In the pipeline for more than four years, and technically under construction since 2021, a unique eastside project with a repurposed Masonic Lodge at its core is gearing up to restart soon after unforeseen delays related to post-pandemic fallout in the construction industry, developers tell Urbanize Atlanta.
Located where Ormewood Park meets the East Atlanta Village, mixed-use venture The Lodge broke ground two years ago at the southwest corner of Glenwood and Moreland avenue’s intersection, combining eight parcels that previously housed individual homes, a parking lot, and ancillary buildings.
Prior to demolition work, the development team held communal design meetings and collected more than 600 surveys from residents to help determine what the community wanted built.
One nonnegotiable component for most survey respondents—affordable housing—is the source of a hang-up that’s left the site idle for more than a year, according to Jesse Clark, a principal with developer Clark Property R+D.
Clark tells Urbanize Atlanta his team is in a closing cue for state affordable housing funding that’s currently clogged with similar projects impacted by drastic cost increases following COVID-19. Spikes related to inflation and supply-chain issues have created such a gap between funding approved by the state in 2020 and current costs that The Lodge project had to be shut down following the completion of site work in 2021, Clark says.
Clark said this week he expects construction to resume sometime this summer, as additional state-level funding has been approved to help see The Lodge and other projects through.
“This is not something we can control or force,” Clark wrote via email, sharing an update he recently posted on a community forum. “This project would have been much simpler, more profitable, and complete by now if we bailed on our original commitment to the neighborhood to build affordable housing. But we are keeping our promise and still moving forward.”
Plans still call for all 42 units at The Lodge to qualify as affordable housing.
For 30 years, rents will be restricted to no more than 30 percent of income for those making between 30 percent and 80 percent of area median income. Across the project, developers are aiming for 60 percent AMI on average for residents to ensure a mix of incomes, Clark says.
The Lodge’s separate residential component, called The Abbington at Ormewood Park, is being developed by affordable housing specialists Rea Ventures. Plans call for a new four-story structure and two smaller buildings, with a mix of studios up to three-bedroom rentals. Those three bedrooms, the development team has previously said, are expected to rent from between $583 and $1,500.
Commercial and office spaces at The Lodge, meanwhile, are being developed by Clark Property R+D and King Properties.
Overall, The Lodge calls for about 15,000 square feet of offices in a new building, plus another 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space in the renovated Masonic Lodge.
The project’s name pays homage to a former Masonic Lodge on Moreland Avenue that’s been vacant and neglected for years but remains structurally sound, developers have said. It was built in 1947 and used as a Masonic Grand Lodge upstairs with a Kroger at street level.
Neighboring the cleared site, the Atlanta Department of Transportation realigned Glenwood Avenue to the south to eliminate a 70-foot offset that required drivers and cyclists to zigzag in the middle of the roadway while crossing between the two neighborhoods. That city-planning goof was odd enough to make one artist’s book chronicling whacky intersections in cities.
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