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City Lights Project, A Boulevard 'Bright Spot,' Moves Forward

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The first piece of a multi-phase project called "City Lights" has been green-lighted, with the expectation it will brighten up a long-vacant corner of Boulevard. Invest Atlanta has approved $7.5 million in tax-exempt bonds to finance 80 housing units for low-income, independent seniors in the Old Fourth Ward. Wingate Capital Partners — the owner and manager of Bedford Pine, the Southeast's largest Section 8 housing project — is leading the four-story development. It will rise at the corner of Boulevard and Angier Avenue, a lot that's been vacant since fire ravaged two apartment complexes there in 2005.

City officials lauded the project as a clear sign of progress for Boulevard, a beleaguered thoroughfare where redevelopment efforts have been stymied but social programs have recently flourished. "The Old Fourth Ward has been craving this type of redevelopment for years and it is now our time," Councilmember Kwanza Hall said in a press release. Added Mayor Kasim Reed: "Transformative projects like the Atlanta Beltline, the Streetcar line and Ponce City Market are sparking a renaissance in the Old Fourth Ward … With even more to come, this neighborhood is on track to reclaim the vibrancy it once enjoyed as a center of commerce and culture."

Construction on the first City Lights phase is expected to take 16 months, wrapping sometime late next year. Units will be leased to seniors with income at, or below, 60 percent of the area's median income. Residents will receive assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. Wingate has been cooking up plans for a new building catering to seniors since last year. Some have blamed the Boston-based company for oppressing Boulevard's progress.

· A "Living Laboratory" [Atlanta magazine]
· Could New Apartments Be Catalyst For Boulevard Change? [Curbed]