Deadline to leave The Darlington extended for some low-income tenants

The Darlington Apartments on Sept. 5, 2018.
The Darlington Apartments on Sept. 5, 2018.

While most residents of The Darlington Apartments must vacate by Wednesday, the deadline has been extended for nearly three dozen tenants in low-income programs.

All residents of the 612-unit apartment building were notified in mid-August that they had 60 days to leave due to upcoming renovations. This posed a problem for many, as the Darlington is one of the few apartment complexes in the Buckhead area affordable for low-income residents.

John Marti, vice president of operations for the building's owner, Atlanta-based Varden Capital Properties, confirmed Tuesday that anyone who is part of a low-income program may stay an extra month — for free. That applies to 32 people still in the building, he said.

Just over 70 people still occupied units on Tuesday, but 16 were in the process of moving out, Marti said. That will leave about 25 people who “are basically not approved to stay longer” remaining there on Wednesday, he said.

Relocation for residents has been going “as smooth as can be” recently, Marti said, with local organizations helping move residents with physical challenges.

VCP, which purchased the building last year for $30 million, plans to implement large-scale renovations to improve its boiler, chiller and plumbing systems.

Darlington Apartments on Sept. 5, 2018
Darlington Apartments on Sept. 5, 2018

The cross-shaped brick structure was built in 1951 as the first high-rise in Atlanta after World War II, and is most widely known for its metro Atlanta population sign on Peachtree Road. Tenants have had gripes about the building's living conditions for years, complaining of issues such as pest infestations, water leaks, mold and overflowing trash.

The low-income residents who have been allowed an extension now need to move by Nov. 17, Marti said.

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Things to know about the Population Now sign on Peachtree Road In 1965, a young Ted Turner, then a billboard mogul, had his sign company erect the metro Atlanta population ticker in front of the Darlington Apartments. In its first year, Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. posed for a photo in front of the sign while holding an 16-month-old boy. The sign read "Atlanta's Population Now!" and advertised the apartments. In 2001, Donald Smith, who was declared the one millionth Atlantan in 1959 before the sign had been built