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The Atlanta BeltLine Design Review Committee on Wednesday will review a proposed 18-unit mixed-use development that would employ a community equity model in the Capitol View neighborhood.
Slated for 918 Dill Ave. SW, the project would be co-developed by socially minded Atlanta-based real estate companies The Guild and Urban Oasis Development, with the eventual goal being to offer to community stakeholders equity in the project upon its completion.
The intent behind the proposed development is in line with the mission of The Guild, which was founded in 2015 to address the racial wealth by creating opportunities for community ownership, according to The Guild Director of Community Development and Design Antariksh Tandon.
“Here, we’re really trying to center black and brown households who traditionally have not had the opportunity to build wealth in the same way that real estate investment has historically allowed in the country,” Tandon said.
After the estimated $6 million project has been financed and completed, it would enter a community stewardship trust, allowing community investors to buy shares of that trust for what Tandon and his colleagues anticipate starting at around $10 per share.
The model has few direct precedents, especially in Atlanta and for for-rent multifamily housing, according to Urban Oasis Development co-principal Joel Dixon. Urban Oasis has worked on for-sale, owner-occupied projects around the city with the Atlanta Land Trust, but this will be its first community-owned for-rent project. Similarly, while the plan for 918 Dill is inspired by the East Portland Community Investment Trust in Oregon, that project was for retail real estate rather than residential.
“This is definitely going to be the first of its kind for [Atlanta],” Dixon said.
“I’ve been trying to figure out how we can get embedded those who are renters and still help them remain connected and benefit from appreciation,” he said. “It really unlocks a powerful resource for community determination.”
Even if less novel, the project’s affordability components are also of primary importance, both Tandon and Dixon said.
Plans call for adding two additional stories with nine units each to an existing, 90-year-old commercial building at the intersection of Dill and Sylvan Avenues. A mix of one-bedroom and two-bedroom units would be reserved for households at incomes of 60 percent to 80 percent of area median income, with the goal being to serve residents closer to the lower figure, Tandon said.
Units would range from about 525 square feet to 745 square feet and each have a private balcony.
Having purchased the project property with a grant from The Kendeda Fund last year, The Guild is currently seeking approval for a minor height variance at the site from the Capitol View Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU-X). The team made an introductory presentation earlier this month and will follow up with a request for a vote.
Tandon said The Guild must also still determine who exactly will be involved in purchases of the community stewardship trust, whether it is those in the 30310 zip code, in the NPU-X set of neighborhoods, in certain income distributions, or those qualifying via other criteria.
Based on community feedback from groups like NPU-X and the Capitol View Neighborhood Association, the project’s renovated, ground-floor commercial component would likely be highlighted by corner grocery store, Tandon said. Plans also call for about 1,000 square feet of co-working space and other office space, some of which would be occupied by The Guild itself.
Because of a neighborhood need for both grocery services and overall commercial revitalization, the project’s ground-floor renovation should not be overlooked, Dixon said.
“Everybody will focus on the residential, but the commercial piece is just as impactful,” he said.
“This hopefully will be a domino for some additional commercial benefits to the neighborhood as well.”