Proposed settlement reached in Atlanta housing authority suit

Developer The Integral Group will be able to acquire this and other vacant parcels of Atlanta housing authority land under the terms of a proposed settlement, the company’s attorney said. Atlanta Housing sued Integral in 2017 to block the sale, which did not require the developer to build affordable housing. (HENRY TAYLOR / HENRY.TAYLOR@AJC.COM)
Developer The Integral Group will be able to acquire this and other vacant parcels of Atlanta housing authority land under the terms of a proposed settlement, the company’s attorney said. Atlanta Housing sued Integral in 2017 to block the sale, which did not require the developer to build affordable housing. (HENRY TAYLOR / HENRY.TAYLOR@AJC.COM)

Atlanta’s housing authority has reached a tentative deal to end a two-year dispute over the sale of land where the city’s public housing projects once stood.

The agency filed suit in 2017 to stop its longtime development partner The Integral Group from acquiring the properties. Sales contracts did not require Integral to build affordable housing on the sites.

The potential settlement, which was reached Dec. 18, allows Integral to acquire the property and requires it to provide affordable housing, said company attorney Wayne Kendall, who did not provide details. It is vindication for the developer, he said.

“The whole narrative that this was going to be a sweetheart deal was false,” Kendall said.

The chair of the housing authority’s Board of Commissioners stressed that it must vote on the proposal before it goes into effect. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development must also give its written approval.

“Atlanta Housing would like to get this behind us,” Dr. Christopher Edwards said in a written statement.

The proposed settlement is part of a winding down of tensions between the authority, Integral and Renee Glover, the agency’s former head.

A long-running partnership between Integral co-founder Egbert Perry and Glover was key to transforming AHA’s derelict housing projects into mixed income properties during the 1990s and early 2000s. But Glover and former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed did not see eye-to-eye, and she left the agency in 2013.

Before her departure, Glover signed options agreements with Integral that set forth terms under which the developer would acquire sites on and around the former Capitol, Carver, Grady and Harris homes.

Glover and Perry said the options were part of a longstanding agreement that would give Atlanta Housing a chance to profit from future development at the sites. But the arrangement alarmed the agency’s new leadership, which argued that the terms would have the effect of subsidizing market-priced housing for the affluent as the city was reckoning with an affordable housing crisis.

A flurry of lawsuits between Atlanta Housing, Integral, Perry, Glover and other parties has since cost the authority millions. In November, Atlanta Housing approved a settlement with Glover that would give $1.3 million to her and her attorneys.

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