Amid ‘fight’ over affordable housing, Atlanta celebrates new Beltline development

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

‘Parkside,’ located near Westside Trail, features 182 affordable units

Directly across the street from a future East Coast hub for Microsoft sits the newest frontline in the city’s battle for more affordable housing.

It’s a new, 182-unit apartment complex — all priced at affordable rates — on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway in Bankhead, steps from a MARTA station and the Beltline’s future Westside Trail. Local and state officials celebrated its official grand opening Wednesday.

The area’s neighborhoods, including Bankhead, Grove Park and Center Hill, have been gentrifying at an alarming rate since plans were announced for nearby Westside Park and Microsoft’s future 90-acre campus. Home values have more than quadrupled in the last five years as investors have bought up houses and flipped them, raising concerns that low-income residents are being priced out.

Meanwhile, new development has come in: Down the street on Hollowell, signs advertise townhomes going for over $700,000.

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

So city leaders heralded the ribbon-cutting of the “Parkside” development as an achievement that can help residents stay in the neighborhood.

“Housing is foundational to a community’s health. And right here, right now, we don’t have enough of it,” Mayor Andre Dickens said. “At this time, we are in a fight to make sure that we do all we can to establish more and more and more affordable housing.”

The development includes one- to three-bedroom units, with monthly rents that are affordable for people who make between 50% to 70% of the metro Atlanta’s area median income, which is $96,400 for a family of four. The apartment complex is fully leased and has amenities including a fitness area, business center and conference center.

“We do see most of our residents come locally, said Edrick Harris, an executive vice president at Prestwick Development, the company behind the project.

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

While Parkside is a private development, Prestwick struck a financing deal that included a tax-exempt loan from Invest Atlanta and low-income housing tax credits from the state. It also got $2 million from the Beltline’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Officials from city and state agencies all spoke about the changing nature of the Hollowell corridor. Microsoft’s campus alone is expected bring thousands of jobs, and the tech giant has also promised to provide community amenities including affordable housing. The new park is becoming increasingly popular. Closer to Northside Drive, construction is continuing on the massive mixed-use “Echo Street West” project in the English Avenue neighborhood.

ExploreAs Microsoft moves forward with massive Westside hub, residents hope promises are kept

A nearby stretch of the Beltline is under construction, and another segment is almost finished with its design.

“This is going to be a booming neighborhood,” Beltline CEO Clyde Higgs said. “But making sure it’s booming for all of Atlanta is key.”

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com