Westside Future Fund (WFF) acquired the former Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) Headquarters at 970 Jefferson Street NW. The purchase allows WFF to preserve this important property, with access to PATH and BeltLine trails, and to ensure equity and affordability, which are core tenants of the Westside Land Use Framework Plan. The building was purchased for $3.8 million and will become a vibrant community gathering space. Additional funds will be needed to renovate the building for community use, which will provide office space for WFF and Food Well Alliance (FWA). The James M. Cox Foundation made a grant of $3 million to enable WFF to move forward with the project.
The building previously served as the Food Bank’s headquarters from 1984 to 2004 and has since been an annex to 732 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd., the home of ACFB for the past 15 years. The repurposed property will serve as a multi-use community and education center to help meet the needs of residents and inform visitors about the history of community revitalization in the Westside. Additionally, the property will provide an affordable space for Westside-oriented businesses.
“Over the last few years, as part of the planning process for the Westside Land Use Framework Plan, we have heard repeatedly about the need for a modern, inclusive and accessible destination for residents to work, gather, learn and thrive together,” said John Ahmann, President and CEO of Westside Future Fund. “We look forward to sharing initial design concepts with the community this summer.”
The multi-use community center will not only enhance WFF’s holistic neighborhood revitalization on Atlanta’s historic Westside, but also build on FWA’s belief that locally grown food builds healthier communities.
“It’s a critical time for many of our neighborhoods, so we want to provide an accessible space to grow community by using food as a transformational tool for revitalization,” said Bill Bolling, Founder of the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Food Well Alliance Board Chair. “We’ll bring people and organizations together to collaboratively provide resources, capacity and leadership that will help communities prioritize urban agriculture.”
With properties close to PATH and BeltLine trails commanding higher market values, the sale of the 74,000-square-foot building to the WFF will allow the property to continue to be of service to the community.
“The Atlanta Community Food Bank leadership and Board of Directors are incredibly grateful to the historic Westside community, which has been our home for more than 35 years,” explained Kyle Waide, President and CEO of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. “We’re thrilled to partner with Westside Future Fund, Food Well Alliance, and our founder, Bill Bolling, on this project, which will extend the Food Bank’s legacy of building community in the Westside and beyond. While we’re moving, we’re not leaving. The Food Bank will continue to work with our network of community partners to serve Westside families and neighborhoods even more effectively from our new location.”
The James M. Cox Foundation — named in honor of Cox Enterprises’ founder — has long been a key supporter of all the organizations involved in this transformational project. The foundation also provided funding to the Atlanta Community Food Bank to establish the Food Well Alliance in 2015. Additionally, the Cox Foundation has supported the BeltLine and the PATH Foundation’s mission to develop multi-use trails throughout the city.