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Old Atlanta rentals are being reborn as (more) affordable options

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Garden-style apartments were popular in the 1960s around Atlanta, and with a bit of sprucing up, they’re making a comeback

Mid-century two-story garden style apartments that have been spruced up with grey paint and bright orange accents
The refurbished Element at Kirkwood.
Element at Kirkwood

In an era when most new Atlanta rentals are “luxury” properties with luxury price tags, the trendy lifestyle many Atlantans crave can seem unattainable to the masses.

But thanks to a growing trend of investors rehabbing old properties—and bringing some elements of new developments—prices are staying relatively low in some cases.

For instance: Tucked off Memorial Drive in Kirkwood, where average rents jumped 9.5 percent in the last year alone, The Element at Kirkwood is trying to change the game.

Thanks to a major rehab, the formerly dated garden-style apartment buildings are spiffed up and tricked out with amenities found in nearby new developments, including subway tile backsplashes, stainless steel appliances, granite counters, and even farmhouse sinks.

With one-bedroom units starting at $899 and two-bedroom units going for less than $1,200 monthly, The Element offers luxury, uh, elements at a more attainable price point.

Amenities include the requisite pool and fitness center, and plans are coming along for a dog park and washing station — like many of the buildings that command rents twice as high.

Reclaimed wood and mod furniture set the tone for the renovated complex.
Element at Kirkwood

Meanwhile, in Decatur, Audubon Communities has overhauled two dated apartment complexes to attract budget-conscious new tenants.

According to a company press release, Domain at Cedar Creek and Gateway at Cedar Brook — two 1970s developments — received more than $26 million in upgrades over the last year.

The units have new kitchens, bathrooms, appliances, and HVAC systems. Plans call for upgrades to a clubhouse, expansion of fitness centers, and outdoor amenities like fire pits and barbecues.

Now, the 300-plus units between the two properties have been transformed from “rundown housing of last resort into a desirable rental community,” according to Audubon founder and CEO Andrew Schwarz.

Prices for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom unit at Cedar Creek start at $900 — half of what some of Midtown’s studios are going for these days.

While they may not offer the choice proximity or ridiculous amenities of some of Atlanta’s newest luxury developments, the rehabbed properties could serve a much larger swath of the metro’s population.