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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:

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.

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."

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]