The Villages Of East Lake Ribbon Cutting

East Lake Foundation, Atlanta Housing, Invest Atlanta and Columbia Residential Celebrate Grand Re-Opening of The Villages of East Lake

Recapitalization and Renovation Represents One Of The Largest Preservations of Affordable Housing in Georgia

Today, The East Lake Foundation, Atlanta Housing, Invest Atlanta and Columbia Residential hosted a grand re-opening for the Villages of East Lake, a celebration of residents and partners who have contributed to the preservation and renovation of this historic mixed-income community. The event 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, Shannon Heath-Longino, former resident, community advocate and Senior Vice President, Truist Community Capital.

This unique and productive partnership between the City of Atlanta, East Lake Foundation, Atlanta Housing, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Truist Bank, and Columbia Residential has positioned this iconic property for long-term operational and financial sustainability. This historic financial transaction and subsequent renovation represents one of the largest preservations of affordable housing in the State of Georgia and is an integral part of East Lake Foundation’s mission and continued holistic revitalization of the East Lake community.

“We are grateful to join with our Villages of East Lake residents and partners to celebrate this much-anticipated grand reopening,” said Catherine Woodling, Deputy Executive Director of the East Lake Foundation. “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.”

Josie Braziel has been a resident at the Villages of East Lake for more than a decade. 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 -full time with benefits- at a local school system where she has worked for two years now. 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, Ms. Braziel is incredibly grateful to all of 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!”

About The Villages of East Lake – an $82M Renovation

The Villages of East Lake, originally constructed in the mid 1990s, comprises 542 housing units, including townhouses, duplexes and garden apartments and amenities which have undergone an extensive renovation. 50% of the housing 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 include new exteriors, flooring, cabinets, a fitness center, and landscaping, among others. The community is conveniently located within walking distance to a MARTA bus stop and the East Lake Learning Academy as well as Sheltering Arms Early Education and Family Center and Drew Charter School, Atlanta’s first charter public school and continually recognized leading educational institution which serves more than 1,900 students in grades pre-K to 12th grade.

“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,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. “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 is proud to have played a leading role in the establishment of the unprecedented mixed-income community in The Villages of East Lake, and equally proud to contribute to its grand reopening and renovation,” says Atlanta Housing President and CEO Eugene Jones Jr. “The Villages of East Lake remain a shining beacon for affordable housing across America.”

“The successful redevelopment of Villages at East Lake exemplifies the power of what an equity-focused, community-led strategy for affordable housing can accomplish,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, President and CEO of Invest Atlanta. “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.”

“East Lake is important as both a neighborhood and an example of community revitalization that involves many partners working together. 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,” said Christopher Nunn, Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

“Columbia Residential is honored to have been asked to lead the preservation and renovation of the Villages of East Lake,{ said Jim Grauley, CEO of Columbia Residential. “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.”

To learn more about The Villages of East Lake.

Photos and videos of the event can be found here.

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