Klementich is its CFO.

In just a few minutes after the closed-door talk, the Invest Atlanta board voted to create an ad-hoc committee of four of its members to conduct an independent review of Partners for Prosperity.

The meeting then broke up. Klementich declined comment and an IA spokesperson did not immediately have answers to questions about what the committee’s powers are or what it will do exactly.

Maggie Lee is a freelance reporter who's been covering Georgia and metro Atlanta government and politics since 2008.

4 replies
  1. Shannon Waldrop Lee says:

    This property includes a high ground area and a lower area that is prone to flooding and has been identified in multiple plans, as a park site that would use green infrastructure to reduce flooding. Why build houses in an area that is likely to flood? Invest Atlanta identified this area for park space due to flooding in their own Westside TAD Plan. https://saportareport.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Westside-TAD-Neighborhoods-Strategic-Implementation-Plan-C.pdfReport

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  2. Not playin says:

    CoA (City of Atlanta) connivery continues….Ga. Court of Appeals ruled against the Reed administration’s attempt to take the land deeded back to CAU….now the Bottoms’ administration follows suit by sitting idly by, as IA and the AHA seek to move ahead with another mixed use development….how many MDU’s can be put in one city ?…..not sure, but it looks as if CoA is going for the record….hopefully the ever expanding investigation into corruption at CoA’s city hall will derail another endeavor to spread gentrification by using taxpayer money….

    like the taxpayer money used to pay Heir Reed, that was given to the previously dormant AHA fundraising arm, Partners for Prosperity (for their own) then paid for the same monies back to CoA to cover some of the expenses for Reed’s “business trip” to South Africa….

    When questoned by the media about the visit to South Africa, at the time, Heir Reed stated a nonprofit would be covering those expenses….who knew it would be IA

    now that’s knowing how to stretch a dollar…..(cynicism)Report

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  3. Alma says:

    Plus this is not for Low Income families people making under the wages a 1000.00 this project is not for us I guess that makes them proud to announce something else to hurt Low Income families. They always take properties and say its flooding risk just to benefit will somebody please remove these greed ass people so they can finally help somebody which their not doing. Using Housing money for projects that’s not for families just full of lies. How much are they getting paid for not helping nobody. This been going on for years we have our Councilman ,VCCA, NPU-L all these people are just sitting collecting and have not did nothing for the people so much corruption going on. People went to classes AHA,Hud,Invest Atlanta and Habitat just to get the run around just to hear you don’t qualify miss leading people. Yes we need an investergation yesterday its time this people get what they ask for. These people are still using money that was suppose to be for Low Income Housing for projects that don’t fit the people. Others failed projects miss used the money waited a few years did name change and got money for another Project now they will be getting millions. When will somebody come in do a true investergation . When you go before these Boards they say who Homeless making jokes when they know they have pulled the rug from under so many families feet priced out. These Boards are receiving moneys.Where is it going ? On self enough its time for somebody to come in do an open book all the witnesses are ready to step up. They’re closing Schools for Parks. Parks and Trails for Education and Roof. They say you say the same thing but for yes I do I have been in the Vine City Community for over 20 years and I have yet to see what these people gave done. Oh yes our Council flew to England sold properties, our Boards signing things that will benefit the Lead for their own projects. They have not helped nobody and don’t plan to. Do the Dome know that their biggest fans are the Low Income these people that’s moving in here fare less about the team do they know how many people they have made homeless with the Dome? They promise people jobs that lived in the Community (lied).. Who will stop these people that’s miss seeing money ? Again theirs no Justices ,InJustices is No Justices oh yes I got paperwork and it need to be released. Why I Council that suppose to love the Community buy properties out the Community. Why they failed to hear people everything going on they say its good. Why the City believed this lady that came in with a Project got turned down by the Board then she go put in a report lieing on members about racist remarks. This lady got plenty of money
    . Why using money for affordable housing which I call Low Income? Her project passed cause she did not want to use her own so they put a stranger on the Board NPU-L sad just because. Why their holding these Boards hostage for benefit when use people outside this Community to hurt and steal miss lead. Poor Leadership these people are sad. When the lead start where the Mayor left off not only should they be looking at our old Mayor stuff but look at it all ,all the paperwork. Start with Invest Atlanta future funds all these people need to be help accountable for the lies false paperwork corruption and moch more. Start in the Vine City ,English ave,, West end Communities look see how many Homeless look at the babies the Teens that could not go to the Shelters with their mothers ,look at the families and Elderly sleeping in cars and vans. Then look at our Poor Leader smiling and saying (who is Homeless) Look at the ones that say this is good always keeping focus. They have not helped nobody oh yes they can guide them to the Shelter but not a roof half of these projects is for to take from the Elderly. AMI have went up so high they wonder way so many Teens are hanging out y’all made people homeless by miss leading and lies. Corruption ,curpted paperwork false information. John Amn. brought him some property but he suppose to be there to assist with the Low Income over housing money please by Dr. Martin Luther King home. Yes as they say I talk about the same thing that let all know its not a lie God Bless All! [email protected]Report

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