Sweet Auburn parking lot to become student and multi-family housing



At the heart of the city and with a pulsating expansion rate, Georgia State is looking for more buildings to house its students.


Earlier this month, the Integral Group LLC announced the potential development of the Sweet Auburn parking lot soon becoming a premier location for on-campus housing. As reported by BisNow, the Integral Group has filed permits to develop a multi-family student housing complex provided with street level retail, 149 Auburn Ave, which currently is home to a deserted parking lot.


The project was recently re-filed following an unsuccessful first proposal more than two years ago. According to curbedatlanta’s Michael Kahn, the original design consisted of 94 student housing units along with 4,000 square feet that is estimated to cost approximately $9 million. Kahn said that if the project gains momentum, it would join the increasing number of investments to the eastern perimeter of downtown, alongside both Georgia State and the streetcar line.


Integral Group partner Valerie Edwards said that the company’s goal was to provide a more collegial atmosphere for the student body at Georgia State. Edwards described the site as a prime location, subsequent to it being positioned adjacent to Piedmont Avenue. Edwards believes that the project will have a positive impact for everyone on campus, accredited to it including housing for both Georgia State students and non-students who are willing to live in Sweet Auburn.


However, since the group’s filing, there’s been backlash from those who believe the Sweet Auburn Housing development will add to one of Atlanta’s most challenging dilemmas.


Tim Franzen, Housing Justice League President, said that the cost of living has become a major issue on campus, and ultimately throughout the city of Atlanta. Franzen said that since 2010, for every unit available there’s been more units lost.


“Either the city is too busy to hate or too greedy to care,” he said.


Franzen said that he is worried that if the pricing of the project will be affordable for both the Georgia State student body and also non-students.


He said that if the cost of living at Sweet Auburn is too expensive for the average student, then “we just have another luxury apartment going up, which creates more inequity”.


Following recent protests concerning the Turner Field development, Franzen said he fears that the Sweet Auburn Housing Project could possibly be a recurring form of gentrification.


“There’s a huge need for affordable housing units in the area, if they’re building affordable housing units, that’s a good thing,” he said.


He believes that Georgia State’s consolidations has begun to relieve surrounding areas as it continues to grow. As a result, there’s a decrease in the number of rooms available on campus. Thus, students begin to find housing in surrounding communities such as Peoplestown.


“Folks who have lived in the community for years have a hard time finding somewhere to live..something that’s at the 2,000 and above level is marketed towards the higher-end students…long term residents are put at risk due to projects such as this creating housing scarcity throughout the community,” he said. “The Sweet Auburn project could be a form of gentrification, but it remains to be seen.”

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