Reinvestment Fund financing is supporting a mixed-use development in Atlanta’s historic Sweet Auburn corridor (birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr.) called the Front Porch.
The Historic District Development Corporation (HDDC), a Black led and community development organization founded by the renowned civil rights leader Coretta Scott King in 1980 to rehabilitate and revitalize communities, is leading this effort to transform the once historic center of Black economic, civic, and social life.
The new 101,135 sf mixed-use development will address non-displacement and equitable access to housing, enterprise, and community programming. The project will include 13 retail spaces, 54 residential units, and local and broader community benefits. Key features of the project include:
- Affordable rental units: The project will address the demand for affordable housing, offering 25 co-living, “dormitory-style” residential units (57 beds) to renters earning 60% AMI, as well as 15 1-bedroom units for renters earning 60% AMI or 80% AMI.
- Home ownership: To ensure legacy residents and/or minority homebuyers have access to the improved neighborhood amenities, the project will feature 14 for-sale condo units, including 6-1BR units, 4 2-BR units, and 4 3-BR units, for community members with an income level between 80-120% AMI.
- Affordable retail space: Minority-owned businesses are expected to represent 80% of the retail tenants to support the retention and creation of Black-owned businesses. Pop-up spaces will be available to entrepreneurs who cannot afford a brick-and-mortar location but could benefit from customer interactions to drive traffic to their online platforms.
The project also features the renovation of a historic funeral home into community space featuring artist and beauty studios, event space, and a basement speakeasy.
- Healthy food access: A rooftop garden will provide fresh produce and educational opportunities to tenants and the surrounding community, providing increased access to affordable healthy foods. HDDC will work with HABESHA, Inc., a Black-led nonprofit that uses urban agriculture to promote community job creation and African culture.
- Sustainable community plan: Projects includes the creation of Sweet Auburn Green & Equitable (SAGE) to attract sustainable investment and minimize gentrification. Guided by old and new community stakeholders, the key SAGE components are: community engagement, community wealth building, affordable housing, green economy, urban agriculture, and energy efficiency.
Between 1990-2015, HDDC restored and developed over 120 single family homes, constructed nearly 500 units of multifamily housing, and added over 40,000 square feet of commercial space—influencing the resurgence of Old Fourth Ward and Sweet Auburn. The Front Porch builds upon HDDC’s expansion and growth.
For over two years, Reinvestment Fund supported the creation of the project through early-stage capital deployment to support the assemblage, introductions to key stakeholders, and project technical assistance.
See more of our work in the Southeast here.