Construction starts for new housing — with some rent discounts and public subsidies — atop Downtown parking deck

By Maggie Lee

Atlanta leaders broke “ground” nine stories up on Thursday, as construction ceremonially started on a new  apartment building that will be atop a Downtown parking deck, and contain some apartments priced below market rate for 15 years.

“We’re being innovative, we’re being creative, we’re on top of a parking garage, we’re utilizing existing infrastructure to provide housing, and affordable housing,” said Terri Lee, the city’s chief housing officer — the point person for City Hall’s affordable housing strategy — speaking at a short ceremony for the groundbreaking.

Ascent Peachtree will bring 345 residential units to 161 Peachtree Center Avenue. Of those, 70 units will be what’s called “workforce” housing — priced so that households on the bottom half of the income ladder can afford to live there. The overall point is to make sure Atlanta’s a mixed-income city, not just a place for people who have lots of money.

Leaders from the 161 Peachtree Center development team plus the city of Atlanta at the Thursday groundbreaking. Credit: Maggie Lee

Leaders from the 161 Peachtree Center development team plus the city of Atlanta at the Thursday groundbreaking. Credit: Maggie Lee

In this case, for example, workforce rent for a two-bedroom apartment would come to $1,347 per month, versus $3,108 at market rate. In affordable housing jargon, that’s priced for folks who are at 80 percent of the area median income, or at about $60,000 for a family of four.

The rent figures are according to documents from Invest Atlanta, the city’s development agency. In June 2018, its board approved a property tax break for the property worth a total $5.65 million over 10 years. (Subsequently adjusted to $5.28 million.)

The deal didn’t win over the whole board back in June. The debate over three similar deals approved that day was a common one in economic development: when you give a developer some valuable incentive, is the public return worth it?

In this case, the board voted 5-2 that it was a good deal.

In 2017, Invest Atlanta’s board also granted a forgivable loan to the development of $9.1 million, contingent on the affordable housing promise. If the affordability requirements are satisfied through the 15-year term, the loan becomes a grant.

That got 4-1 board approval at the time.

The project owner is Banyan Street Capital, LLC.


Fact Sheet 161 Peachtree Center Avenue Bond Resolution 9.11.2018

161 Peachtree Center Avenue Lease Purchase Fact Sheet 6.8.18

161 Peachtree Center Fact Sheet 6-14-17 (grant)

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

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.