The Atlanta Housing (AH) board of commissioners was set to consider potential master developers for the former Bowen Homes public housing site at a specially called meeting Thursday.
The public housing agency needs a master developer for Bowen in place to apply for a grant worth up to $50 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to revitalize the 74-acre site and adjacent Westside communities.
But when Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens made a surprise announcement ahead of the board meeting about another important development deal, it bumped AH’s authorization of a master developer for the Bowen Homes project off the Feb. 3 agenda.
Meanwhile, the HUD deadline of Feb. 15 to apply for the Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant is fast approaching.
“The resolution is tabled pending executive-level review,” AH spokesperson LaConia Dean told Atlanta Civic Circle in an email on Friday.
Dickens revealed Thursday morning that he’d helped broker a deal to end AH’s long-running legal battle with Integral Group and its partners over development rights to four other former public housing sites.
AH’s board voted unanimously at the Feb. 3 meeting — after two hours of private deliberation in an executive session — to advance the potential settlement agreement with Integral.
AH did not say when the board will reconvene to select a developer for the Bowen Homes project.
The Bowen Homes request for proposals, which closed Jan. 28, envisions a new commercial corridor along the property’s boundary with Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway on the Westside, plus mixed-income residential units and greenspace.
The property, once marked by violent crime, has been sitting idle for nearly 13 years. “The only witnesses to the troubled existence of Bowen Homes are the trees that once shaded courtyards, now surrounded by a meadow that has reclaimed the 74-acre site,” says AH’s December RFP.
AH intends to move forward with Bowen Homes’ redevelopment “whether we receive the $50 million grant or not,” AH’s vice president of real estate development, Trish O’Connell, said during a board meeting last week.
The developer AH chooses to spearhead the site’s rejuvenation will have 15 months to close on construction financing from either the date of the master development agreement or HUD’s potential approval of the grant — whichever happens first. Construction would kick off soon after.