Atlanta/ Real Estate & Development
AI Assisted Icon
Published on February 01, 2024
Historic Atlanta Church Embarks on $125M Housing Project to Address City's Affordable Living NeedsSource: Google Street View

Atlanta's historic First United Methodist Church is putting faith into action with a new development plan designed to tackle the city's affordable housing crisis. As Atlanta News First reported, the church has submitted permits to create a 170-unit affordable housing tower right behind its downtown sanctuary. The endeavor will cost around $125 million, with the City investing approximately $25 million through Invest Atlanta and Atlanta Housing.

The project, according to Urbanize Atlanta, includes not only the residential units but also two schools, retail space and a parking deck. The affordable housing component will encompass 85 percent of the apartments, catering to different income levels at 30, 60, and 80 percent of area median income (AMI), with the remaining units set at market rates to help finance the complex.

"We asked the big question, what is so big that without God it’s bound to fail. And the congregation said we’ve got to figure out how to house people," Rev. Jasmine Rose Smothers told Atlanta News First. The lead pastor at Atlanta First UMC emphasized that housing the homeless aligns with the church's mission to proactively transform communities.

Set to commence this summer, the construction aims to welcome residents by the end of 2025. "The church exists to transform communities for the better. And that’s what we do here. And if we don’t, there’s no reason for us to be here at all," Rev. Smothers, seeing individuals experiencing homelessness outside the church doors, reinforced the urgency of the new housing initiative in a statement obtained by Atlanta News First.

The collaborative effort between the church and the City of Atlanta is part of a larger movement where about fifteen faith institutions are currently developing housing projects. Mayor Andre Dickens' Faith-Based Development Initiative, launched in February 2022, offers up to $25,000 in seed money to assist religious organizations in leveraging their land for housing development.

With an envisioned 20-story edifice at 360 Peachtree Street, the construction will certainly reshape the Atlanta skyline. Permits indicate that the structure will feature a modern, curved façade along Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard. The project also promises to deliver two educational institutions encompassing over 64,700 square feet, and retail space exceeding 2,200 square feet, as well as a parking deck sized for 72 vehicles.

Atlanta-Real Estate & Development