The City of Atlanta has picked a team to develop a mixed-use complex that includes 186 affordable housing units across the street from City Hall, according to the city’s planning commissioner, Tim Keane.

Officials tapped Vecino Group Southeast and the nonprofit Capitol Hill Neighborhood Development Corporation to spearhead the buildout of a 0.86-acre site at 104 Trinity Avenue that’s owned by the city, Keane told Atlanta Civic Circle via text.

The city will execute a 99-year ground lease. A master development agreement is slated to be finalized in May, and the project could be move-in ready by fall 2025.

Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm, deployed a request for proposals in September that called for 40% of the new residences to be earmarked for affordable housing.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ office announced details on Thursday for the project, which will designate 186 of 218 residential units for affordable housing. It will also include 7,500 square feet of ground-floor retail for local businesses “that provide essential services and lifestyle amenities” as well as a rooftop garden, according to the announcement.

The 104 Trinity project will provide “a new model for how we leverage vacant public land to deliver affordable housing and opportunities for local small businesses,” Bottoms said in a prepared statement. “This is a concept we can replicate across Atlanta to ensure our untapped public assets reach their fullest potential and meet the needs of the community.”

CHNDC president Jerry Miller told Atlanta Civic Circle that plans for the site have been in the works for years, but they’re finally beginning to materialize after the team proposed more affordable units than the RFP called for. For too long, the property has served as little more than space for parking.

“A chance discussion with Tim Keane” a few years ago, Miller said, helped push city officials to see the site reimagined. “There’s low-hanging fruit right here in the neighborhood,” he told the planning czar then.

Miller also said that the development team is angling for federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and that he’d like to see the finished product include some units of supportive housing.

Keane said the 104 Trinity project demonstrates the city’s mission to foster density and affordability—goals laid out in the Atlanta City Design: Housing plan.

“Densifying key growth areas like South Downtown, with its unique accessibility to transit and good-paying jobs, is critical to making our city more resilient to climate change while also enhancing quality of life for all Atlantans,” the planning commissioner said.

The 99-year ground lease “will allow the development team to achieve deeper, longer-term affordability for residents and local businesses by saving millions of dollars otherwise spent on land acquisition in a traditional property sale,” the city’s announcement said. “At the same time, the property will remain in public ownership under the long-term stewardship of Invest Atlanta.”

This story was updated on Dec. 17, 2021 at 3:13 p.m. to indicate the site in question is 0.86 acres, not 1.3 acres, as the early RFP indicated.

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