Old Fourth Ward residents will have to wait a bit longer for the long-anticipated redevelopment of the iconic Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center, which has been sitting vacant for eight years, to move forward.
Atlanta Housing CEO Eugene Jones told Atlanta Civic Circle in March that the agency would finally decide on a master developer at its April 27 board meeting to reinvent the 13-acre property as a residential and commercial hub, but it has just bumped that decision—yet again—to May.
AH leaders are still “going through the best and final offers,” Jones said in an email.
The AH board will vote on a master developer at its monthly board meeting in May, and “immediately” negotiate the master development agreement, he added. “Once that is approved, we move forward with the financing and timeline. We are very excited for the community and the city of Atlanta.”
The public housing agency, which bought the property over four years ago, had winnowed the developer candidates to a shortlist of five firms by March after setting a Jan. 28 deadline for proposal submissions.
AH envisions hundreds of new affordable apartments for the ambitious redevelopment, as well as hotel rooms, restaurants, retail options and greenspace—and, of course, the famous auditorium for which the Civic Center is best known—according to an August request for qualifications.
But this isn’t the first time AH has announced the site’s redevelopment, only to delay it. Developer Weingarten Realty (now Kimco Realty, after a recent merger) had contracted with AH to reimagine the Civic Center property to the tune of $300 million in 2015, but then abandoned the deal in 2016.
Jones and other AH officials have declined to comment on pending bids for the job, but Jones told Atlanta Civic Circle in August that Kimco Realty could still play a role in the Civic Center’s redevelopment.
When Jones joined AH in 2019 from a position as CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority, his ability to move forward the Civic Center site’s redevelopment was a major selling point. AH’s success in realizing the project will be a measure of its performance under new leadership.
This isn’t the first high-profile AH project to be pushed back recently. The housing authority at its February board meeting indefinitely shelved an expected decision on a master developer for the long-awaited overhaul of the former Bowen Homes public housing site on the Westside, Atlanta Civic Circle has previously reported.