Veteran Atlanta home renovator James Doyle has owned the shotgun cottage at 112 Vine Street NW for 13 years, but he recently decided to let go.

Painted like a Mardi Gras float, the cutesy 1920s abode is four blocks from Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with three MARTA stations, Walmart, and Atlanta University Center within walking distance. But it’s just 884 square feet with two bedrooms and a single bathroom—practically a tiny home, by Atlanta standards.

Pink flourishes on the porch. Courtesy of James Doyle

No matter. Before Doyle could even list the shotgun, a Realtor friend caught wind it might become available, and along came a client’s offer of $239,000, which Doyle accepted. Should all go well with the inspection, he’ll hand the keys to a homeowner occupant soon.

Doyle had sold or currently owns four properties in a neighborhood scarred by decades of disinvestment, blight, and crime, and he says stories like that of 112 Vine Street aren’t uncommon now. A neighbor on Delbridge Street, for instance, is in negotiations to go under contract before listing a Charleston-style, stacked-porch home in the mid-$300,000s.

Another of Doyle’s listings seeking just shy of $400,000 on Magnolia Street tallied 10 showings in the first 24 hours, he says.

“After 14 years in Vine City, I’m selling all my renovated homes to only homeowner occupants that want to live in the area,” Doyle tells Urbanize Atlanta. “Trying to do my part for karma’s sake. As you know, lots of investors had messed up the area over the years.”

Alongside a white-hot intown market in general, where rising home values and rents have inflamed Westside gentrification and displacement concerns for years, the 16-acre Rodney Cook Sr. Park scheduled to open this spring has become a Vine City magnet—but more for investors than homeowners, as Doyle sees it.  

Vision for the finished park. HDR architecture; Trust for Public Land

“The problem with Vine City is that there aren’t any homes for sale, and the minute that homes are put up for sale, they’re usually under contract,” he says. “A lot of the homes that are for sale unfortunately are not livable, and only a few investors are currently marketing livable renovated homes right now.”

Courtesy of James Doyle

As for Doyle, he’d lived in various Vine City houses between 2006 and 2018, when he opted for a change of pace with another renovation, a condo at Midtown’s Peachtree Walk. Beyond financial gain, his intent has been to boost the Westside neighborhood eventually, he says.

“It was always my mission to create some sort of spark and interest in Vine City, to create more homeowner occupancy, and that’s coming to an end,” he says. “On to new frontiers in Atlanta’s fast-paced, crazy real estate world.”

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