clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

‘Missing middle’ community asks less than $300K per home, so why is nobody buying?

New, 55 comments

Kirkwood complex was formerly rundown 1990s apartments

A picture of the community after major remodels
An aerial view of the revived community along Memorial Drive.
Engel & Völkers

Earlier this year, Beltline visionary Ryan Gravel wrote an essay for J. Rich Atlanta titled, “In search of Atlanta’s Missing Middle.” He lamented that the city’s stock of middle housing—“the middle ground between single-family houses and multistory apartments”—is depressingly scant.

To gear up for an impending population boom—estimates peg the City of Atlanta’s population doubling, at least, in the next 20 years—Gravel asserted that the city should diversify and densify its housing portfolio by adding more middle-housing options, which can come in the form of “traditional townhomes, row-houses, and brownstones,” or small, nontraditional apartments, he wrote.

Those housing options might be in short supply, but they’re not nonexistent.

Alongside evolving Memorial Drive in Kirkwood, an eight-unit community at 198 Clay Street provides what Greg Giuffrida, the Memorial Drive Corridor Executive for Central Atlanta Progress, calls middle housing indeed.

The eight standalone buildings, each built in the early 1990s as apartments, were rehabbed a few years ago to offer open floorplans, according to developer Yossi Kagan, of Zevulon Capital.

“We ultimately ended up renovating everything up to and including the studs,” he told Curbed Atlanta.

The old apartment complex was due for an update.
Google Maps

Now, each two-bedroom, two-bath cottage is on the market, asking just under $300,000—a reprieve from pricier new options in the area, according to Giuffrida.

“I think the alternative would have [been] a subdivision [of] single-family homes or townhomes at a much higher price point,” Giuffrida said.

Between the roughly 800-square-foot homes, where cracked driveways had been, is now a small network of walkways surrounded by tiny gardens.

“Its low-cost and friendly atmosphere will make it the perfect starter home for couples just starting out,” reads Zevulon Capital’s project profile.

Which begs the question: Why has nobody bought here yet?

Listings records indicate at least one unit has been listed since early July, and none have sold.

One reason, according to listing agent Nikki Rosenblum, could be that the new community spaces (walkways, gardens, and a seating area) were completed just a few weeks ago.

Before then, the spaces between the houses were mostly mud, making tours difficult, per Rosenblum.

Inside a home priced at $287,900.
Photos: Zevulon Capital
The community today.

The community sits just over a mile south of both the Edgewood-Candler Park and East Lake MARTA stations, but for devout drivers, each unit comes with two designated parking spots.

Elsewhere in Kirkwood, a few townhomes designated as affordable housing have been priced in the mid-$200,000s, although it’s more common to find something in the neighborhood of $500,000—or higher—like the nearby 23-home Edgehill community, which, as of last month, was gearing up for move-ins.