Athens Land Trust is committed to the revitalization of the Hancock Neighborhood for the preservation of cultural heritage and traditional land use.
The Hancock Neighborhood is located along Hancock Avenue from the downtown area and it extends over to the St. Mary’s hospital area and the Brooklyn neighborhood off of Hawthorne Avenue. This is a historically African-American neighborhood that has recently seen a lot real-estate pressure from investors and university students desiring housing near the University of Georgia and downtown Athens. Many families who have lived in this neighborhood for generations are low to moderate income and cannot financially compete with investors and students. As the property taxes in this neighborhood have increased tremendously over time, many of these families have been forced to move.
ALT is also involved in the revitalization efforts of the East Athens neighborhood. Like the Hancock Corridor, East Athens has a rich cultural history that is being threatened by the influx of student rental housing. Two affordable housing communities (the Garden Springs Mobile Home Park and Athens Arms Apartments) were lost to high-end rental housing several years ago. ALT received tax credits from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to build Fourth Street Village, a 120-unit development that will provide additional affordable units for low-income residents. Construction on this project is complete and residents are moving in.
ALT has rehabilitated several affordable single-family homes in East Athens, including 51 Dublin, 125 Stanelle, 130 Andrea, and 470 Nellie B. With increased development, both single family and multi-family, the average house and land prices in East Athens are rising rapidly. Because of ALT’s ground lease, our homes will always be permanently affordable and owner-occupied. The limited equity formula in the ground lease ensures that when homeowners wish to sell, they will receive a fair return on their investment while keeping the price affordable for other low-to-moderate income people. In this way, ALT’s program slows down the gentrification that often occurs when a neighborhood is revitalized. Homes on land owned by ALT will provide some housing that is affordable to the original, long-term residents, in essence, keeping a mixed-income community.