Atlanta Housing (AH) leaders on Wednesday voted to add homeownership units to the development plan for the former Perry Homes site and two neighboring Westside properties, earmarking almost a third as affordable.

AH aims to introduce 223 houses and townhomes for purchase — including 64 at a price-point designated affordable — to the Perry Homes public housing site, which once had 1,100 apartments but has sat vacant and overgrown since the buildings were bulldozed in 1999, and two neighboring sites also owned by the public housing authority. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) still must approve the measure from AH’s board of commissioners. The AH board also approved asking HUD to allow the agency to add over $2 million in construction subsidies for the homeownership units. 

Affordable and market-rate units cost the same to build, so “that’s just enough money to level the playing field — to [both] keep it affordable and incentivize the developer to develop the property,” AH’s vice president of real estate development, Trish O’Connell, said at the board meeting. 

Adding homeownership units would inject an equity-building component to AH’s overhaul of 152 acres of prime real estate neighboring the newly opened Westside Quarry Park. 

The market-rate homes for sale are slated to cost between $385,000 and $600,000, but the affordable units would hit the market for just over $250,000, a price-point deemed affordable for households earning below 80% of the area median income — or about $66,000 annually for a family of four.

Adding the 64 affordably priced homeownership units will increase the affordable housing portion of the project to 29% from just 20%, the target AH’s board initially set when it approved the development plan last year, according to AH materials

AH hasn’t yet set a construction timeline for the project, but it’s named Brock Built Homes as the lead contractor. The board’s vote to add the homeownership component with additional construction funding moves the Westside project closer to realization.

The 64 affordably priced homes should remain affordable for 20 years, according to AH’s development plan,  and homebuyers would be incentivized by loan rebates to resell only to other people in need of cheaper homes. 

“This is huge,” said AH board chairman Christopher Edwards. “This makes it so that one generation can finally … move on and leave some generational wealth to their kids and grandkids. That’s the American dream.”

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