The Villages of East Lake reopen after renovationsAtlanta Mayor Andre Dickens (center) celebrated the grand reopening of The Villages of East Lake with representatives from the East Lake Foundation, Atlanta Housing, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Truist Bank, and Columbia Residential. Photo courtesy of Columbia Residential.
Atlanta, GA — The East Lake Foundation, along with Atlanta Housing, Invest Atlanta and Columbia Residential celebrated the grand reopening of the Villages of East Lake on Monday, May 9. The project included the preservation and renovation of the historic mixed-income community.
The event on Monday included a ribbon cutting ceremony with remarks from Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens; Christopher Nunn, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Community Affairs; Eugene Jones, Jr., president & CEO, Atlanta Housing; Josie Braziel, resident of The Villages of East Lake; Jenna Kelly, group regional vice president – Georgia, Truist Bank; Catherine Woodling, deputy executive director, East Lake Foundation; and Shannon Heath-Longino, former resident, community advocate and senior vice president, Truist Community Capital, according to a press release.
This financial transaction and subsequent renovation represents one of the largest preservations of affordable housing in Georgia and is an integral part of East Lake Foundation’s mission and continued holistic revitalization of the East Lake community. This partnership between the city of Atlanta, East Lake Foundation, Atlanta Housing, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Truist Bank, and Columbia Residential has positioned this property for long-term operational and financial sustainability.
“We are grateful to join with our Villages of East Lake residents and partners to celebrate this much-anticipated grand reopening,” Woodling said. “We’re thrilled that this incredible effort, in addition to several new East Lake Foundation housing initiatives, will significantly increase housing availability and diversity in the East Lake neighborhood.”
Braziel has been a resident at The Villages of East Lake for more than 10 years. She is an active participant with the East Lake Foundation’s Resident and Community Support Program that she credits for helping her land her dream job at a local school system. Her daughter, who began attending Drew Charter School in kindergarten, will soon graduate and has plans to start college in the fall.
While the renovations of the Villages have been extensive, Braziel is grateful to all the partners that made this work possible.
“I was blown away when I walked into my apartment home after the renovations. I was so proud to call this our neighborhood,” she said.
The Villages of East Lake was built in the mid-1990s and has 542 units, including town homes, duplexes, garden apartments and various amenities, which have all undergone extensive renovations.
Fifty percent of the units are subsidized by Atlanta Housing to families making 30% of AMI or less and the remaining 50% are provided at market rate.
The upgrades included new exteriors, flooring, cabinets, a fitness center, and landscaping, among others.
“More than 20 years ago, this community became a national model for how to reclaim a neighborhood for the greater good—a reclaimed community, planned intentionally to offer residents tools to help them thrive,” Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said. “Thank you to Atlanta Housing, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Columbia Residential, Truist Bank and the East Lake Foundation for being the model of how public, private partnerships should work.”
Atlanta Housing President and CEO Eugene Jones Jr. added that Atlanta Housing is proud to have played a leading role in the establishment of the Villages at East Lake and is proud to contribute to the renovation.
“The Villages of East Lake remain a shining beacon for affordable housing across America,” Jones said.
Dr. Eloisa Klementich, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta, said the redevelopment exemplifies the power of what an equity-focused, community-led strategy for affordable housing can do.
“Tax-exempt bond financing from Invest Atlanta helped to ensure the residents of this community have access to high-quality affordable housing in close proximity to good schools, a grocery store, green space, and other amenities. Since 2010, Invest Atlanta’s multifamily housing development program has supported the creation of almost 10,000 affordable units throughout the city,” Klementich said.
East Lake is an example of community revitalization, which involves various partners collaborating, said Christopher Nunn, commissioner at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
“DCA is proud to be a long-time partner in the re-capitalization, renovations, and preservations that provide quality affordable housing for our deserving citizens both now and in the future,” Nunn said.
Jim Grauley, CEO of Columbia Residential, added that the firm was proud to be part of the project.
“Columbia Residential is honored to have been asked to lead the preservation and renovation of the Villages of East Lake,” Grauley said. “I especially want to thank our residents for working so closely with us, and our on-site management, resident services and construction teams for their patience, diligence and dedication while working the renovations during the extraordinary times of the pandemic. Our company and team are proud to serve this great Atlanta community.”