Atlanta (AH) housing leaders on Wednesday voted to add home ownership units to the development plan for the former Berry Homes site and adjacent properties on the West Side, with roughly a third of them set aside as affordable.
AH aims to offer 223 homes and townhouses for purchase — including 64 at an affordable price point — to the Perry Homes public housing site, which previously housed 1,100 apartments, but has remained vacant and bloated since the buildings were demolished in 1999, and two adjacent sites are owned by Also for the Public Authority for Housing.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has yet to approve the measure from the AH Board of Commissioners. The AH Board of Directors also approved HUD’s request to allow the agency to add more than $2 million in construction support for home ownership units.
Affordable, market-priced units cost the same to build, so “that’s just enough money to level the playing field – to [both] “Keep it affordable and motivate the developer to develop the property,” AH Vice President of Real Estate Development Trish O’Connell said at the board meeting.
The addition of home ownership units will introduce a building-equity component of AH’s 152-acre reform of prime property adjacent to the newly opened West Side Quarry Park.
Homes for sale at market price are slated to cost between $385,000 and $600,000, but the more affordable units will hit the market at more than $250,000, a price point considered affordable for families earning less than 80% of the median income in The area – or about $66,000 a year for a family of four.
The addition of 64 affordable housing units will increase the affordable housing portion of the project to 29% from just 20%, which AH’s board initially set the target when it approved the development plan last year, according to AH materials.
AH has not yet set a timeline for construction of the project, but has named Brock Built Homes as the main contractor. A board vote to add a home ownership component with additional construction funding brings the Westside project closer to realization.
The 64 affordable homes should remain affordable for 20 years, according to AH’s development plan, and homebuyers will be incentivized with loan rebates to resell only to other people who need cheaper homes.
“This is huge,” AH Chairman Christopher Edwards said. “This makes it so that one generation can finally… move on and leave some of the wealth of generations to their children and grandchildren. This is the American dream.”