Progress from the Collective Effort – Breaking Ground in a New Decade

City officials, corporate and community partners recently convened to break ground on two new developments that will help increase affordable housing options for Westside residents: Herndon Square, a $166 million redevelopment initiative located on the site of the former Herndon Homes, and a redeveloped apartment complex in the heart of English Avenue to house Atlanta Police Department cadets.

Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, speaks with members of the press at Herndon Square groundbreaking site.

On Tuesday, January 7, Atlanta Housing hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for Herndon Square, with remarks from: Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; John Ahmann, President and CEO, Westside Future Fund; Antonio Brown, Atlanta City Council Member District 3; Sinclair Cooper, Executive Vice President, Hunt Companies; Eugene Jones, President and CEO, Atlanta Housing; Eloisa Klementich, President and CEO, Invest Atlanta; and Donna Tyler, Director of Portfolio Management, Deparment of Community Affairs. Atlanta Housing’s new CEO said that the affordable housing development is projected to be completed in 2027. The development will feature 36,500 square feet of retail, green space, and health and wellness spaces. Thanks to low-cost financing provided by Atlanta Housing, Westside Future Fund, and other key partners, Herndon Square guarantees affordable units for seniors and households earning below the area median income (AMI) for a minimum of 30 years.

Mayor Bottoms speaks to Herndon Square groundbreaking attendees.

Mayor Bottoms emphasized the new economic life the development is bringing to the neighborhood in the form of mixed-use and mixed-income living.

For more on this story, click here: Atlanta Officials Break Ground On Herndon Square Development.

Just a few days later, on January 9th, the Atlanta Police Foundation (APF) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for a planned housing complex in English Avenue to provide Atlanta Police recruits with an affordable place to live while they train at the Academy. In exchange for the nominal rent, the police recruits will mentor youth attending the At-Promise Center located just a short distance away. The new cadet housing will ensure that the City can recruit and retain more skilled officers who are connected to the community – a win-win for residents on the Westside and all of Atlanta.

APF President & CEO Dave Wilkinson led the ceremony along with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and with remarks by Arthur Blank, Councilman Andre Dickens, and English Avenue Neighborhood Association Co-President Yvonne Jones among others. The event was also a special tribute to Preferred Apartment Communities co-founder and CEO John Williams, who passed away in 2018. Mr. Blank spoke movingly about his close personal friend, the late John Williams, and his contributions to Atlanta’s Westside community. Mr. Williams was an early champion for the cadet housing issue which he brought to Mr. Blank’s attention for financing support. Thanks to $4M from the Arthur M. Blank Foundation, the planned development will be built by late 2020.

“What I’ve learned in my two years as mayor is that we do things differently in this city,” Mayor Bottoms said. “There is no other place in this world – and I talk to mayors from across the world – where there is the combination of support from our philanthropic community and our corporate community and our government […] We get it right in this city. And it’s because it’s intentional.

“It’s not a matter of doing the right thing,” Blank said. “It’s a matter of getting results.”

“The whole city is going to benefit from this,” said Atlanta City Council’s Andre Dickens, who was also in attendance. “When the cadets become officers, they may want to live here.”

For more on this story, click here: New Affordable Housing for Atlanta Police Department Recruits.