In a neighborhood that has undergone significant changes over the last few years, one of the few affordable housing options in Midtown Atlanta has now reopened, following a number renovations that shuttered its doors in January 2017 and forced its residents to be temporarily relocated.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, with executives from the Atlanta Housing Authority, Wells Fargo Bank, and Columbia Residential, celebrated the grand re-opening of the Juniper and 10th Street apartment community. The building provides housing for low-income seniors and those with disabilities.
In addition to remarks from Bottoms, the ceremony featured a ribbon cutting as well as guided tours of the renovated common areas. Funded via a partnership of Wells Fargo, Sugar Creek Capital, and the AHA, the renovation plans also included a new workout facility, business center, upgraded laundry options, an exam room, living room, recycling center, covered terrace, and an outdoor patio.
Almost 40 percent of residents who had to move out when construction kicked off is returning to the building. That’s “nearly three times the national average” of people who get to come back after being displaced by similar construction, according to a press release distributed by the developer. Of the 149 units in the apartment building, 39 are currently occupied by original residents of the building.
Betty Turner moved into the 10th and Juniper building shortly before the renovations were set to begin. At 62 years old, Turner lost all three jobs she was working at the time but was referred to 10th and Juniper by an old friend.
“I love it!” she said. “I couldn’t afford to live in this area otherwise. We’re in walking distance of the High Museum [of Art], the Botanical Gardens, Piedmont Park, Margaret Mitchell House, [and] the Federal Building, where I love to go and just look at the money.”
The housing of senior citizens and their inclusion in the rapidly redeveloping Midtown neighborhood is integral to Mayor Bottoms’ vision of the city.
“I want to make sure that Atlanta is one Atlanta, and that the prosperity that we are seeing, especially in Midtown, is felt throughout all of our communities,” Bottoms said in her remarks.
Eric Bradford lives in the building with his partner Ruben Brown. Like Betty Turner, the couple is excited about the new development. Bradford said the building “looks like it belongs in Midtown.”
According to Brandon Riddick-Seals, president and CEO of the Atlanta Housing Authority, the organization serves over 22,000 people, making it one of the nation’s largest public housing authorities.
“Seniors make up approximately 25 percent of the residents that we serve,” he said. “Because they are rapidly becoming one of the largest demographics in our city, it’s going to be very important that they have safe communities to live in, [and] that they have connectivity to the great areas of this town.”
Said Joseph Evans III, Columbia Residential’s project manager for real estate development, about Columbia Residential’s future plans, “We’re looking at (developing) another Avondale MARTA Station in Decatur. We have another (project) in Quest Commons, and other (projects) that we’re putting into the cycle.”