Loft office, Artist studios, Coffee shop, & Affordable Housing Slated for Adair Park

Adair Park is the latest Downtown West neighborhood to receive some much needed economic development and housing. After years of fighting with Atlanta Public Schools over control of an abandoned schoolhouse in Adair Park, the century old building will be renovated and become The Academy Lofts.

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The Academy Lofts are slated for completion in early 2019.

According to Curbed Atlanta, in addition to 5,000 square feet of loft offices for small businesses, artist studios and a 1,300-square-foot coffee shop, the historic redevelopment project will create 35 “micro-units” of affordable “art-force” housing (reserved for artists)—and is utilizing a $1.5-million grant from Invest Atlanta as part of the Housing Opportunity Bond Program—in order to maintain affordability into the future. Funding will also come through historic tax credits.

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Slated for completion in early 2019, the project is using local developers, Stryant Investments and Building Insights who have partnered with arts nonprofit The Creatives Project to bring new life to the school, which has been abandoned for nearly 45 years. The auditorium will be converted into an art gallery and community events space.

Neda Abghari, executive director of the Creatives Project, said the concept is the first of its kind in the City of Atlanta. Read more and see renderings …

Why Atlanta’s Affordable Housing Crisis Wont Get Fixed by Mary Norwood

Mary-Norwood-croppedMary Norwood lives in Buckhead and describes herself as “independent” in a city where much of the permanent public affordable housing was torn down and not replaced. She is not the best candidate to address the city’s affordable housing crisis. She’s out of touch, insensitive, and lacks the experience (Norwood had not even ever chaired a city council committee until he most recent term in office) to lead a city as large and complex and Atlanta.

On Gentrification

Mary Norwood just won’t stay out of the West End. Is she there to court black voters? Perhaps she is there to introduce herself to the many new white residents of this historically African American stronghold community. Or both. Either way, Norwood has to be aware of the rapid gentrification of Southwest and Northwest Atlanta, and the housing affordability crisis which has left many former  black “intown” residents displaced and priced out of their beloved communities. Perhaps that’s why Ms. Norwood sat down to discuss the issue of gentrification with the Buckhead Coalition. We all know how familiar the Buckhead community is with the issues going on on the Westside (side eye).

On Affordable Housing…

During a Mayoral Candidate Survey on Affordable Housing taken in July 2017, candidates were asked to rank issues in importance to Atlanta’s future. Only Ceasar Mitchen and Sen. Vincent Fort ranked housing affordability as the most important issue.  Mary Norwood gave it a 6. Mary Norwood  In fact, Ceasar Mitchell is the only candidate to make mitigating displacement and preserving existing affordable housing his top and immediate priority.

On Homelessness

Atlanta’s homeless are not criminals. Not having a place to live is not a crime; its a tragedy.  Last month, Ms. Norwood attended a candidate forum sponsored by the City for All Housing Coalition and the Transformation Alliance. When asked about what to do next in addressing homelessness and ensuring affordable housing, her response was:

“One of the problems with supportive housing is, people say, ‘I don’t want that in my neighborhood,” Norwood said.  “So it needs to come with security; it needs to be a well-run facility.  Everyone knows what being a good neighbor means. Being a good neighbor is not the kind of neighbor that Peachtree-Pine has been all these years. Lots of great intentions there, but it just hasn’t been a good neighbor.  I think we all understand what that means.”

So instead of talking about real solutions, funding, and creating a division of homeless services, she complained about the unsightliness and undesirability of homeless shelters and how they should be run more like jails or halfway houses????

At an Atlanta mayoral forum sponsored by V103 earlier this month, Norwood  and other candidates were asked about their plans to increase affordable housing in the city. While Mitchell  said he’d “create at least 20,000 affordable housing units in this city,” Ms. Norwood, who drives a Lexus sedan and lives in the poshest section of the city, skated around the issue.

A candidate who does not have clear answers and solutions to this city’s biggest problems is not the person to fix said issues. She has struggled to denounce Trump, paused on answering questions about racial profiling, and is way off on how best to tackle the affordable housing crisis.

AtlDowntownWest endorses current City Council President Ceasar Mitchell. He has lived in Southwest Atlanta (West End) for over 20 years, is passionate and informed about fixing this city’s biggest and growing problem –housing.

Several New Affordable Homes Headed for English Avenue

After the successful construction of 5 affordable homes along James P. Brawley Dr. NW in Vine City earlier this year (Phase I), the Atlanta Police Foundation has embarked on an even more ambitious project in neighboring English Avenue. In Phase II, a total of 20 newly constructed homes are planned for police officers and long-time neighborhood residents.

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Blighted apartments on Griffin Street have been demolished for new construction.

Demolition has already been completed of previously dilapidated homes and work is underway on Griffin Street to build several new homes for police officers and legacy residents, according to the Atlanta Police Foundation. The initiative, known as Secure Neighborhoods, is supported by the City of Atlanta, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, and Westside Future Fund and is targeted towards three specific neighborhoods: Vine City, English Avenue, and Pittsburgh.

14657314_1843128382583026_3256136458837894640_nIn addition to removing blight and adding new residents to the Historic Westside communities, the Secure Neighborhoods programs seeks to increase police visibility, build connections between police and neighbors, and provide housing options for officers.  And its already seeing success; the Westside has seen a significant reduction in crime.

The organization is based on a public-private partnership model that has worked to secure and leverage private resources to fund high priority projects designed to enhance the City of Atlanta’s ability to fight and prevent crime. As a result of the work of the APF, since 2003 there has been an increase in the number of police officers on the streets and an increase in the engagement of Atlanta’s business community and neighborhood residents in fighting crime. Additionally, the City has experienced a 58 percent reduction in the violent crime rate and a 41 percent reduction in crimes overall.

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Another 10 homes are expected to be built as part of phase III in 2018. By 2020, the project will have constricted 35 new homes in downtown west.