An Atlanta milestone!
For the first time in its history, there are more multifamily housing units in the City of Atlanta than single-family homes! We might become a real city yet!
Condos, apartments outstrip single-family houses in Atlanta
By DAVID PENDERED
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Linda Bodnar has followed a well-worn path in choosing where to reside in Atlanta, and now she's among the trailblazers moving from the suburbs to the heart of the city.
When Atlanta's lights drew her from Orlando to Atlanta, Bodnar shared an apartment near Perimeter Mall with a Phi Mu sorority sister. When she married, she and her husband bought a starter home in Alpharetta before hitting it big with a custom-built house in the Polo Fields in Cumming.
The Bodnars gave up the suburban lifestyle at Thanksgiving, when they moved into a new condo near Midtown. The couple is riding a tide that is fueling a historic rise in the number of city residents.
The Atlanta Regional Commission released last week its latest report on population and housing. It shows some surprising details about where people are choosing to live. The study, covering a period from 2000 to 2003, is more fodder for talks about managing growth.
Highlights of the estimates include:
* Atlanta now has more condos and apartments than single-family detached houses.
* Five multifamily residences were built in Atlanta during the study period for each single-family detached house built.
* Northeast Atlanta attracted the most new residents, followed closely by Buckhead.
* Atlanta's recent influx of residents is not altering the black-white ratio of the city's population.
The ARC released county-by-county estimates from this study in August. They showed that not even the sluggish national economy had halted the region's growth. The growth rate is the lowest since the early 1990s, but the region has added about 240,000 residents since 2000.
"It's not a cooling-off, just the opposite," said Bart Lewis, the ARC's chief researcher.
What's new from the ARC is the slicing and dicing of information to the level of census tracts, which are roughly the size of neighborhoods. Some quirky sides of life emerge from the number-filled sheets.
Take mobile homes, for instance. They are a dying breed in the region as trailer park owners sell valuable land for development of apartments or condos. Nonetheless, the city added 12 mobile homes during the study period.
The region has lost an estimated 371 mobile homes in the past three years. The city of Hampton gave up 58 trailers, the greatest loss reported among metro Atlanta's 63 cities. Atlanta still has the most mobile homes of any city in the region, with 942, including the 12 new ones. Kennesaw came in second, with 749.
But Atlanta's trailer scene changed just last week.
The last vestiges of the old Atlanta Trailer Park, south of Turner Field, were knocked down. In its place will be 200 apartments in Brookside Park, a mixed-income community.
Brookside Park was financed in part with low-interest funding provided by Atlanta's Urban Residential Finance Authority, the city's development arm.
About 75 percent of the units will be reserved for low-income households. Advocates of the project hope the development, on what has been a blighted 14-acre tract of land, will spark other projects in the area.
"I believe Brookside Park is one of the most significant projects in the city of Atlanta and will energize both residents and new businesses in this community," said Atlanta City Councilman Derrick Boazman, who represents the area.
The value of having new residences in the city cannot be overvalued in terms of attracting new residents. The Bodnars, for example, were adamant that they wanted a newly built home to avoid the headache of renovation.
Their segment of the market is driving up construction of condos and apartments, which in turn is fueling population increases in Midtown and Buckhead. Atlanta added nearly 9,500 multifamily units, compared with about 1,800 new houses.
"We knew we wanted a condo because we didn't want any yard maintenance or any of that," Bodnar said. "And we didn't want a fixer-upper. We wanted a lot of space, and a nice, new kitchen was important to me."
The Bodnars shopped four months before choosing a new condo on Ponce de Leon Avenue near its intersection with an arm of Freedom Parkway. This section of Ponce has taken off recently, with condos opening and plans by the city for a private developer to renovate City Hall East into a mix of residences, shops and perhaps offices.
"We can walk everywhere from here," Bodnar said. "It's a 10-minute walk to North Highland. We can walk to the Home Depot and Whole Foods. We like the feel of Ponce."
How about this for the city's slogan:
"Atlanta - it's getting there."
Last edited by Terminus; Jan 22, 2004 at 2:26 PM.