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BeltLine, AHA Partnering To Push For More Housing Affordability

Sculptures along the Atlanta BeltLine trail

The Atlanta BeltLine Inc. is pushing for 5,600 affordable housing units along its 22-mile path.

The agency announced a memorandum of understanding with the Atlanta Housing Authority to leverage resources in both agencies to boost affordable housing in various housing projects along the BeltLine trails. The partnership creates a land acquisition partnership and a vehicle to finance the development of affordable housing, officials said.

The Atlanta BeltLine sets aside 15% of its net bond proceeds for affordable housing creation and preservation through the BeltLine Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Atlanta BeltLine spokesperson Jenny Odom said. In 2016, the Atlanta BeltLine committed $15M more from its tax allocation district for affordable housing over the next three years.

At the end of 2016, the Atlanta BeltLine issued $145M in bonds, with more than $50M going toward new capital projects, affordable housing, economic development and the rest to servicing debt. Of that, some $11.6M was earmarked for affordable housing units.

For its part, the AHA plans to commit $30M for affordable housing projects along the BeltLine.

Former Atlanta Mayor, and current mayoral candidate, Kasim Reed speaking at a Bisnow event

The move comes at a time when Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has called on developers to push for more affordable housing in the city.

“That's the one thing we have to get right,” Reed said during his keynote at a recent Bisnow event at The Ritz-Carlton Downtown Atlanta.

Atlanta BeltLine has faced some criticism for failing to push for more affordability as well along it's path. Earlier this week, Reed even hinted during a talk at the Atlanta Commerce Club that Atlanta BeltLine CEO Paul Morris' days as leader of the city agency could be numbered, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

“You've got to have a leader of the BeltLine that is committed to affordability as a first thought and not an afterthought,” Reed said.