Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. Welcomes new Vice President of Housing Policy and Development

Dennis Richards Jr. began his new role on November 1, 2021

Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. Vice President of Housing Policy and Development
Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. Vice President of Housing Policy and Development

After a nation-wide search, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) welcomed Dennis Richards Jr., former Senior Director of Housing Development at National Church Residences, to assume the role of Vice President of Housing Policy and Development, effective November 1, 2021. As head of the department, Richards will help the Atlanta BeltLine achieve its affordable housing goals and initiatives by leading the process of predevelopment, request for proposals, and disposition of lands for future affordable housing.  He will also provide leadership to public and private stakeholders for the benefit of coordinated, equitable development in the Atlanta BeltLine Tax Allocation District (TAD).  The Vice President of Housing Policy and Development will report to the Chief Operating Officer, Ruben J. Brooks.

ABI is charged with overseeing the creation or preservation of 5,600 units of affordable workforce housing within the TAD in cooperation with its housing partners. To date, 2,550 affordable units have been created in the TAD in conjunction with Invest Atlanta, the Department of Community Affairs, and Atlanta Housing Authority. A total of 4,255 affordable units have been created within walking distance of the Atlanta BeltLine.

Most recently, ABI has begun implementing a more robust affordability strategy through land acquisition. Since 2019, it has tripled its real estate portfolio to include approximately 65 acres in various geographies with the objective of creating more equitable development around the 22-mile Atlanta BeltLine corridor. Affordable housing is a key component of this endeavor.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dennis to the helm of our affordable housing efforts,” shared ABI CEO, Clyde Higgs. “In order to reach our goal of creating or preserving 5,600 affordable housing before 2030, experienced, innovative leadership and focus is required, and I am confident that Dennis will help us get there.”

Richards brings to the BeltLine project more than 15 years of leadership experience in affordable housing development, finance, asset management, and accounting. He served in several capacities with National Church Residences over the course of his thirteen-year tenure with the organization. As Senior Director of Housing Development, he was responsible for growing a robust real estate development pipeline within the Atlanta market, preserving existing housing units within the existing regional real estate portfolio, and negotiating strategic partnerships, site acquisitions, and joint ventures in pursuit of new housing development business. As Director of Finance, Housing Development and Growth Strategies, he led all finance and cost accounting efforts for National Church Residences’ development business nationally. Richards was also responsible for strategic planning efforts to grow National Church Residences housing development portfolio within the Atlanta MSA. He also provides real estate development, asset management and preservation services as a partner with the for-profit real estate brokerage and business service firm, Transform Community Partners, LLC.

Richards is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He has served in various capacities with the Columbus Urban League, and volunteers on local, not-for-profit boards. Dennis holds a Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University and an MBA degree from Franklin University. He lives in a neighborhood along the Atlanta BeltLine.

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