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Downtown Projects Score Cash Boost; 500 Rentals Planned

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Downtown Atlanta's efforts to attract more residents just got a significant lift from the city's economic development arm. Invest Atlanta approved more than $8 million in Westside TAD Tax Increment for two major projects that would bring a combined 529 apartments to Castleberry Hill and the cusp of Centennial Olympic Park. The agency will also dish out more than $6 million in grants to projects west of downtown — new green space, a retail row and a community resource center among them — that officials say keeps the promise of economic development spurred by the Atlanta Falcons new stadium. Said Mayor Kasim Reed, in a press release:

"These new projects show how we're honoring our commitment to ensure that Vine City, English Avenue, and Castleberry Hill reap the full benefits of the Stadium project." The largest sum ($4.35 million) for a commercial project went to Post Centennial Park (above). The 407-apartment project would wrap a parking deck across the street from the Center for Civil and Human Rights and World of Coca-Cola. No timeline was given for when the Post venture might break ground, but it would fill a sore gap in the thriving tourist district.

A few blocks to the southwest, the mixed-use Castleberry Park project by Bolton Atlanta will received up to $4.2 million in TAD financing. Located at the southwest corner of Mitchell Street and Centennial Olympic Park Drive, the project is slated to include 122 apartments, a 200-room hotel and 24,000 square feet of ground floor retail space.

Courtney Knight, managing director of redevelopment for Invest Atlanta, said the projects were selected with a goal of spurring a mix of development types in neighborhoods around the "multi-purpose stadium."

Here's a breakdown of other grant and Westside TAD monies approved this week, and what they hope to achieve:

$172,000:
K&K Soul Food Restaurant
The 46-year-old neighborhood institution plans to spruce up its existing façade with new lighting, an outdoor dining porch and other improvements as part of the Downtown Façade Improvement Grant Program.

$222,000:
Conservation Fund
This will help convert blighted and vacant parcels into a 1-acre park that can be used for environmental education and storm-water mitigation. Officials added this: "The newly developed park will include a small stream, playground, nature trails and an open lawn. It will be the first such park in English Avenue."

$600,000:
Historic Westside Village West Block Retail
This proposal by H.J. Russell & Company — founded by recently deceased Atlanta visionary H.J. Russell — would transform a vacant parcel into a 21,000-square-foot retail row. Potential tenants include retail, financial services, personal care and dining options.

$1 million:
The English Avenue School project
A former Atlanta Public Schools property is being repurposed into a community center.

$1.4 million:
75 Marietta Street Building
The mid-rise downtown office building will use the funding to implement energy savings projects as a participant in the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge.

$3.4 million:
Workforce hub
The largest grant was awarded to Quest Healthy Workforce, a 19,000-square-foot community resource center that will serve as an adaptable space for workforce training, healthcare, education and community space, officials said.

· Fresh Renderings Offer New Glimpse of Downtown Living [Curbed Atlanta]
· It Spreads... Castleberry Hill Has Caught Mixed-Use Fever [Curbed]