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A century after inception, Washington Park is seeing major changes on all sides

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The Beltline and a strong economy have spurred considerable development in the long-underserved Westside

One-story house with covered front porch.
Can the single-family neighborhood withstand the forces of gentrification?
Raw Real Estate Group

This past weekend, Atlanta City Council officials convened at the Conservancy at Historic Washington Park to celebrate the neighborhood’s 100th birthday.

In recent years, the city’s Westside has witnessed an unprecedented shift that continues to change the predominantly African-American communities that have been there for decades.

Atlanta today hardly resembles the city founded nearly two centuries ago, of course, and many neighborhoods are transforming at breakneck pace. Could Washington Park soon be among them?

The Westside, like much of Atlanta, is seeing property values—and subsequently property taxes—jump, due in part to the ongoing development of the Beltline.

And now that the $43 million Westside Trail is open, linking Washington Park to Adair Park, developer interest in the area seems to be skyrocketing.

In Bankhead, just north of Washington Park, for instance, a 30-unit, under-construction townhome project is marketing prices in the $400,000s—a jump for an area long considered affordable for longtime Atlantans.

In West End, a couple miles south of Washington Park along the Beltline, the multi-use trail project’s visionary Ryan Gravel and a team of developers are working to upgrade the neighborhood’s aging mall to the tune of $350 million.

The Elevator City Partners project would produce 450 new residences, 170,000 square feet of retail, more than 400 hotel rooms, and more than a half-million square feet of offices—a serious investment.

And just east of Washington Park, in Vine City, the $34 million Rodney Cook Sr. Park is showing real signs of promise, with hopes of opening this winter. The finished park is meant to be a vibrant, 16-acre green space with sports courts, ponds, and more.

As for Washington Park itself, though, the community has remained largely untouched by high-profile development, beyond the Westside Trail’s northern reaches.

The neighborhood remains comprised of mostly single-family residences, a couple of parks, and a few apartment complexes.

A quaint, refurbished bungalow sold there last year for a bit under $230,000, and other homes in the area—which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000—go for under $200,000.

But should investors keep flocking and the Beltline keep growing, linking more and more Westside neighborhoods, it’s unclear how long those price points can survive.