Breaking News
More () »

New affordable housing development officially underway along MLK Drive SW corridor

Mayor Andre Dickens gave an update during his State of the City address that Atlanta was on its way to building more affordable housing options

ATLANTA — Atlanta city leaders broke ground Wednesday on Hamilton Hills, an $18-million, 52-unit complex that will stand across the street from the Hamilton E. Holmes MARTA station. 

It's progress that Brendan Salters, who goes by Jamil, said is needed and finally good to see come to MLK Drive SW corridor on Atlanta's westside.

Jamil acknowledged that the corridor has a history of blight and poverty. But he said he saw opportunities where he lived.

"There are some family, working-oriented people, and you still see some trouble out here as far as homelessness, maybe some drug abuse," Jamil said. "I walk down the street, and there are a couple jobs open. But as for what they can pay, the price of living here doesn't add up."

Credit: Joe Ripley / WXIA

It's an opportunity city leaders also see.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens promised that 20,000 units of affordable housing would be built during his time in office. He gave an update during his state of the city address on the progress he felt Atlanta was making toward that pledge.

"To get to 20,000, sometimes you do 52 at a time," Dickens said. "We don't just take large-scale developments. Even these small ones -- 52, 60 units, 100 units -- they add up, because each one represents a family that's going to be able to afford to live in the city of Atlanta."

Once built, only residents making up to 60% of the area median income can live in the Hamilton Hills development. That's about $40,000 for one person. 

No family can pay more than 30% of their income for rent or mortgage for the home to be deemed affordable. Other apartments in the area charge around $1,000 and up per month.

Gorman is developing Hamilton Hills and another property, the Residences at Westview, further down MLK Drive. 

Dickens, who lives in Southwest Atlanta, said partnerships with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Invest Atlanta, Atlanta Housing Authority and the banking community helped to provide and finance more affordable housing options across the metro. 

"We're doing it as fast as we can," Dickens said. "We've already done about 15 to 16 hundred units last year, on our way to about five thousand in development right now -- either in funding or construction. 

"It takes about two years to build these out, so as we keep moving, we’ll move forward with more development," he added.

Tommy Lowmon, the division director of housing, finance and development for the Department of Community Affairs, said the state could provide tax credits for affordable housing. DCA is covering $14 million of the Hamilton Hills project. He said the state is investing over $550 million in bonds to go toward affordable housing projects statewide.

“Over months and months, we look at all the financials," Lowmon explained. "We look at the history of the developer themselves and make sure they’re a good partner for DCA, the state and for the city of Atlanta.”

Credit: Joe Ripley / WXIA

Atlanta City Councilwoman Andrea Boone said plans were in the works to revitalize the entire MLK Drive SW corridor, complete with new housing options, new restaurants and businesses and a redeveloped MARTA station. 

“We’re going to be moving up and down this corridor to make sure that each and every member of this community will have a safe, sanitary and affordable house to live in," Boone said.

Jamil said he would like to see better-paying jobs in the area, more options to cater to kids and more affordable housing. He said the history of blight and poverty could turn into a future of opportunity -- as long as the first step started with housing.

"To be able to have somewhere to lay your head -- because if you don't have peace where you live, you're going to make bad decisions wherever you go out," Jamil said. "There are just opportunities for people with intention. Once we’re intentional about what we have, I believe it’s an opportunity for everyone.”

Developers expect Hamilton Hills to be completed by mid-2024 and the Residences at Westview to be completed later this summer.

Before You Leave, Check This Out