BeltLine planners to start public input on redevelopment of Buckhead site pegged for affordable housing

Atlanta BeltLine Inc. (ABI) is preparing to seek a developer for a 3-acre Buckhead site it bought for affordable housing and will start public input with an Oct. 24 virtual meeting.

ABI, the organization building the Atlanta BeltLine trail and transit loop around the city, in late 2020 purchased the two parcels at 579 Garson Drive in the Lindbergh/Morosgo neighborhood, just west of the Piedmont Road intersection and along the proposed route of the BeltLine’s Northeast Trail. The site is just east of Passion City Church on Garson and to the north of the Rollins/Orkin building on Piedmont.

The two properties at 579 Garson Drive as seen in Fulton County online property records, with their irregular boundary highlighted in red. Credit: Fulton County/Buckhead.com

A former ATM location and wooded lot, the parcels were sold by Wells Fargo & Company for what ABI said at the time was a below-market price of $900,000 intended as a partial donation toward affordability. Part of ABI’s mission in building the BeltLine is preserving and creating affordable housing to mitigate gentrification. In the same year ABI bought the Garson site, it bought a 9-acre property on Avon Avenue in Southwest Atlanta for the same reason.

“The purchase of the Garson property is a huge step for the Atlanta BeltLine project in diversifying land acquisitions to bring greater affordability to neighborhoods all around the BeltLine, including Buckhead,” said ABI President and CEO Clyde Higgs in a January 2021 press release announcing the deal. 

“This purchase is a direct reflection of the importance that ABI has placed on land acquisition as a strategy to create long-term affordability in Atlanta BeltLine neighborhoods,” the press release said. “By owning the land, ABI will have a greater say in selecting developers to construct job creation centers, affordable housing, and transit-oriented development along the corridor. The intersection of these goals is one of the key tools ABI will use to tackle overall affordability.”

A map showing how the Garson site fits into the larger picture of the preliminary route for the Northeast Trail, which involves spur lines. Credit: Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

The Garson site also might be used for a spur of the Northeast Trail, where it would connect to the existing PATH400 multiuse trail and MARTA’s Lindbergh Center Station. The trail remains in a preliminary design phase.

A brief ABI press release issued this week about the upcoming meeting did not mention those reasons for the acquisition. It said the meeting will include “market and land-use findings and recommendations” from a feasibility and market study conducted by Atlanta-based Noell Consulting Group.

“We are seeking community guidance and input to evaluate redevelopment scenarios and to determine the best potential use for the site,” the press release said.

For details about how to attend the meeting, see the ABI website.