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A developer’s plan to replace a vacant house in Reynoldstown with 42 apartments for people experiencing homelessness has been held up by community concerns about cramming too many people too close together along a bustling thoroughfare.
Stryant Investments wants to turn 111 Moreland Ave. into a three-story apartment complex with 42 units—each a small studio apartment with shared kitchens, laundry rooms, and a common space. Tenants would be referred by Partners for Home, the city of Atlanta’s homeless outreach agency, which provides supportive services.
The 0.38-acre site is located in a high-traffic residential area less than a mile from the Beltline’s Eastside Trail and would add much-needed, deeply affordable housing to the fast-gentrifying community.
Rent would be $1,012 per unit—including furniture, utilities, and internet—and the city’s housing authority, Atlanta Housing, would pay the difference between that amount and 30% of the tenants’ monthly income.
But realizing the project will require financing from the city of Atlanta, Stryant co-founder Stan Sugarman said in an interview. And Atlanta Housing and the city’s economic development agency, Invest Atlanta, aren’t keen on backing developments unless they have the community’s blessing.
The bid for neighbors’ buy-in is the linchpin for the ambitious plan—and Stryant’s biggest hurdle.
Though most housing experts agree density is needed to foster affordability, some neighbors worry the development is too dense for the site along Moreland Ave. It could further congest traffic and leave the complex’s residents, who may live with mental health challenges, too little room between the building and the busy roadway, said Lindalisa Severo, who chairs the Reynoldstown Civic Improvement League (RCIL), a neighborhood group whose approval Stryant is angling for.
In early January, a pedestrian was struck by two motorists and killed on Moreland Avenue. Severo said Stryant’s current plan, which doesn’t include any outdoor communal space, would leave residents too cramped and could jeopardize their safety when they leave the building.
“I’m not saying it has to be luxury apartments; no one is saying that,” she said. “Especially if the tenants could have mental illness, you need to give them space where they can thrive and feel integrated—and not scrunched up on a sidewalk to hang out.”
Sugarman, the developer, said in an email that, “Due to the environmental regulations imposed by HUD ( the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) the amount of noise generated by Moreland Avenue prevents us from developing outdoor space for tenant use.”
But there’s plenty of nearby greenspace, including the Beltline, where residents could stretch their legs, he countered.
Stryant’s proposal is backed by Abundant Housing Atlanta, the local arm of the nationwide YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) Action group. Sugarman chalked up the neighborhood opposition to NIMBY-ism (not-in-my-backyard attitudes) propelled by fears about increased density in a residential area and wariness about living next to people who were recently homeless.
But Severo said those claims clash with the welcoming nature of the Reynoldstown community.
“Reynoldstown has a proven track record of wanting affordable housing and making it happen,” she said, nodding to developments like Madison Reynoldstown, which offers more than 100 units priced as affordable to renters earning less than the area median income. Some are for families earning up to 30% of the AMI—or about $29,000 for a four-person household.
“We do take pride in our community, and we welcome people,” Severo said. “We just like to strive for better, and for this location, we feel it’s not conducive.”
Another source of concern and confusion, the Reynoldstown residents said, is that the project seems to be in flux. When Atlanta Civic Circle first reported on the development proposal in November 2021, for instance, Stryant planned for 45 apartments priced from market rates down to units for those making 30% of the AMI—a far cry from the current plan to house the unhoused.
Severo and another RCIL board member, Virgil Murray, said Stryant only presented the updated floor plans for the complex to the community a few weeks ago.
Sugarman, however, said Stryant has kept the community updated on changes to the plan in real time. “The plan changed three times, and we met [community members] as much as they allowed,” he said, claiming RCIL members have not attended many of the meetings that addressed his firm’s proposal.
The RCIL board opted not to vote on the Moreland Avenue project during a meeting last month, keeping the project in limbo.
Both Severo and Murray told Atlanta Civic Circle the RCIL board would be much more willing to approve the development if Stryant significantly downsized it, maybe even halving the unit count to about 20.
But Stryant seems adamant about building as much housing as is possible on the 0.38-acre site, even if that means raising the price points to create a mixed-income complex.
“We do have the ability to do the project with market-rate units with the Beltline inclusionary zoning affordability requirements,” Sugarman said, referring to the city’s policy mandating new residential developments include some affordable units. “But as a developer, we feel this project as currently designed would do more to lift the area and the city by providing housing to 42 residents of Atlanta currently unhoused.”
How dense is too dense? Zoning maps show this lot as MR-4A, which allows 1.49 max FAR and up to 8 stories. With a lot size of 16,552 per the Fulton County Tax Assessors web page, my back of the napkin math shows almost 25K buildable sq feet. The developer is only asking for 15K sq feet with 3 stories. If the neighborhood rejects the lower-density affordable housing proposal, then I wish the developer would submit plans at maximum lot coverage. Atlanta has a housing shortage that can only be solved by making more units, even if they aren’t specifically set aside as affordable. Because the lot is in the Beltline Overlay, no neighborhood approval would be required to make these changes. We need to take advantage of areas where the city allows density.
Interesting that this article quotes Stan Sugarman reporting rent being $1,012 per unit when in the last community meeting (1 week ago) Stan told the community rent would only be $900. Three weeks ago Stan Sugarman said the complex would be 10% AMI, a few months ago it was 60% AMI, but this article quotes 30% of the AMI … Stan can never get his story straight. If Stan can’t get basic facts straight about his project, how can any community trust him with tax payer money? Stan also reported in the last community meeting he doesn’t need community support to build his project and will build his building regardless of what the community thinks. Stan also forgot to mention his site plans include other peoples homes he doesn’t own … ironic he wants to build ”affordable housing” on top of land and other peoples homes he doesn’t own.
The complaints here are just veiled excuses to make Reynoldstown a more exclusive, wealthy-only neighborhood. There’s a million excuses neighbors can dream up to oppose new housing, but the bottom line is people suffer and die on the street today for lack of housing. We can’t afford to block proposals like this because of petty personal interests.
Shame on the classist Reynoldstown Civic League.
This neighborhood defies logic. Moreland Avenue has 45k cars per day, is a state highway and major bus route. So the NIMBYs in Reynoldstown (with $1M+ houses) want to reduce the density to 28% of what’s allowed by right under zoning to encourage outdoor recreation space… along the road they just claimed was dangerous? By all means, let’s assume all these single adults are going to play kickball in the yard facing Moreland Ave. Do you not think these grown adults are capable of choosing housing for themselves? Why wouldn’t the neighbors just advocate for building a bus stop? Or lobby the city / DOT for a lighted crosswalk? Where do people expect 20,000 affordable units to get built if not on transportation corridors? Does anyone in the neighborhood recognize the irony that there are furnished 1 bedrooms renting in this neighborhood for $2,500 today, but they’re protesting building 42 units versus 20… Current zoning on this site would allow 75. I guess we’ll see if anyone in the city has a backbone to finally stand up to the NIMBYs who simply continue to complain about traffic and density without any realistic or logical alternatives. “Let’s just build less” they say. Does anyone actually want to address the massive housing shortage? Does anyone actually read the dire reports from ARC or HouseATL, or the umpteen task forces who have all published the same conclusions that we are still losing thousands of affordable units per year, especially in gentrifying neighborhoods that used to be affordable like Reynoldstown? Why do we even zone sites for high density housing in the first place?
Guess it’s hard to decipher what is “NIMBY” about a community holding a contractor accountable for providing miss information at every community meeting and literally showing plans to build his building on top of someone’s house he doesn’t own? Seems extremely disrespectful of the residence of Reynoldstown and dishonest. Why should Stan who is disrespectful and dishonest be entrusted with public money? The community letter of support only links back to his ability to collect taxpayer money for his building … it doesn’t prevent him from building what the building is zoned for … simple as that.
Got it. So if a totally different contractor, who showed the appropriate amount of respect, came to Reynoldstown with the exact same proposal for their support of 42 units for formerly homeless, the nhood would vote unanimously in favor?
According to Stan at the Reynoldstown community meeting, he or any other contractor right now could build a 42 unit building with no issue. So not sure why he needs a community support letter other than for his funding support. PublicTransitor, you aware Stan’s recently provided plans only of a 150 square foot kitchen to be used by 14 unrelated residents per floor. That space not only is the only cooking space, but also doubles as the only sitting space available outside of their room on the entire floor? Did you also know a representative from Partners for Homes at a Reynoldstown community meeting also negated the need for residents to have access to a larger kitchen because “they would only go to soup kitchens for all meals and therefore don’t need access to a kitchen”. Yikes… could you imagine yourself at 630pm trying to cook dinner with 13 other people you don’t know in a 150 square foot space and eat your dinner in the same 150 square foot space every is cooking in because there is no alternative outdoor or indoor space for you?
I get it. The design is essentially a dorm. You don’t want to live there. But I’m pretty sure you already have a house. If you’re worried about density, what do you think comes next if this doesn’t get funded? Hint…more density to fund the construction of market rate units. Then what do you complain about when you don’t have a vote? Lemme guess: traffic.
@Public Transitioner … Glad you are concerned about my living conditions, but I don’t live in a house nor do I own a car so not sure what that has to do with my concern about the interior conditions of a tax payer funded facility. Also no matter where you go in Atlanta there is traffic, but a good point that was brought up by the residents that actively live on that street was the lack of ability for EMS to access the proposed building which would give me concerns about the residents actually safety. Glad you brought up the development feels like a dorm to you as well … at least we have something in common … neighbor?
Some of my neighbors really sadden me. The studios in the plan already have kitchenettes. I lived for 6 years without access to a kitchen at all, so it’s not hard to imagine. It was called college & grad school and I bet some of you did as well. I truly cannot believe that you all are actually suggesting that the homeless people who are already in our neighborhood may choose to be on the street versus in their own home. This is ultimately what you are trying to decide for them. I think they are perfectly capable of deciding whether they want a shared kitchen, and a private kitchenette and their own bathroom and their own locking door instead of sleeping on a box. How privileged are you that you can’t imagine a world without outdoor recreation space. I certainly don’t think someone freezing to death outside is thinking about how much outdoor recreation space they have. Now you have a chance to actually give real people who you see on the streets the ability to have a home. And by the way, the money is already there. You just decide whether it gets sent back to the federal government for some other community like the last $10 million that never got spent by the city.
I was at the Reynoldstown meeting as a homeowner just a block away from the proposed development. It was honestly disheartening and disingenuous many of the “concerns” brought up. Many times I heard “we have to respect their dignity.” You think their current living situation provides them dignity? You think they’ll feel lack of dignity ONLY having a personal kitchenette with a shared kitchen? You think they’ll feel less than human with a roof over their head but no outdoor common space? The developer isn’t denying these people dignity, we are by creating these hurdles to creation of affordable housing and them actually securing a roof over their head.
I can see why you would be confused thinking any of the studios had kitchens … because the floor plans finally provided by the developers two weeks were so small you couldn’t make out any details. Sad to say none of the 42 units have kitchens. The developers described a kitchenette as a small mini fridge and maybe a microwave in the last meeting with no stove top or oven. No one is saying the developer can’t build his building or “dorm” as said by Public Transitor described it, but can’t get Atlanta housing authority money to build it. This developer also mentioned he was going to use pad split to property manage the building of which is actively being sued by multiple people for removing renters rights and locking out people from their personal belongings for not providing same day rent. That totally checks for when the developer said women would be kicked out of the building if they became pregnant. That would be terrifying to be pregnant and then homeless …
FalconFever, Now you’re just making stuff up. Either you weren’t at the meeting or maybe we were at different meetings, lol.
What’s not true about what was said in the comments above? None of the studios having kitchens? If you we at the meet you can see the floor plans are missing kitchens in the studio. Public transitor call the building a “dorm”? Just read the post above. The Developer using pad split to property manage the building? Stan said it twice at the end of the meeting, sorry if you left early. Pregnant women being kicked out of the building because each room is single occupancy? Again asked at the end of the meeting and sorry if you left early but hope there is a recording you could watch or maybe reach out to the news report at Axios as they were there. Pad split being sued? Google pad split and law suites and it’s not had to find articles about residents being left out of the streets without their belongings, being charged excessive fees, and the inability to get resolution. I found this judgement about how that type of short term rental concept is illegal to strip away renters rights. https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/a21a1263_-_brief-amicus_curiae.pdf
So watch is not true about what was said above Iceman?
The developer specifically said that Partners for home was doing placements, and that it would only be a denser development managed by padsplit if the funding were denied.
No one said kitchen, the question was kitchenette, which is defined by the city. look it up. and the link you included is an amicus brief about a case against a motel. I did just google padsplit and saw they have a 4.3 / 5 google rating with over 500 reviews. sounds really terrible. maybe you’re right though, the lady on the the street probably wouldn’t want to live in a new building. you should keep fighting for ‘renter’s rights’ to make sure she doesn’t have a choice.
Actually Stan said Padsplit was going to be used for some parts of property management of the building which is separate from finding people to live in the building. At the community vote next week maybe Stan can clarify his statement about Pad splits involvement as folks are still unclear with what is what with property management of the building. The way Stan keeps changing who will live in the building and all the different AMI’s he quotes each time maybe he can also clarify in writing what AMI he will land on for this project because he keeps changing his mind every meeting. Side note, Iceman are you against renters right now? As stated by others on this chat no one is saying he can’t build his building within what the building is zoned for but Stan doesn’t get my vote to use public tax payer money to build something when he can’t provide basic facts or stick to anything he says meeting to meeting. Why does Stan as a private developer need tax payer money to build his building? Only Stan can answer that question. Public Transitor called it a “dorm”, but to me it sounds like an “apartment hotel” which apparently is illegal according to that brief.
I do support renters. I’m laughing that your idea of supporting ‘renter’s rights’ is forcing people to live on the street rather than giving them a choice whether they want to live in this new building. In this case, you are literally talking about people already living on the streets. Of course people who are homeless need public funding to be housed. Don’t pretend you didn’t hear that at the meeting either. Funding for getting people off the streets and into housing, whatever type of housing you want to call it, is the decision in front of us, and why I’m in support. Your opposition, and your failure to offer any alternative to house the people living on the streets, is literally forcing them to remain homeless, under the guise of “protecting them.” Here’s an idea, go to Woodruff Park, or even just along Moreland, and show the homeless people the building plans that are offending you, and ask them if they would like to move off the street into this new building.
Interesting interruption of my comments above Iceman when responding to your resistance to “renters rights”, which should apply to any and everyone regardless of your socioeconomic background. Just because you’re using a voucher for housing subsidies doesn’t mean you should be entitled to protections afforded everyone else so you don’t end up unhoused again. Stand is claiming that he can only do his project if he receives public funds, but there are private funds for these projects. You have to do your homework. Just because someone screams louder and throw’s disgusting terms like “NIMBY” at a community they are literally trying to get to approve their project doesn’t make them right. Maybe Partners for Homes and Stan are a salt the earth type of outfit which would again make me ask myself are they really taking into consideration everyone’s needs with this project at this location. Ask yourself why can’t they build 20 units? Because Stan said he can’t make the numbers work. So Stans lack of understanding on what land he bought has now landed everyone in this predicament and his poor planning is pitting a neighborhood, Atlanta Housing, Partners for homes, and Iceman against each other. If anyone wants to be mad at someone be mad at Stan.
Apologize for the typo. I meant to say shouldn’t above. I am pro renter’s right for anyone and everyone. I am mad at the folks name calling instead of working with the neighbors and neighborhood on a proactive solution.
Reynoldstown literally just supported development of an affordable housing project a block away, by the exact same developer.
So it’s a little bit off to say that they are totally against any affordable housing.
“We support is as long as it’s not actually accessible to the neighborhood.” To say that the motel conversion project is “in the neighborhood” is a farce. Is it within a traditional area defined as Reynoldstown? Sure, the very southeast sliver with essentially no access to the neighborhood without braving Moreland and highway exits. Our neighborhood supports it as long as it is far enough detached where we don’t actually have any interaction with the residents there.
So I have it right your claim “ We “support” housing” is that all the other affordable housing projects in Reynoldstown don’t count in your mind. Even though some are in the center of the neighborhood? Weird argument that your only for affordable housing only at 111 Moreland but it sounds like now you’re against the Atlanta Motel location and all the other affordable housing locations in existence in Reynoldstown.
There is a much higher amount of affordable housing development in Reynoldstown than any of the other nearby neighborhoods, including Inman Park, Cabbagetown, Grant Park or Edgewood. Even without considering it is a small neighborhood by size, it is dedicating more space and resources than most other adjacent neighborhoods. Or does that not matter?
Every time I see “NIMBY” being used to insult anybody and everybody who has reservations about a real estate development, it tells me the developer wants to make a big fast buck by virtue signaling his way past those pesky zoning laws and other regulations that were in place when he bought the land. How’re you gonna add value to the investment? Simple! Get the rules changed, get taxpayer dollars, and tell everybody that questions you that they’re elitists who hate the homeless. You can fool some people sometimes…..
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