Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said the city’s plan to repurpose one of downtown’s tallest office towers, 2 Peachtree Street, as a mixed-use complex that includes housing for low-income people will make a “huge leap forward” for his campaign promise to build and preserve thousands of affordable housing units.
But details on how much housing the conversion will produce were scant in an Oct. 20 announcement from the mayor’s office.
The city of Atlanta will buy the iconic State of Georgia building next to the Five Points MARTA station for $39 million from the state. The city’s economic development arm, Invest Atlanta, approved financing last week for the adaptive reuse project to come from the Eastside Tax Allocation District, according to the announcement.
“This historic purchase is an investment in Downtown Atlanta and a huge leap forward in our plan towards 20,000 affordable housing units [by 2030],” Dickens said in a statement.
His office declined to say how many affordably priced apartments the city intends for the project. The announcement said only that it will produce “several hundred new housing units,” with some portion “deeply affordable.”
Built in 1966, the 41-story skyscraper was Atlanta’s tallest building until 1976, when the Westin Peachtree Plaza was completed. The mayor’s office said 2 Peachtree’s location next to MARTA’s central hub at Five Points is a huge transit benefit for future renters.
The retrofitted office tower’s residential component will include apartments priced for workforce and lower-income people, along with market-rate units, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
But the mayor’s office didn’t provide any breakdown by price point for the rents. ”Deeply affordable housing units,” are generally priced for households earning well below 50% of the area median income (AMI). Half of metro-Atlanta’s AMI is $48,200 a year for a four-person household, according to Invest Atlanta.
Atlanta’s acquisition of 2 Peachtree Street is the latest in a series of projects with an affordable housing component slated for city-owned land downtown.
Last December, the city picked a development team to build a mixed-use complex with 186 affordable housing units on a plot of empty land across the street from Atlanta City Hall. Later this fall, Atlanta City Council is expected to pass legislation to redevelop another vacant lot at 184 Forsyth Street, near the Gannett MARTA station.
The as-yet undefined affordable housing component for the 2 Peachtree Street project underscores the uncertainty around the Atlanta City Planning Department’s housing-related goals.
Dickens in September tapped a longtime Atlanta land-use and zoning professional, Jahnee Prince, from law firm Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein to lead the city planning department. Although Prince started the job on Sept. 26, the city council has not yet confirmed her for the post. Her office has turned down multiple requests for an interview or information about her urban design agenda.