As construction progresses on a Sweet Auburn development called Atlanta’s “premiere equity project,” designers have shared renderings that lend fresh perspectives on what it's expected to bring, inside and out.

Front Porch at Sweet Auburn broke ground in July in the 300 block of Auburn Avenue. The objective is to build a mix of housing and commercial space that leaders hope will catalyze positive change, injecting vibrancy and job opportunities into a historic district that’s struggled with disinvestment and blight.

The Front Porch project is being led by the Historic District Development Corporation, which was cofounded four decades ago by Coretta Scott King with a goal of revitalizing and rehabbing Sweet Auburn and its historic neighbor, Old Fourth Ward. It’s been about three years in the making.

Architect Garfield L. Peart, Syntony Design Collaborative president, supplied Urbanize Atlanta with fresh renderings for the 100,000-square-foot project he notes was designed (alongside Cole Hil architects) by “all-minority architects and a diverse team of all-local consultants.”

Sub-grade infrastructure work at the Front Porch project continues at this point, Peart said.

A music performance depicted in the Front Porch courtyard. Courtesy of Syntony Design Collaborative; Historic District Development Corporation

Frontage along Old Wheat Street, at left. Courtesy of Syntony Design Collaborative; Historic District Development Corporation

Peart said designers and developers worked with Invest Atlanta and Central Atlanta Progress with a common goal of reinvesting in local minority businesses to revitalize Sweet Auburn. Front Porch be the first project of its kind in Sweet Auburn in years (if not ever), in that it will “be a true mixed-use development [with] new commercial space, a mix of co-living and affordable housing options, and rooftop gardens that will host urban agriculture programs for the community,” Peart noted in a recent email.

The corridor between downtown and the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail is due for a boost. It includes The King Center complex but hasn’t seen a comparable resurgence to nearby Edgewood Avenue.  

Much of Front Porch’s footprint is claiming what was previously vacant land or parking lots.

The properties in question in the 300 block of Auburn Avenue in March. Google Maps

Specifically, Front Porch is expected to include 45 rental units and 16 for-sale properties.

Invest Atlanta has indicated the $23-million project will see affordable units capped at 60 percent of the area median income, and the for-sale condos at 120 percent of AMI. That means base rents would range between $900 and $1,640 monthly, and condos from studios to three-bedroom units would sell for an average of $294,000, according to a project fact sheet from last fall.

Front Porch also calls for 25,000 square feet of commercial space described as “community-serving,” with 80 percent of tenants expected to be minority-owned businesses. HDDC officials say it will generate 107 full-time time jobs in Sweet Auburn and include six pop-up slots for local entrepreneurs.

Above much of the development will be 20,000 square feet of rooftop gardens used for growing fresh produce, for both tenants and the community, according to HDDC.

Plans also entail the repurposing of two buildings—Haugabrooks Funeral Home, now Haugabrooks Art Gallery and Event Space, and a one-story retail building—on the street now.

Front Porch is expected to finish construction in March 2024 and be occupied to the point of stability within about six months, according to Invest Atlanta.

In the gallery above, find fresh renderings (and a few visual reminders) that illustrate what’s to come along Auburn Avenue.  

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