Seized Atlanta ‘drug houses’ to be refurbished under new program
Only on AJC: Fresh Start
By Raisa Habersham
May 28, 2019
By day, Dill Avenue is a relatively quiet street: a few residents walk their dogs or ride a bike and mostly keep to themselves. It wasn’t always this way.
Fulton County officials have seized a “notorious drug house” with the plan to renovate it and eventually sell it to a low-income family.
For the past six years, the house at 730 Dill Avenue, located in the Capitol View community, has been the site of drug use and violent crime, including a stabbing and a killing, according to online police records. Atlanta police have received numerous complaints about the derelict property, some of which resulted in nine search warrants.
The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office seized the property during a recent three-day trial which focused on rampant illegal drug activity at that address. They plan to renovate the home with the help of the Atlanta Housing Authority under The Fresh Start Consortium. The program, currently in the development stages, will rehabilitate blighted homes to serve as temporary housing for an Atlanta police officer before being sold, the DA’s office said.
There at least 88 homes in Atlanta that the Fulton DA’s Office plans to seize and rehabilitate. Further details of the new program, such as a timeline of when the first home would be renovated and occupied, were not available.
“Discussions to operationalize the collaborative program are underway,” AHA spokeswoman Cecilia Cheeks-Taylor said in an emailed statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Dill Avenue property, the first under the project to be seized for rehabilitation, ends a three-year battle by the Fulton DA’s Office.
Capitol View resident Chris Tucker said he would frequently see people outside the house when he moved to the neighborhood from Chicago three years ago.
“I would be walking past it and just see people all the time,” Tucker said. “… It brought back memories of being in Chicago.”
Tucker, 40, said he still sees people near the home, including a woman, slumped over asleep in a maroon car.
“I see her going in and out,” he said
The longtime blighted home has been owned by Abdul Sabir or family members since 1994, according to Fulton property tax records and DA spokesman Chris Hopper. Efforts to contact the owner were unsuccessful.
Sabir, 76, also owns two other homes in the neighborhood, records indicate.
The city issued four cease and desist letters dating back to March 2013 instructing Sabir to clean up the property or risk losing the home. Each letter focused on drug sales taking place there.
The blue-green house sits on the corner of Dill and Desoto Avenue amid well-kept homes and occasional wayward stragglers. Residents had long complained about the property, which attracted drug-related and violent crime, including the 2016 killing of Vincent Sanders.
Sanders, 48, was shot in the head at the home and later died at Grady Memorial Hospital, according to an Atlanta Police Department report. Kevin Pate, 44, pleaded guilty to the murder in March 2018 and is serving a life sentence.
His killing spawned an outcry from the community to clean up the home, Capitol View Neighborhood Association president Christie Peters said.
“After (he) was murdered, it was the tipping point,” Peters said. She moved to the neighborhood shortly after the killing.
Peters said she hopes one of the residents renting a home in the neighborhood will get a chance to live there after its rehabilitated.
“It’s great that police will be there,” she said of the house. “However, we want a family living in that neighborhood to (eventually own it). We have (a lot) of residents that have been renting.”