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Cash from Gulch deal’s affordable housing trust fund allocated toward ‘offsetting rising property taxes’

Sean Keenan

By Sean Keenan

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Monday announced the first chunk of an affordable housing trust fund generated by the controversial Gulch redevelopment deal would go toward combating displacement among the city’s longtime residents.

The $4.6 million, the first installment from the $28 million trust fund, would “help offset rising property taxes for Atlanta residents,” according to a City of Atlanta press release.

Monday’s administrative order calls on the city’s chief operating officer to work with Invest Atlanta to launch the “anti-displacement program,” although a spokesperson for the mayor’s office has not yet responded to an inquiry regarding how soon that could happen or what the plan might look like.

The trust fund was created as part of the development agreement approved by the Atlanta City Council in late 2018 that would see downtown’s desolate pit of parking lots and railroad tracks dubbed the Gulch transformed into a multi-billion-dollar mini-city called “Centennial Yards.”

The Gulch deal also calls for the development of at least 200 units of affordable housing at the 40-acre site.

Advocates for affordable housing, however, have said the plans don’t do enough to counteract the gentrifying effects the redevelopment could have on downtown, Castleberry Hill and surrounding communities.

The move to allocate the $4.6 million comes on the heels of Atlanta City Councilman Matt Westmoreland’s introduction of legislation that aims to prevent and punish “equity theft,” the practice of manipulating people into selling their properties for less than they’re worth.

(Header image, via Kelly Jordan: The Gulch awaits a massive redevelopment.)

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