A dilapidated hotel property on Atlanta’s Westside has been reshaped into an affordable housing hub designed to springboard military veterans, young men, and former inmates to more promising futures.
Philanthropic organization City of Refuge cut the ribbon Friday on an affordable housing initiative called The 345 off Joseph E. Boone Boulevard, the group’s second Westside housing initiative. Construction had begun early last year.
The 345 Chappell Road building was built in 1959 and formerly operated as the Danzig Motel—one of Atlanta’s only Black-owned motels—but had been abandoned for more than 21 years, according to City of Refuge officials.
The goal was to retain existing architecture and provide “an industrial, yet warm, environment for future residents,” per the nonprofit organization.
The three-story structure has been renovated into a 31-unit affordable housing community for Black men from the 30314 zip code, which encompasses a wide swath of Westside neighborhoods from downtown to near Interstate 285. Those residents will include military veterans, people from the area returning to society from incarceration, and other men ages 18 to 24, officials have said.
The 345 will specifically focus on Westside residents defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development as low-income, with preference given to those from the Bankhead and Westlake areas.
The project arrives amid housing-shortage concerns as Westside home prices have shot up in recent years, before more recently trending down. According to Realtor.com, the median list price for a Bankhead home stood at $410,000 in February—and that’s a drop of 9 percent year-over-year.
Just down the street from The 345 site, the upper tier of new townhomes in Bankhead has seen prices rise close to $800,000, and remodeled homes in nearby English Avenue and Hunter Hills have listed around a half-million dollars or more.
Residents at The 345 will receive housing and access—for up to three years—to City of Refuge’s wraparound services that include healthcare, childcare, addiction recovering, counseling, budgeting, and employment, among other programs. All three floors of the building will be overseen by supervisors who act as advisors to residents.
The first floor will be reserved for people returning to society from incarceration, the second for military veterans, and the third for young men, ages 18 to 24, who are “committed to furthering their education, working full-time, or enrolled in one of City of Refuge’s vocational training programs taught in the onsite Workforce Innovation Hub,” per the organization.
We’ve asked for information on rent prices, if applicable, and will update this story with any further details that come.
City of Refuge purchased The Danzig Motel in 2017 and previously completed pre-development work to prep it for construction. Additional partners included Third-Lens Ministries (project manager) and Pencor Construction (general contractor), alongside The Home Depot Foundation, Georgia Power, and philanthropists, other corporations, and churches that made donations. The renovation cost roughly $2 million, officials have said.
“From where we stand as an organization, Atlanta’s Westside is filled with hidden potential,” Bruce Deel, City of Refuge founder and CEO, said in a statement today. “The 345 is just one example of how we're working to uncover and restore critical pillars of this community by tackling one of its most pervasive issues: lack of affordable housing.”
In summer 2020, City of Refuge also opened a 47-unit affordable housing community on Joseph E. Boone Boulevard called The 1300, located across the street from the organization’s campus. As of last year, the agency said that building was 100 percent occupied.
Headquartered on Atlanta’s Westside, with satellite campuses around the country, the organization was founded in 1997 with a goal to help community members become more self-sufficient. City of Refuge aims to end generational cycles of poverty by introducing affordable rentals and support services—including vocational training, youth services, and health and wellness programs—into specific neighborhoods. The organization says it’s helped more than 35,000 people since it began.
Find a closer look at The 345 project in the gallery above.
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