A two-acre land donation from the CF Foundation positions the Atlanta Land Trust (ALT) to build 40 townhomes for purchase — half deemed affordable for moderate-income Atlantans — in East Lake.

Today, the site sits vacant, right behind the Glenwood Avenue Publix. But with the help of philanthropic investors and public subsidy, ALT plans to develop the Trust at East Lake,  a community of one-to-three-bedroom townhomes, sized from 600 to 1,500 square feet, with prices starting at $155,000. 

Twenty will be priced for households earning up to 80% of the area median income, or $68,960 for a family of four. The rest will be priced for buyers making between 80% and 120% of AMI, according to the land trust. The metro-Atlanta median income for a family of four is $86,200, so 120% of that is $103,440.

ALT executive director Amanda Rhein told Atlanta Civic Circle that the nonprofit will initially market the planned units exclusively to residents of the Villages of East Lake, a predominantly Black rental community managed by affordable housing provider Columbia Residential. The CF Foundation, in partnership with the East Lake Foundation, led the apartment complex’s revitalization over 20 years ago. 

“ALT is working to help close the racial wealth gap by increasing access to homeownership for Black families, which has fallen over the last 20 years,” an announcement from the land trust said, adding that Black homeownership rates fell by 5.5% from 2000 to 2017, even as the overall rate increased 14%.

The development will employ a community land trust model, allowing people to buy the homes while leasing the land from ALT. 

The dual-ownership arrangement means ALT can keep housing permanently affordable, while empowering homebuyers to build generational wealth, CF Foundation president Lillian Giornelli said in the announcement. 

“Perhaps nothing is more critical to the success of families and communities than high-quality, affordable housing,” she said. “The beauty about supporting ALT is that they’re addressing the housing affordability crisis in Atlanta not just for today’s families, but for tomorrow’s generation as well.”

ALT plans to break ground on the Trust at East Lake this summer, with a target completion date of fall 2025, Rhein said. She added that the land trust is still seeking capital from other philanthropic entities, as well as federal COVID-19 relief funding through the Georgia Department of Revenue. 

Donations for the initiative can be made here.

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