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Sale of Atlanta Civic Center site is finally complete; affordable housing coming

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30 percent of $300-million redevelopment will be set aside for working and low-income families, city officials confirm.

A photo of the Atlanta Civic Center site.
For sale no longer.
Curbed Atlanta

Like Underground Atlanta and City Hall East (now Ponce City Market) before it, the City of Atlanta has managed to officially offload a crucial but troubled piece of intown real estate.

Mayor Kasim Reed announced at a press conference this morning the Civic Center site has been sold to the Atlanta Housing Authority for $31 million, ending years of speculation as to who might ultimately claim the hulking, dated complex where Old Fourth Ward meets downtown.

Interestingly, AHA will be partnering with Weingarten Realty—the Texas developer that initially planned to buy the Civic Center and raze it for Avalon-esque mixed-use—to redevelop the site, Reed announced.

Expected to cost $300 million, the Civic Center redo will include housing with at least 30 percent reserved as “affordable” during an era in which “affordability and mobility are the most important issues facing our city,” per a city press release.

More specifically, the project will entail 250 low-income housing units (via AHA’s HomeFlex program) and at least 10 percent workforce housing units (via Invest Atlanta’s bond inducement requirements).

Elsewhere, expect retail and commerce space “with consideration given to a performing arts venue,” per the release.

No other specifics were released regarding non-residential components.

The move makes “30 percent of new residential units at this property affordable to low-income and working families,” said Reed. “The redevelopment of the Civic Center property will give families and working people the opportunity to live in an area with access to transit, employment, and good schools.”

All sorts of big ideas—a huge movie studio and potential new Hawks arena among them—have been bandied about since the city requested proposals to purchase and redo the Civic Center in 2015.

The Civic Center has stood since 1968, built in the historically black community known as Buttermilk Bottom. Formerly a performing arts venue, the SciTrek Museum, and host to movie and TV productions such as Family Feud, the site is dormant. For now.

No outlook for when redevelopment might begin—or when the project could deliver—was provided.