Atlanta Housing (AH) leaders have finally tapped a master developer to revive the Westside’s former Bowen Homes public housing site–over eight months after the agency’s board of commissioners punted on selecting a development team and 13 years after a wrecking crew left the 74-acre plot vacant.

The AH board on Wednesday selected a joint venture called Bowen District Developers, led by real estate firms The Benoit Group and McCormack Baron Salazar, to bring 1,892 new residential rental units to the overgrown property. That will include 502 units priced as affordable for households earning up to 80% of the area median income (AMI)—or about $77,120 for a family of four.

The $607 million project is expected to deliver 254 units of “workforce” housing for households earning between 80% and 120% of the AMI and 1,136 market-rate apartments, according to a presentation the board showed during its monthly meeting. The plan includes 108 units for sale—including 36 earmarked for people using down payment assistance—and 75,000 square feet of retail space and community amenities.

AH expects to sign a master development agreement with the Bowen District Developers between April and June 2023 and begin construction later that year or in early 2024, according to the housing authority. The redevelopment team includes minority partners Coleman & Associates and JG Consultant, which each will have 2.5% ownership.

The selection of a development team for the idle Bowen Homes site is a long time coming: The local neighborhood planning unit (NPU-G) helped craft a blueprint in 2010 and updated it in 2018. AH secured a federal Choice Neighborhoods Planning grant for the redevelopment in December 2020. 

The most recent delay happened when Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens last February brokered an unexpected settlement in an unrelated, years-long legal battle between AH and developer Integral Group over development rights to other properties owned by the housing authority. To address the settlement, AH’s board backburnered a planned vote on a master developer for the Bowen Homes project, and then, last April, issued another request for proposals for the site.

AH anticipates the first phase of the Bowen Homes redevelopment to wrap in 2025, but it won’t be completed until 2032.

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