11 Aug 2018

2nd UPDATE: Developer, city of Brookhaven, Ga., part ways over affordable housing definition

A proposal for a mixed-use development off Buford Highway in the City of Brookhaven, Ga., appears to be off the table after a dispute over affordable housing.

In a statement, the city said it was unable to reach an agreement on economic incentives with Ardent Companies, which planned an mixed-use development including apartments and town homes on Bramblewood Drive, off of Buford Highway.

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Map showing the location of The Ardent Companies LLC’s proposed townhome development in Brookhaven.

An executive for The Ardent Companies on Wednesday disputed the city’s account of the affordability terms negotiations for the project, and said the city had asked for a profit share in the development when it sold, which the company declined.

Brookhaven had been negotiating the incentives with Ardent for several months, the city said in the July 31 statement.

Ardent Companies’ submitted multiuse project called for 10 percent, or 30 units, of the housing to be affordable. The developer requested a 30-year tax abatement on all property taxes (schools, county, and city) totaling approximately $30 million, according to the city’s statement.

Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst sent letters to property owners explaining that the sticking point in the redevelopment negotiations was the definition of “affordable” housing.

According to the statement, the letter stated, “We could not come to an agreement as to the area median income (AMI) that would be the threshold for ‘affordable’. Ardent Companies wanted to use an Atlanta region AMI of $68,000 and the City wanted to use the average AMI for the census tracks around Bramblewood Drive at ~$50,000. An AMI of $68,000 would essentially be out of reach for many living on Buford Highway, our City employees, or teachers serving local schools.”

The Ardent Companies Managing Director Neville Allison, in an email to Atlanta Business Chronicle Wednesday, said, "First, Brookhaven did not offer to use $50,000 as the AMI. They wanted to use $35,000, without citing any sort of source. We wanted to use $68,000 which is the published AMI for the Atlanta MSA and what Invest Atlanta, the beltline, and the city of Atlanta uses (I’ve attached the link to their chart here.)

"– The AMI for the city of Brookhaven is actually a little higher than the Atlanta MSA at $71,000. It should be noted that the city of Brookhaven has no published guidelines or standards for affordable housing.

"The real issue with the tax abatement is as follows: Mayor John Ernst told Ardent that he wanted to abate the property taxes (school board gets the majority of property taxes) for every project that came through Brookhaven as retribution for the school board voting to relocate Cross Keys High School outside of the city limits. Further, the city wanted a kickback from Ardent in the form of a profit share in the development when it sold. Essentially they demanded an equity return in our private development in exchange for abating the property taxes which they were not entitled to (county and school board portion of the property taxes). Not only had we never heard of such an arrangement, it did not seem ethical or legal to Ardent to allow the city to receive monetary compensation in exchange for the tax abatement.

"I’ve attached the City’s draft framework requiring $35,000 as the AMI and their request for the kickback/ profit share. To be perfectly clear, we told the city from the very beginning that there was no scenario for which we would allow them profit share in the development in exchange for the tax abatement," Neville Allison’s email concluded.

In an emailed statement to the Chronicle, Brookhaven’s mayor responded that the City Council’s July 24 decision to reject The Ardent Companies’ proposal had nothing to do with the school board. Ernst said in the email:

“One of the frustrating things about talking with Mr. Allison is his propensity to take facts out of context.

"At the time that the DeKalb School Board announced its decision to relocate Brookhaven’s only high school, I was very vocal about my position. It is also a fact that as Mayor, I am not a party to the negotiations on this, or any other development project.

"The City Council rejected Ardent’s best and final offer on July 24 after a presentation and evaluation from City staff. In the end, it had nothing to do with the school board, and everything to do with an unreasonable request for $30 million in tax abatements for a project with no appreciable affordable housing component and the apparent sole intent of using $30 million in taxpayer dollars to finance a private development.

"We do, however, appreciate the effort, and wish Ardent well in their future endeavors.

Mayor John A. Ernst, Jr."

As far as the area media income (AMI) discussions, city spokesman Burke Brennan said in an earlier email "The $35,000 figure was discussed in earlier negotiations, but it was not where the City of Brookhaven ended up in discussions with Ardent. In subsequent communications with Ardent, Brookhaven’s position was $50K, based upon publicly available data as listed below:

HUD defines median income in metro Atlanta as $67,500 regardless of HH (household) size. Below is pulled the HUD 2018 summary of income limits for metro Atlanta Region receipt of federal aid—mainly housing subsidies. This is general guidance, and census block information overrides.Extremely low $20,160Very Low $30,400Low as $48,600

"This would indicate that a $35,000 critical point would assist the very low to extremely low income families in the metro Atlanta area and a $50,000 critical point would assist low income HHs.

Brennan said the census block information, specific to Brookhaven Bramblewood block, says the census block AMI is $45,839, and 38.1 percent of households in the block have income below $35,000. Averaging the AMI of the five census blocks surrounding the development (including the significantly sized one it is in) gets to the $52,604 AMI, Brennan said.

"While including the block immediately to the west would not be an appropriate comparison as it is Lenox/Buckhead and its irregular shape brings it from a low income area to high, it should be noted that over 20% of (households) in that block have an income under $35,000 and would likely qualify for federal subsidies," the city spokesman said.

"This is how we arrived at $50,000, and this was the offer to Mr. Allison by City Manager Christian Sigman and Economic Development Director Shirlynn Brownell on July 11. We stand behind the statements made in our announcement on 7/31," Brennan said in the email.

Brookhaven is working on a zoning rewrite, expected to be available in mid-August, that will include many recommendations by the city’s Affordable Housing Task Force. The recommendations the task force submitted to the City Council in July 2017 included exploring creative innovations and cross-sector solutions to protect existing affordable housing and incorporating affordable housing into the 2017 Brookhaven zoning rewrite.

“While we applaud the developer’s effort to include an affordable housing component, but the corresponding incentive request to abate 100 percent of property taxes for 30 years was not realistic” City Manager Christian Sigman said in the statement. “The Buford Highway corridor is home to many redevelopment opportunities from end to end. This particular plan did not work out, but it was an educational and cathartic exercise for us as a City.”

“We look forward to working with other development partners in Buford Highway corridor,” said Sigman.

“Housing affordability is a complex and context-sensitive regional issue. Therefore, it behooves each city and county to assess what makes the best decision for its community, based upon its economic situation and community goals,” said Doug Hooker, executive director, Atlanta Regional Commission, said in the statement. “It appears that Brookhaven has taken this approach.”

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01 Aug 2018

Trump Endorses Kemp In GA Governor Runoff

ATLANTA, GA — President Donald Trump has endorsed Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp just days ahead of a neck-and-neck runoff election in the Republican primary for governor.

Trump’s endorsement comes two days after Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal endorsed Kemp’s opponent, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle — splitting what are considered the two most influential endorsements in what has become a bitter inner-party fight for the nomination.

The winner in Tuesday’s runoff election will face state House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams, who handily won her party’s nod in May.

(For more news like this, find your local Patch here. If you have an iPhone, click here to get the free Patch iPhone app; download the free Patch Android app here.)

"Brian is tough on crime, strong on the border and illegal immigration," Trump wrote on Twitter. "He loves our Military and our Vets and protects our Second Amendment. I give him my full and total endorsement."

In 2016, Trump won 51 percent of the vote in Georgia — 2,076,119 votes — to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s nearly 46 percent, or 1,853,445 votes.

Before Trump weighed in, Kemp’s most noteworthy endorsement likely was that of state Sen. Hunter Hill, the third-place finisher in the GOP primary. Hill took about 18 percent of the vote in the primary.

In Georgia, if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff is held. Cagle finished primary night with about 39 percent of the vote, compared to about 26 percent for Kemp.

Since then, the race has tightened, leading to a series of nasty back-and-forth attack ads and testy exchanges in a handful of debates between Cagle and Kemp.

An AJC/Channel 2 Action News poll of likely voters released last week showed Kemp with 44 percent of the vote, Cagle with 41 percent and about 15 percent still undecided. The difference between the two candidates was within the poll’s 3.5 percent margin of error.

Early voting already is under way for the July 24 runoff elections.

Brian Kemp is running for Governor of the great state of Georgia. The Primary is on Tuesday. Brian is tough on crime, strong on the border and illegal immigration. He loves our Military and our Vets and protects our Second Amendment. I give him my full and total endorsement.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2018

Photo courtesy Georgia Secretary of State’s office

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22 Jul 2018

Capital One Secures $23M for Atlanta-Area Apartments

Capital One has closed a $22.6 million Fannie Mae fixed-rate loan for an undisclosed borrower to acquire The Parc at 1875, a 352-unit apartment community in College Park, Ga., from First Communities.

“The borrower has experience and a proven track record operating in the submarket,” Vincent Punzi, Capital One’s vice president of multifamily finance, told MHN. “Furthermore, the seller has proven that the partially renovated units were achieving rent premiums and the few fully upgraded units were achieving a much higher premium. Our review of the borrower and appraisal rent rolls comps demonstrates that there is still room to increase rents through completing unit renovations.”

The 12-year fixed-rate loan includes four years of interest-only payments followed by amortization on a 30-year schedule. Aline Capital LLC was the debt broker for the transaction. This is the sponsor’s first loan with Capital One.

According to Punzi, due to the flattening yield curve the spread differential for seven-, 10- and 12-year loans was minimal.

“The 12-year fixed rate allowed us to support additional years of interest only, which helped maximize the borrower’s cash flow,” he said. “The longer-term loan was also tied to the borrower’s business plan and the attractive terms would also be appealing to a potential buyer through an assumption if the business plan changes.”

Improving the Units

Developed in 1988, The Parc at 1875 boasts a clubhouse with fitness center, a pool, sports court, security systems and patios or balconies in many of the units.

Over the past two years, the seller had invested nearly $2 million in upgrading the community, renovating approximately 80 percent of the units, adding new landscaping, doing exterior painting and making pool improvements. The borrower intends to finish the renovation program.

“The local knowledge and financial strength of the sponsors, the condition of the units, and the experience of the sponsor-related management company were all decisive factors in our decision to fund this loan,” Punzi said. “In addition, there is rental rate upside and the Sponsor plans to finish upgrading unit interiors. This strengthened our position.”

Located just 10 miles south of Atlanta, the capital of the Southeast, the property benefits from the region continuing to outgrow and outpace the nation’s best-known metropolitan regions. The property is also near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

“The Parc at 1875 benefits from its strategic location in south Atlanta’s expanding Aerotropolis district,” Punzi said. “The submarket’s vacancy rate has been trending down and there is a limited development pipeline, further pushing rental demand.”

In April, Capital One provided Kort & Scott Financial Group with a $48.8 million Fannie Mae Structured Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (SARM) loan for Lincoln Center Mobile Home Park, a 305-unit manufactured housing community in Cypress, Calif.

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12 Jul 2018

Additional Information About 1002 Brighton Pt, Atlanta, GA 30328

1002 Brighton Pt, Atlanta, GA 30328
1002 Brighton Pt, Atlanta, GA 30328

*School data provided by National Center for Education Statistics, Pitney Bowes, and GreatSchools. Intended for reference only. GreatSchools Ratings compare a school’s test performance to statewide results. To verify enrollment eligibility, contact the school or district directly.

Year Taxes Land Additions Total Assessment 2017 Price Not Available $7,920 + $51,680 = $59,600 2016 $1,553 $7,920 + $51,680 = $59,600 2015 $1,558 $7,920 + $51,680 = $59,600

The price and tax history data displayed is obtained from public records and/or MLS feeds from the local jurisdiction. Contact your REALTOR® directly in order to obtain the most up-to-date information available.

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02 Jul 2018

Report: Georgia’s lower-wage workers must log almost 100 hours weekly to rent two-bedrooms

National Low Income Housing Coalition

Atlanta might be one of the nation’s “most affordable big cities,” but Georgia as a whole is still far from inexpensive for people living on minimum wage, according to a new study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The analysis, dubbed “Out of Reach 2018,” suggests that workers earning minimum wage ($7.25 an hour in Georgia) would need to clock in for nearly 100 hours each week to rent a decent two-bedroom in the state.

Others would need to make $17.53 per hour, if they want to work a normal business week, in order to rent the same two-bedroom unit. The average renter in Georgia, according to the study, makes about $16 an hour.

The national mean wage needed to afford a two-bed is $22.10, essentially proving—according to NLIHC—the minimum wage is not high enough to keep low-income Americans afloat.

In Georgia, an affordable rent price for a low-income household was clocked at $377 per month (good luck finding that intown). For households bringing home 30 percent of their respective area median income, writing a monthly check for $491 is affordable.

Not surprisingly, the fair market rent prices in Georgia are quite a bit higher than what minimum wage workers can afford. One- and two-bedroom rents are supposedly $778 and $911, respectively, per NLIHC’s research.

Obviously, Atlanta’s rent prices vastly outweigh the norm for the rest of the state.

In the 30303 zip code, which includes most of downtown Atlanta, the so-called “two-bedroom housing wage” is $19.81 an hour. The fair market rent rate for one of those is roughly $1,000.

In the spring, HotPads released data that showed Atlanta’s rent price increases are outpacing those of the most competitive markets, such as San Francisco’s.

With Atlanta’s perpetual placement on the nationwide list of cities with income inequality issues, the future looks grim for non-high-earners seeking nice rentals intown—and even out of town, apparently.

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22 Jun 2018

Fourth Of July: The Worst Time To Travel In Atlanta

ATLANTA, GA — A record-breaking number of people — nearly 47 million in all — will be taking to the highways and skyways in the United States this Fourth of July holiday.

That’s according to AAA. The auto club says 46.9 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles for Independence Day this year, more than a 5 percent increase over last year and the most since AAA started tracking holiday travel 18 years ago.

"This Fourth of July holiday will be one for the record books, as more Americans take to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways than ever before," said AAA spokeswoman Ragina Cooper Averella. "Confident consumers with additional disposable income will look to spend on travel this holiday, building on an already busy summer travel season."

(For more news like this, find your local Patch here. If you have an iPhone, click here to get the free Patch iPhone app; download the free Patch Android app here.)

The vast majority of those travelers, 39.7 million, will be driving, marking a 5.1-percent increase over 2017.

If you plan to join them in metro Atlanta, AAA has some advice: try to avoid doing it the afternoon of July 3. Atlanta’s worst traffic will be that Tuesday, AAA says, from 4-6 p.m. During that time, traffic will be 1.6 times worse than usual.

And, let’s be honest — traffic in metro Atlanta from 4-6 p.m. is pretty awful on the best of days.

"Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, Tuesday afternoon will hands down be the worst time to be on the road," said Scott Sedlik, a vice president with INRIX, which conducted the travel study in collaboration with AAA. "Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak commuting hours altogether or consider alternative routes."

If there’s any good news for folks planning to hit the roads, it’s that the Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday this year. That gives folks flexibility about when they want to travel, with some planning trips for the weekend before the holiday and some planning for the weekend after.

AAA expects to come to the aid of more than 362,000 motorists over the holiday. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires are expected to be the leading reasons AAA members will need help. The auto club recommends motorists take their car or truck to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown, AAA says

The Independence Day holiday period is officially defined as Tuesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 8.

In addition to drivers, AAA says a record 3.8 million people will travel by air for July 4th, while another 3.5 million will travel by trains, buses and cruise ships.

Holiday drivers will face tough news at the gas pump this year. The price of a gallon of gas is 57 cents higher than it was this time last year, according to AAA. The current average (as of June 12) of $2.92 is actually down slightly from a high of $2.97 set this year over Memorial Day weekend.

Theme parks in Florida and California and, perhaps ironically on July 4, overseas destinations are the top destinations for travelers this year, according to AAA.

Photo via Shutterstock

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12 Jun 2018

Hudson Capital Making Improvements at Hudson Ridge MF in Atlanta, GA

Hudson Ridge, 3505 Windy Ridge Pkwy SE, Atlanta, GA

ATLANTA, GA—Hudson Capital Properties, a multifamily real estate investment and development firm focused on value-added acquisitions in Southeastern US markets and a 500-unit pipeline of ground-up development projects in New Jersey, has launched a $5.4-million capital improvement program at Hudson Ridge, a 434-unit garden apartment community in the Atlanta, GA market.

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Steve Lubetkin is the New Jersey and Philadelphia editor for GlobeSt.com. He is filling in covering Atlanta until a permanent editor is named. Steve’s journalism background includes print and broadcast reporting for NJ news organizations. His audio and video work for GlobeSt.com has been honored by the Garden State Journalists Association, and he has also been recognized for video by the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has produced audio podcasts on CRE topics for the NAR Commercial Division and the CCIM Institute. Steve has also served (from August 2017 to March 2018) as national broadcast news correspondent for CEOReport.com, a news website focused on practical advice for senior executives in small- and medium-sized companies. Steve also reports on-camera and covers conferences for NJSpotlight.com, a public policy news coverage website focused on New Jersey government and industry; and for clients of StateBroadcastNews.com, a division of The Lubetkin Media Companies LLC. Steve has been the computer columnist for the Jewish Community Voice of Southern New Jersey, since 1996. Steve is co-author, with Toronto-based podcasting pioneer Donna Papacosta, of the book, The Business of Podcasting: How to Take Your Podcasting Passion from the Personal to the Professional. You can email Steve at steve@statebroadcastnews.com.

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02 Jun 2018

Amazon’s HQ2 final 20 cities ranked by housing market

Raleigh, N.C, Atlanta, Ga., and Pittsburgh, Penn. come in the top-ranked cities for Amazon’s HQ2 based on their relatively affordable homes, above-average school scores, and below-average crime rates and property taxes, according to a national property data warehouse.

The May 2018 issue of the Housing News Report by California-based ATTOM Data Solutions ranked the top 19 U.S. finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters based on factors that influence the housing market and quality of life.

The report focuses on seven factors in ranking the cities. Those are home prices, appreciation, affordability, school scores, crime rates, property taxes and environmental hazards. The top-ranking city, Raleigh has a median home price of $235,000, is among the lowest environmental hazards and crime rates, and is among the highest school scores.

Atlanta and Pittsburgh, which came in second and third, have lower median home prices at $220,000 and $150,000 respectively. Those cities have significantly higher crime rates, but also boast high school scores and better five-year home appreciation than Raleigh.

MORE: Drag queens, pilots, activists protest at Amazon annual meeting

Although they came in middle of the pack, the report specifically highlighted the District of Columbia and its surrounding counties, Montgomery County, Md. and Northern Virginia.

“We have the kind of talent in the categories they are looking for. It would be good for this economy. It would diversify it and it would attract other businesses,” said economist Stephen Fuller, director of the Stephen S. Fuller Institute for Research on the Washington Region’s Economic Future, Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University in the report.

Seattle-local and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has already established a presence in D.C. He bought the Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million and bought a former Textile Museum in 2016 to convert into a residence that might become the largest home in the nation’s capital.

Among those three candidates near Washington D.C., Northern Virginia had the lowest median home price. But homes were more affordable in Montgomery County due to higher wages in that area, according to the ATTOM Data Solutions analysis.

But Washington D.C. ranks 12 on the list with Montgomery County in the ninth spot and Northern Virginia coming in at 13.

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23 May 2018

Property Details for 4755 Brookwood Vw

4755 Brookwood Vw, Atlanta, GA 30349
Property Features

*School data provided by National Center for Education Statistics, Pitney Bowes, and GreatSchools. Intended for reference only. GreatSchools Ratings compare a school’s test performance to statewide results. To verify enrollment eligibility, contact the school or district directly.

4755 Brookwood Vw, College Park, GA 30349

*School data provided by National Center for Education Statistics, Pitney Bowes, and GreatSchools. Intended for reference only. GreatSchools Ratings compare a school’s test performance to statewide results. To verify enrollment eligibility, contact the school or district directly.

Date Event Price Price/Sq Ft Source 05/22/2018 Listed $130,000 $122 AtlantaN 05/21/2018 Listed $130,000 — Atlanta 02/13/2013 Sold $40,000 $37 Atlanta 12/17/2012 Relisted $40,000 $37 AtlantaN 12/17/2012 Relisted $40,000 $37 Atlanta 08/02/2012 Listed $40,000 $37 AtlantaN 07/27/2012 Listed $40,000 $37 Atlanta 12/20/2011 Relisted $54,900 $51 Atlanta 07/13/2011 Listed $54,900 $51 AtlantaN 07/13/2011 Listed $54,900 $51 Atlanta 08/06/2004 Sold $125,400 $117 07/13/2004 Listed $121,301 $114 Atlanta
Year Taxes Land Additions Total Assessment 2017 Price Not Available $5,560 + $14,920 = $20,480 2016 $835 Price Not Available + N/A = Price Not Available 2014 $883 $5,560 + $14,920 = $20,480

The price and tax history data displayed is obtained from public records and/or MLS feeds from the local jurisdiction. Contact your REALTOR® directly in order to obtain the most up-to-date information available.

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13 May 2018

Property Details for 1247 Spring Park Dr SW

1247 Spring Park Dr Sw, Atlanta, GA 30311
1247 Spring Park Dr Sw, Atlanta, GA 30311
Property Features
Bedrooms: 4
Baths Full: 3 Baths Full Upper: 2 Baths Full Main: 1
Breakfast Area

*School data provided by National Center for Education Statistics, Pitney Bowes, and GreatSchools. Intended for reference only. GreatSchools Ratings compare a school’s test performance to statewide results. To verify enrollment eligibility, contact the school or district directly.

Property History for 1247 Spring Park Dr SW
Year Taxes Land Additions Total Assessment 2017 Price Not Available $13,000 + $45,160 = $58,160 2016 $2,518 $13,000 + $45,160 = $58,160 2015 $2,525 $13,000 + $45,160 = $58,160

The price and tax history data displayed is obtained from public records and/or MLS feeds from the local jurisdiction. Contact your REALTOR® directly in order to obtain the most up-to-date information available.

1247 Spring Park Dr Sw, Atlanta, GA 30311
1247 Spring Park Dr Sw, Atlanta, GA 30311
Property Features
Beds Total: 4
Baths Full: 3 Main Full Baths: 1 Master Bath Features: Double Vanity, Garden Tub, Sep Tub/Shower, Vaulted Ceilings Upper Full Baths: 2
Dining Room Desc: Liv/Dine Rm Comb Kitchen Features: Breakfast Area, Cabinets White, Counter Top – Laminated, View To Fmly Rm
1-2 Step Entry Deck Satellite Dish Lot Dimensions: 68x165x181x222 Approximate Lot Size: 1/3 to 1/2 Acre

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