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As high-end apartments move forward, Clayton County residents fret gentrification

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Newcomers paying market-rate would boost the local economy, say county officials

a picture of the clayton courthouse
The Clayton County Courthouse.
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It seems like only yesterday that some Clayton County residents were worried that welcoming MARTA would bring crime to the southside suburbs.

Now, nearly five years after county voters elected to link Atlanta’s mass transit network to the metro county, crime rates have not spiked, but citizens appear to be facing a very different concern: that of gentrification.

“When Starbucks began building a new location on Tara Boulevard, the die was cast,” as a report from Clayton News-Daily puts it.

Last week, Clayton County’s Board of Commissioners approved rezoning for two large high-end apartment projects, according to the publication.

The site of one of the proposed apartment complexes, where the circa-1970s Legacy on Tara was condemned in 2009.
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The third smallest Georgia county by area, Clayton is largely perceived as being affordable for working-class people.

But the apartment projects proposed for Tara Boulevard and Mount Zion Circle have some residents worried about being priced out of their homes.

The Tara Boulevard residential complex would be comprised of market-rate apartments—think $1,000 for a one-bedroom—and would not include any federal Housing and Urban Development subsidized units.

The development on Mount Zion Circle would also offer for-sale townhomes, and both complexes would feature stone and brick facades, according to the publication.

The dollar stores dotting Clayton County and surrounding areas, which some residents contend is too many.
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County Commissioner Sonna Singleton Gregory told Clayton News-Daily that bringing in market-rate-paying residents would be a boon for the economy in the area, which is currently dotted with more than a few dollar stores. So many, in fact, that residents of all stripes often gripe that there are too many.

Officials also said the incoming residential projects could provide a good opportunity for transit-oriented development.

Back in December, MARTA’s board of directors approved a plan to bring a new rail line and a bus rapid transit system to the county.