On November 30, community residents and leaders gathered in the historic neighborhood of Vine City to break ground for a new housing development coming to the area. The homes will be located directly across from Rodney Cook Sr. Park.
Parkview Park will feature 62 townhomes, 18 of which will be affordable, renovated units. The homes will feature three to four bedrooms and range from 1,582-1725 sq ft.
The development was made possible by The City of Atlanta’s partnership with Invest Atlanta, Growth by NCRC and Riddle Property Group. Mayor Bottoms attended the groundbreaking ceremony and spoke on the rich history of Vine City, the former home of Martin Luther King Jr., including her family’s history in the area as well.
“Just over my shoulder is the church that my mother was baptized in,” Bottoms said. “And many in our family settled throughout this area.. it was a destination place for people who were looking for a better life in the big city known as Atlanta.”
Generations later, Mayor Bottoms believes that “Atlanta is still that place on the hill where people can come and find a better life.” and where “impossible dreams come true.”
President and CEO of Invest Atlanta Eloisa Klementich wants Atlanta to be a city for each of its approximately half of a million residents. In order to do so, one thing she is passionate about is affordable housing.
“Since the beginning of 2018, Invest Atlanta invested over $450 million in multi-family housing, of which 80% of that is affordable housing,” Klementich said. “If you think about it in terms of dollars, for every $10 that Invest Atlanta has invested, over seven of that has gone specifically to support affordable housing in this city.”
Invest Atlanta is the official economic development authority for The City of Atlanta. The agency creates programs and initiatives focused on developing partnerships that accelerate economic growth.
“We know that an individual spends about 70% of their income on housing and transportation,” Klementich said. “So if we could lower their cost of housing and transportation, then you’re making the largest impact on that individual. And for us, it’s about equity.”
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines affordable housing “as housing on which the occupant is paying no more than 30 percent of gross income for housing costs, including utilities”.
Growth by NCRC is an investor-community collaborative available in all fifty states that provides homeownership in low and moderate income communities, with a focus on minority neighborhoods.
Managing Director Ed Gorman described the mission of Growth by NCRC simply as wanting to create wealth. The organization worked with banks that will provide mortgages that don’t include a private mortgage insurance with low or no downpayment to the future homeowners of Parkview Park.
“So there are a lot of factors that go into building a place like this- partnerships, financing, good construction… And all of those things, when it’s done right, as it will be here, will provide the kind of dream for people that we care about [and the] communities that we care about,” Gorman said.
Riddle Property Group, LLC (RPG) is a real estate owner, operator and developer that is headquartered in Atlanta. Jeff Riddle, President and CEO, came to Atlanta at the age of 17 from the southside of Chicago with only $20 to attend Morehouse College.
Dreams came true for him in Atlanta, and he hopes to give the same opportunity to the Vine City community.
“It will take all of us to make Parkview the truly transformative development that this community wants, needs and deserves,” Riddle said. “We’re just getting started today. The hard work goes forward.”
Future and Current Residents
Anita Harris is a former resident of the property that will soon become Parkview Park. As a migrant from Providence, Rhode Island, Harris described Vine City as the first place that felt like home for her.
She has temporarily moved out of Vine City and into Grove Park while construction takes place, but is looking forward to moving back to become a homeowner.
“As we speak about affordable housing and affordable smart development, we often read headlines that say Millennials are not purchasing homes, ” Harris said. “Because nationally, we’re in a crisis where it’s not really an option, or at least we believe it’s not…. And so I’m looking forward to coming back.”
Long-time resident Angela Philpott thinks that more attention and aid should be given to the senior citizens who live in the community. She lost her home and is now living in temporary housing where she pays by the night to stay. Despite her health issues, Philpott has had to come out of retirement to work to make ends meet. All she wants is to have a place where she and her service dog can live permanently.
She discussed the abandoned homes in the area that aren’t being sold or rented to low income residents because of rising income requirements.
“We’re the ones who have been over here all of our lives and put money into this neighborhood,” Philpott said. “Just give us a chance. Give us a chance. We’ll make it even better.”
Construction for Parkview Park is set to commence through Spring 2022 with a goal of summer occupancy.