$100 million aimed at affordable housing at MARTA rail stops

Morgan Stanley, Chicago housing investor partner on transit-oriented development

New York investment bank Morgan Stanley and a Chicago housing investor have pledged $100 million to preserve affordable housing near MARTA rail stations.

Morgan Stanley, Chicago-based National Equity Fund and MARTA have partnered to manage a $100 million fund to help low-income families stay in their homes. The money is limited to properties located within a mile radius of MARTA stations.

Building owners can borrow money to refinance mortgages, buy new properties, make building improvements and take other steps to help preserve their existing supply of affordable units.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has pushed for more affordable units, especially in communities where commercial development is pricing long-time residents out of their homes. Bottoms recently promoted a plan to change the designation of neighborhoods zoned for single-family housing to allow for more density, which could allow for more affordable units.

“In a region that consistently ranks among the worst for economic mobility, the quickest and easiest way to have an impact is to preserve existing affordable housing near transit,” MARTA CEO Jeffrey Parker said in a news release.

Some new developments near MARTA stations already include affordable units, such as Thrive Sweet Auburn, an apartment building under construction near the King Memorial MARTA Station.

In 2019, MARTA asked private companies to propose affordable housing developments near rail stations that would qualify for tax benefits due to their location in low-income neighborhoods. The neighborhoods are Bankhead, Five Points, Vine City, Ashby, H.E. Holmes, West End and Lakewood/Fort McPherson. MARTA said in the news release that a total of 114 affordable-housing units are located near its rail stations and another 153 are under construction.