Amani Place in Atlanta, GA, has won a 2020 Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award in the HUD Preservation Category.
Amani Place is the preservation and redevelopment of Edgewood Court Apartments, a 70-year-old distressed Section 8 property in a revitalizing area of Atlanta that was under-managed and struggled with crime. The name ‘amani,’ which translates to ‘peace’ in Swahili, was chosen by residents as the community’s new name. Developed by Jonathan Rose Companies and Columbia Residential, Amani Place is a transformation that now provides a total of 222 affordable homes and much-needed community amenities through the renovation of the existing 204 units and the new construction of three residential buildings. The project placed an emphasis on greening and healthy housing, receiving both Enterprise Green Communities and Fitwel certifications. The 4 percent federal and Georgia state Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) was used to finance the property, with investment provided by U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation.
A new 4,500 square foot community center is the centerpiece of the project, replacing a dilapidated after-school activities trailer and a playground that was a hotbed of crime. This space is filled with many amenities including a large, multipurpose community room equipped with a kitchen and kids’ corner, a business center, fitness center, and medical exam room. Outdoors, residents benefit from a large community garden with raised, wheelchair-accessible beds, covered pavilion with barbecue grills, amphitheater seating for outdoor movie nights, and two playgrounds with outdoor fitness equipment. Particular care was given to the layout of the community facility to ensure the full-time resident services coordinator has space to regularly interact with residents, and the leasing office is a welcoming, art- and light-filled space showing respect for all residents.
The resident services coordinator manages social events, community engagement, and resident services, which focus on health and nutrition and life skills, including financial literacy and job training classes. Several partners also serve the property, including the City of Atlanta Summer Food Program, which provides free healthy meals for youth up to age 18 during the summer months. Additionally, the property is just blocks from high-quality schools, groceries, and public transportation, providing access to jobs across the city. The nearby Coan Recreation Center also provides ball fields, indoor basketball courts, meeting rooms, playgrounds, and city recreational programming for youth and adults.
Stay tuned for Senator David Perdue’s (R-GA) forthcoming congratulatory video, and Senator Kelly Loeffler’s (R-GA) forthcoming engagement on social media. Amani Place is located in the congressional district of the late Congressman John Lewis, who fought for more inclusive communities everywhere.
Leola Fenderson, a resident of Amani Place, provided remarks at the Amani Place grand opening, stating, “We can as a village now raise our children in a community where they can go outside and play, and not be afraid. We can now go to sleep at night in peace, thanks to security. Thanks to our new management team and resident services we can now go to them as a support system and for motivation, as well as resources. To help us move forward with our goals as we strive towards stepping up in our success. We can now as a community look forward to fresh produce from the community garden. As well as good fellowship at our monthly meetups. And last but not least, we can now feel inspired and enthused by our beautiful surroundings.”