METRO AT­LANTA LIV­ING Old Fourth Ward: A ris­ing phoenix

GA Voice - - Metro Atlanta Living -

At­lanta’s Old Fourth Ward (O4W) hasn’t al­ways been known as a trendy, cool place to live. De­spite hav­ing some of At­lanta’s best “cul­tural” in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing the boy­hood home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, the O4W fell into dis­re­pair in the 1960s. It has of­ten been as­so­ci­ated with crime, prostitution, home­less­ness and crum­bling in­fras­truc­ture.

In the last 10 years, how­ever, O4W has not only seen a resur­gence in de­vel­op­ment, but prop­erty val­ues are now at an all-time high. Be­cause of the close prox­im­ity to pricey Mid­town con­dos and At­lanta’s gor­geous Pied­mont Park, there was a shift to start clean­ing up O4W and ren­o­vate ex­ist­ing build­ings to at­tract new busi­nesses and de­vel­op­ment.

One of the star play­ers of the resur­gence of O4W was the de­vel­op­ment of the At­lanta Belt­Line, which be­gan as an idea in a joint master’s the­sis pa­per for Ge­or­gia Tech grad­u­ate stu­dent Ryan Gravel’s Ar­chi­tec­ture and City Plan­ning de­gree. He wrote it in 1999 with the idea to use the aban­doned rail­road cor­ri­dors that sur­rounded the city and trans­form them into a 22-mile tran­sit green­way that will add light-rail tran­sit, parks and multi-use trails through­out 45 his­toric neigh­bor­hoods.

The idea was to gen­er­ate eco­nomic growth, en­cour­age en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­ity and im­prove the qual­ity of life for res­i­dents in th­ese neigh­bor­hoods. The east­ern bor­der of O4W is the Belt­Line’s East­side Trail that one can see as a pedes­trian bridge go­ing over Ponce de Leon Av­enue at the new Ponce City Mar­ket, a mixed use de­vel­op­ment that now oc­cu­pies the old Sears & Roe­buck de­part­ment store build­ing. To­day, it houses re­tail shops, of­fice space, en­ter­tain­ment, res­tau- rants, and a food hall with small ven­dors, bou­tiques and even res­i­den­tial units.

Hous­ing de­vel­op­ment in O4W is steadily grow­ing and sales are brisk. Some devel­op­ers have taken small plots of land and used them to build small town­houses with 4-6 units. One such unit, a 3-bed­room, 3.5 bath town­house at 616 Angier Av­enue, sold last month in two days for $415,000 by my boss Justin Ziegler, pres­i­dent and as­so­ciate bro­ker of Com­mon Ground Real Es­tate.

Low in­ven­tory and high de­mand are bring­ing mul­ti­ple of­fers and bid­ding wars. For the buy­ers, try­ing to get in the neigh­bor­hood can be a dif­fi­cult road.

“I have made an of­fer within two hours of some­thing go­ing on the mar­ket and of­fered 20 per­cent higher than the ask­ing price and still lost,” said buyer Michelle Parker. “I keep los­ing to all cash buy­ers who don’t have con­tin­gen­cies. I feel like the val­ues are ris­ing even as I speak. I’m al­most priced out of it. I’m go­ing to have to start look­ing at other op­tions. It’s a shame be­cause I want to be near all of my fa­vorite gay things.”

By SHAN­NON HAMES, Re­al­tor®

The Square at Glen Iris in Old Fourth Ward. (Cour­tesy photo)

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