February 17, 2023 – HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo joined President and CEO Eugene Jones Jr. and Atlanta Housing leadership, Columbia Residential, and other key stakeholders for a roundtable at AH headquarters followed by a tour of James Allen Jr. Place, formerly known as Hightower Manor. At the site, the group viewed progress on the building renovation, which will preserve 129 units for elderly residents and the young disabled.
Renamed to honor the late James Allen Jr, a former AH Board Commissioner and longtime AH employee, James Allen Jr. Place is a former AH-owned community that was converted to a Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) property in 2022. Through HUD’s RAD program, AH partners with private developers in long-term agreements to rehabilitate and convert aging public housing units while guaranteeing they remain fully affordable to low-income residents. Columbia Residential, through a competitive procurement process, was awarded the right from Atlanta Housing to recapitalize and redevelop the building.
With the conversion conversion, the property is undergoing a major renovation to all 129 preserved units with new building amenities include an arts and crafts room, a package room, movie theatre, and improvements to the fitness room, community room, laundry room and computer room. Additionally, a healthcare clinic with a primary care doctor offered exclusively to residents will be onsite through Matter Health. The remodel is within walking distance to H.E. Holmes Marta Transit Station, several bus stations, restaurants, and Peyton Park.
The renovation scope addresses repair and replacement needs of nearly 40-year-old systems, including now obsolete and problematic plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems. Sustainable building practices of will provide a substantial improvement in energy efficiency and utility cost through savings on electric and water use. As such, the project is seeking a green building certification through the EarthCraft Multifamily. The project faced strain from inflated costs of construction, reaching as high as 40 percent on some materials, yet redevelopment has progressed since March 2022 and is anticipated to finish in September 2023.
Financing has been made possible through critical components like four percent low-income housing tax credits and tax-exempt bonds from Invest Atlanta, Georgia Department of Community Affairs tax credit allocations, 2 million in GAP financing from Atlanta Housing along with housing-based vouchers, and conventional debt. The development costs total approximately $36 million.
President of Columbia Residential Carmen Chubb highlighted the company’s relationship with AH as both entities work to preserve affordability in Atlanta. “This is one of four high-rise redevelopments that we’ve done with Atlanta Housing and one of 16 RAD conversions. We have a monthly call with the team. They are very collaborative in helping us work through .”
As Atlanta faces a critical shortage in affordable housing, this renovation in Southwest Atlanta and similar projects in AH’s robust development pipeline are more important than ever. “RAD conversions like James Allen Jr. Place are a result of successful public and private partnerships,” said Eugene E. Jones, Jr., president and CEO of Atlanta Housing. “This effort supports our mission and one of our goals of preserving quality affordable housing for those in need. Most importantly, it will greatly benefit the residents of James Allen Jr. Place, who will have a new, healthier, more beautiful place to call home.”
Click HERE for more pictures from the roundtable and James Allen Jr. Place visit.