A mixed-use infill project expected to inject affordable housing into one of Atlanta’s hottest real estate submarkets is barreling forward with demolition and construction, though later than originally expected.

Replacing an aging apartment complex of the same name, the Henderson Place apartments are set to include 76 units—all of them deemed affordable—in a quickly developing section of Old Fourth Ward, roughly three blocks from where Irwin Street meets the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail.

The former 58 apartments at 514 Irwin St. were built in 1951, renovated in the late 1990s by owners Historic District Development Corporation, and refreshed in the early 2010s. But in recent years the cinder-block buildings had started to deteriorate beyond repair, violating numerous code and accessibility requirements, officials have said.

Updated look at the Henderson Place project's Irwin Street frontage. Goode Van Slyke Architecture

The 1950s community prior to demolition. Courtesy of HDDC, Mercy Housing Southeast

Plans call for commercial space suited for a small grocery store or community market, and one, two, and three-bedroom rentals reserved for both longtime residents and new arrivals earning no more than 60 percent of the area's median income. Onsite amenities will include a fitness center, laundry facility, clubhouse, and business center, officials have said.

As of 2021, the project was expected to cost $20 million, financed with Eastside TAD and Invest Atlanta bonds, among other sources. Twelve on-site parking spaces are planned, with additional parking on nearby streets.

In August, Invest Atlanta announced that a $12.5 million tax-exempt loan, along with an additional $3.26 million Housing Opportunity Bond Fund loan, would help fund construction.

Perks of the location include the expanded, modernized David T. Howard Middle School next door and proximity to Hope Hill Elementary School a couple of blocks away. The original complex was built during a period of decline in early 1950s Old Fourth Ward and later became infamous as a den of crime and drugs, per HDDC.

The HDDC—an agency cofounded in 1980 by Coretta Scott King that strives for equitable housing—partnered with Mercy Housing Southeast to replace the complex with what they call mission-based, mixed-use housing.  

According to HDDC, no longstanding, low-income residents will be displaced and excluded from amenities in the area such as the BeltLine. (A "relocation specialist" was hired in 2021 to manage temporary accommodations for former residents.)

Site plan with Irwin Street shown at bottom. Goode Van Slyke Architecture

HDDC bought Henderson Place in 1995 and has been offering rentals to families earning 50 percent AMI or less, or roughly $26,000 per year. It’s named for Valena Henderson, a longtime O4W resident and noted advocate of the civil rights movement.

When Henderson Place was originally announced, project officials said it was scheduled to break ground in October 2021 and fully deliver by June 2023. An Invest Atlanta media rep gathering more information on the project this week did not respond by press time.

MIDTOWN—In other development news, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports an affiliate of Dallas-based Trammel Crow Co. is under contract to buy—wait for it—the 4-acre site on 14th Street in Midtown where the fabled No. 2 Opus Place skyscraper proposal went bust and tumbled into foreclosure proceedings last fall.

An early rendering shows No2 Opus Place when it was designed to be taller—a 730-foot glass statement piece to rival the condo towers of Manhattan and Tokyo. Plans were later scaled back. Perkins+Will/No2 Opus Place

Developers aren’t commenting on what potential redevelopment of the centrally located, blighted site might entail, but sources tell the ABC residential is in the works for a parcel large enough to fit 1,800 units at max density across several towers. Local investment firm Peachtree Group successfully bid $40 million and took the site back during a foreclosure auction in November.

It's been six and ½ years since the property’s former owner, Olympia Heights Management affiliate OHM Atlanta, staged a dynamite-packed “groundbreaking” at the Midtown site, across the street from the Four Seasons Atlanta Hotel, where 53-story Opus’ craggy gravesite remains.

Soil testing activity at the 14th Street site in February 2022. Submitted


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