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Mayor Reed: Affordability Big Issue For Atlanta Going Forward

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

With more than $5B of development and redevelopment projects underway in Atlanta, Mayor Kasim Reed called for developers to focus on providing more affordable housing options going forward.

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

He highlighted housing affordability and mobility as two key issues facing the city in the coming decade, and cited other major cities like New York, Los Angeles and London as cities that he said are “gone” in terms of affordability.

“You are ready to have an amazing run," he said to the hundreds from the development community in attendance. "Let's just take some folks along with us.”

Reed, who is finishing up his final term as Atlanta's mayor this year, offered no policy solutions that would tackle affordable housing within the city during his speech. He did cite projects that are incorporating a mix of affordable units, including MAA's Post Centennial and Banyan Street Capital's planned 14-story apartment tower at 161 Peachtree St., of which 20% of the units will be affordable, thanks in part to a recent Invest Atlanta grant. Greystar is a joint venture partner in that project.

Atlantic Realty Partners CEO Richard Aaronson

The topic of affordability did get touched upon during panel discussions at the event following Reed's comments. And Invest Atlanta has a goal to create 10,000 affordable units in the city by 2020, Invest Atlanta CEO Eloisa Klementich said.

Atlantic Realty Partners CEO Richard Aaronson said adding new supply “is indirectly going to create more affordable housing” in Atlanta. Aaronson called for any affordability requirement in the city to have incentives in place for developers.

“If we're going to codify it in a more meaningful way, there has to be some kind of trade-off,” he said.