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Atlanta cuts bait with surplus properties to help ‘acute and growing’ affordability problem

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Southwest of downtown, lots will be offered for development as part of Affordable Housing Homesteading Program

A yellow cottage set back on a brown lot near a stop sign in Atlanta.
This Almont Drive cottage near Oakland City’s MARTA station was deemed surplus city property.
Google Maps

Maybe it seems like a drop in the proverbial bucket, but the Atlanta City Council moved forward this week with a program adopted in 2017 meant to develop housing that low-income households can attain.

It required cutting bait with three city-owned properties in Southwest Atlanta—two vacant lots and a 1940s cottage—the city has deemed “surplus.”

The city council okayed legislation Monday that authorizes the disposition of each property by way of a request for proposals process.

As part of Atlanta’s Affordable Housing Homesteading Program created by the city council two years ago, officials will field ideas from developers to create affordable housing on all three lots, which were selected based on several criteria, such as size and proximity to public transit.

Each parcel is within a few blocks of a MARTA station.

Per the homesteading program, the city’s Department of Enterprise Assets Management has been working to pinpoint candidate properties.

Their selections are then evaluated by the Office of Housing and Community Development to determine if properties are appropriate.

The city’s resolution calls Atlanta’s affordable housing shortage “acute and growing,” and of great concern to many residents. It also acknowledges that land acquisition costs for housing developers can make it unfeasible to build units that low-income households can attain.

The surplus properties deemed “not useful to or needed by the city,” per the resolution, include a 792-square-foot, two-bedroom cottage from 1947 (above) in Oakland City.

Also being offered by the city: about .2 acres a half-dozen blocks from Oakland City’s MARTA station at 1154 Edgefield Drive SW (below).

A lot of grass with very tall tress and a white older cottage at left.
Another Oakland City option.
Google Maps

And this .2-acre lot at 879 White Street SW, a couple of blocks north of the Atlanta Beltline Westside Trail and the Lee+White warehouse redevelopment.

An empty lot surrounded by older homes on a leafy Atlanta street.
The White Street lot, between older housing stock.
Google Maps