An English Avenue mixed-use development that aims to replace a vacant lot with attainable housing and commercial activity is officially underway west of downtown.

Nonprofit organization Westside Future Fund joined city officials for a formal groundbreaking last week at 839 Joseph E. Boone Boulevard, a site located immediately east of Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park.

Vine City’s impressive new Rodney Cook Sr. Park is about five blocks to the east, with the Georgia World Congress Center a few blocks beyond that.

WFF’s plans call for 33 apartments alongside a corner component with 1,200 square feet of space for new retail, which much of the east-west corridor is lacking. As designed by Kronberg Urbanists + Architects, the project would help accomplish WFF’s goal of building on land near greenspaces such as Kathryn Johnston Park, which the agency partnered with community leaders to create and open four years ago.

The mixed-use project's location in English Avenue, just west of downtown Atlanta. Google Maps

Funding for the project came from a Robert W. Woodruff Foundation grant, with additional capital provided by Invest Atlanta and WFF’s Impact Fund. A recent groundbreaking announcement didn’t specific how affordable rents for the 33 apartments will be.

WFF’s goal with housing development is to help retail permanent affordability and legacy residents in Westside neighborhoods as the city and nation grapple with limited housing inventory. In a prepared statement, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens called the English Avenue project “a significant contribution to one of our city’s priority neighborhoods.”

Kronberg Urbanists + Architects

The 839 Joseph E. Boone site in question, at center, with the entrance to Kathryn Johnston Park shown at left. Google Maps

A larger apartment building that would also include affordable housing has been proposed for a former church property across the street.

WFF’s venture isn’t the only recent development news in English Avenue.

After a two-year search, racial justice agency the Southern Poverty Law Center announced plans earlier this month to build its Atlanta headquarters on 2.5 acres it recently purchased alongside the Westside BeltLine Connector trail, roughly midway between Georgia Tech and Westside Park.

In other housing news this week, the developer behind Peoplestown’s Terminal South food hall and office project has revealed plans to add between 350 and 425 mid-rise residential units on a property next door.

Stafford Properties executive director Melissa Ahrendt told the Atlanta Business Chronicle the residential component would see one and two-bedroom units with at least 10 percent of them reserved for households earning less than 80 percent of the area median income.

Rezoning is pending for the estimated $100 million project, which Ahrendt hopes to deliver in about three years.


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• English Avenue news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)