College Park opens new arts, housing district

Views of a model affordable housing unit at ION Arts development shown on Friday, March 15, 2024. (Natrice Miller/

Views of a model affordable housing unit at ION Arts development shown on Friday, March 15, 2024. (Natrice Miller/

A new development combining “affordable” apartments, market-rate units, artist studios and community space opened in College Park last week, with more on the way.

Dozens of elected officials, business and community leaders packed into the tiny PushPush Arts Theater inside the renovated College Park First United Methodist Church, at the corner of Main Street and Harvard Avenue, to celebrate the grand opening of Ion College Park on Friday.

That’s a combination of Ion Arts, based around the church; Diamond College Park, a new building across Harvard Avenue; and the still-to-come Ion Lofts.

The development is touted as being just across the tracks from shops, restaurants and events; “20 minutes” from downtown Atlanta; adjacent to the College Park MARTA station and near other conveniences.

Faith, business and the arts are all needed to build a vibrant community, several speakers from groups involved in the project said during the ceremony. After speeches in the theater, the crowd trooped outside in a steady drizzle for ribbon-cuttings on Diamond College Park and back across the street at Ion Arts.

Ion Arts offers 16 studio or one-bedroom condominiums for sale from $175,000 to $204,000. The ground floor is operated by PushPush Arts, which rents out six art studios, creator or retail spaces there, according to E.J. Lee of developer Good Places. Nonprofit arts incubator PushPush Arts now owns its space in the building, according to Cherie Ong of Good Places.

One lower-priced condo, with an income restriction, is still available, according to Arnold Oh of One Realty Group. Eight of the higher-priced condos remain available, he said.

Downpayment assistance up to $25,000 is available through the development’s partnership with preferred lender Citizens Trust Bank, Ong said.

Views of a model affordable housing unit at ION Arts development shown on Friday, March 15, 2024. (Natrice Miller/

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The building also includes Marddy’s Kitchen café and a community and gallery space, Lee said. The studios rent for $150 to $900 a month, with some discounted to $500 to $600 for local artists.

More information is available at

Across the street is Diamond College Park, a 60-unit residential building with community space on the ground floor. The project used federal low-income housing tax credits, so most of the one- or two-bedroom apartments rent for below market rates. Ten are reserved for people making half the area’s median income, 40 are for those making 60% of median, and 10 rent at market rate, Lee said.

Diamond College Park is already fully leased, with occupancy in April, he said. Use of tax credits required the income-restricted apartments to lease from $746 to $1,113, while the market-rate units go for $1,300 to $1,500, Lee said. Details and a waiting list can be found at

Twelve to 20 more residential units are expected in adjacent Ion Lofts, likely in 2025, Lee said.

Ion Arts cost $3.9 million, which came from equity investment and a construction loan, he said. Diamond College Park was a $22 million project, of which $17 million came from equity on the tax credits. The other $5 million is a loan from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, Lee said.

Ion Lofts, a “build for sale” condo project, is expected to cost $3.4 million, he said.

Views of an affordable housing residential unit at ION Arts development shown on Friday, March 15, 2024. (Natrice Miller/

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The development is a collaboration of lead developer Good Places with College Park First United Methodist Church, Tapestry Development Group, KNGDM Group and PushPush Arts.

In 2019 it was feared the Methodist church building would become vacant, so several groups came up with a new use plan, Lee said. The development was approved for tax credits in late 2020. The pandemic and spiking construction costs slowed it down, but work on the existing three-story Ion Arts building and the new four-story Diamond College Park building across the street began in 2022.

Last September, College Park partnered with Fulton County on a plan to develop tiny houses, likely priced from$100,000 to $150,000, just a block away from Ion College Park. But city officials failed to change local zoning to allow the development, so in November the county terminated the agreement.