As one of the largest and fastest growing metropolitan areas in the Southeast, Atlanta offers tremendous opportunities, attracting investors, corporations and young professionals looking for a place to relocate. While the historic Westside has become a prime location for real estate investment, the price of homes has soared in recent years, leaving many prospective homebuyers and long-term residents of modest economic means without options.
Urban Oasis Development is an Atlanta-based, Black-owned and for-profit housing developer committed to creating inclusive and flourishing neighborhoods, without displacing existing residents. Recognizing the increasing need for affordable housing in Atlanta, Urban Oasis invests in neglected communities by creating affordable single family housing and mixed income neighborhoods. They’ve coined their approach as, “using real estate as a community development tool”.
With Reinvestment Fund’s dual commitment to increasing affordable housing in the Southeast and supporting developers of color, investing in the vision and mission of Urban Oasis made sense. In 2019, Reinvestment Fund offered Urban Oasis a revolving line of credit for home ownership rehab. Through a unique loan package designed to offer flexibility and support for affordable housing projects, Reinvestment Fund provided Urban Oasis with its first moderate-interest construction loan as it expanded to offer mixed-income for-sale housing in the Westside of Atlanta.
“Our development approach is community-centered and focuses on people over sticks and bricks,” said Joel Dixon, Principal at Urban Oasis. “In order to provide a mix of housing across a variety of affordable price points we have benefitted from the funding flexibility and innovative housing solution approach of CDFIs like Reinvestment Fund.”
On the Westside, more than 95% of residents are Black and the median annual household income ($31,356) is less than half the median for the Atlanta region ($66,657). Urban Oasis planned to build five properties using the line of credit from Reinvestment Fund. Two of the five properties developed by Urban Oasis will be income restricted for buyers at or below 80% average median income (AMI), two will be restricted for buyers at or below 120% AMI, and one is unrestricted. The financial backing enabled Urban Oasis to renovate a two-bedroom, two-bathroom house and to construct a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house—both of which sold in 2021.
“This project is good example of how Reinvestment Fund can commit to developers by being flexible and tailoring loans to fit their projects,” said Natasha Dowell, Reinvestment Fund Lending Associate, Southeast. “The Reinvestment Fund line of credit gives Urban Oasis access to capital that is flexible and helps them to control costs, knowing they have financing to keep things moving.”
Developed by Urban Oasis development, this craftsman home overlooks the Atlanta city skyline. Photo from https://urbanoasisdevelopment.com/