South of downtown, the trend of swapping vacant or industrial sites with multifamily housing is showing few signs of slowing down.

Mill Creek Residential, a national developer that’s erected upscale intown apartments from Decatur to Buckhead recently, is barreling ahead with a 402-unit Peoplestown project that aims to capitalize on proximity to an unbuilt section of the Atlanta BeltLine and other attractions.

Thus the project’s official name: “Modera Southside Trail.”

Overview of the 402-unit project's layout off University Avenue. Courtesy of Mill Creek Residential; designs, Studio Architects

Vacant buildings on the 11.4-acre site at 99 University Avenue, located just east of the downtown Connector, had previously been used for truck repair and a fueling station. Demolition began in recent weeks.

The property also borders the site where 27-year-old Rashard Brooks was fatally shot during an altercation with Atlanta police in June 2020. The drive-through restaurant was set ablaze by protestors and demolished the following month. The site remains fenced-off, barricaded, and dotted with graffiti tributes to Brooks.

The 11.4-acre property in question, with the BeltLine corridor at bottom right, the Connector at left, and the former Wendy's location next door (starred). Fulton County Board of Assessors

Phil Carson, Mill Creek’s vice president of development, says construction on Modera Southside Trail’s 402 apartments will begin in earnest in March. The first units are scheduled to open for tenants in the fourth quarter of 2024.

Carson says 15 percent of Modera Southside Trail apartments—or 61 homes—will be reserved as affordable housing at 80 percent of the area’s median income.

Previous working titles for the project were “Modera Beltline” and “Modera SoDo.”

The apartment community's University Avenue facade, just east of Interstates 75 and 85. Courtesy of Mill Creek Residential; designs, Studio Architects

The Peoplestown site's proximity to downtown and three interstate highways. Google Maps

Just east of Mill Creek’s site, more than 1,100 rental townhomes and apartments have recently delivered, or are under construction now, on formerly vacant or underused land with BeltLine walkability. Those projects include the massive Maverick complex and the Skyline Apartments mid-rise.

Also in the immediate area, plans for an adaptive-reuse food hall and office project in Peoplestown came to light in November.

The BeltLine section in question—the Southside Trail’s Segments 2 and 3—is tied to federal funding and the federal-level construction process. According to BeltLine leadership, it’s not expected to be bid for construction until September, which means it likely won’t open as a finished pathway for several more years, though it remains a popular recreation option in its interim state. 


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• Pics: Housing mushrooms at BeltLine intersection, years before trail exists (Urbanize Atlanta)