Empowering Equitable Development: Atlanta BeltLine’s Land Acquisition

Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) has taken a momentous stride in its quest for equitable growth by acquiring 13.7 acres of land along the Southside Trail. Valued at $13.3 million, this strategic purchase at 356 University Avenue bolsters Atlanta BeltLine’s commitment to fostering economic equity and job opportunities within the communities it serves.

Made possible through a collaboration with SouthState Bank, the acquisition underscores ABI’s core mission: to drive commercial and residential projects that translate into affordable housing, accessible commercial ventures, and meaningful job prospects. In the past three years, the BeltLine has tripled its land holdings around the 22-mile loop with this goal in mind. Acquiring University Avenue land from AECF Atlanta Realty LLC, a subsidiary of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which manages Pittsburgh Yards®, is more than just a transaction—it’s an embodiment of the organization’s pledge to inclusivity. Through community engagement, the aim is to harness the land’s potential for the maximum benefit of local residents.

Clyde Higgs, ABI President and CEO, emphasizes the acquisition’s significance in steering equitable, sustainable development. “This is a catalytic opportunity to continue guiding equitable, inclusive and sustainable development in southwest Atlanta,” Higgs asserts.

Pittsburgh Yards®, a transformative adaptive-reuse project, is a success story in generating living-wage jobs and empowering local communities. The newly acquired land’s proximity to The Nia Building™, a versatile facility within Pittsburgh Yards®, amplifies the impact. This comprehensive development complex is poised to become a vibrant community hub with communal spaces, workspaces, and apartment units, supported by a dedicated green area, the James Bridges Field.

“We are excited about our collective vision for a space where community is at the center and can reap the benefits and contribute to the economic growth along the Atlanta BeltLine,” said Tomi Hiers, president of AECF Atlanta Realty LLC. “This partnership also will allow us to focus on maximizing the potential of Pittsburgh Yards® as a hub for local entrepreneurs and a resource for the community to work, create, shop and play.”

356 University Avenue is a vacant lot located adjacent to the James Bridges Field at Pittsburgh Yards® and the Atlanta BeltLine Southside Trail. Photo: LoKnows Drones LLC.

“What excites me about this opportunity is knowing that the 14 acres was purchased by an organization (the Atlanta BeltLine) which aligns with the mission of the Annie E. Casey Foundation,” shared Stephanie Flowers, NPU-V Chair and longtime Pittsburgh resident and community leader. “That makes me feel confident that what is going to be developed on this land will continue to increase and enhance opportunity currently happening at Pittsburgh Yards® around economic opportunity, entrepreneurship, and building community.”

Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.’s approach emphasizes collaboration with stakeholders for responsible growth. The organization plans a robust community engagement process, involving the Annie E. Casey Foundation, adjacent residents, and local businesses. This collaborative input will shape development plans, paving the way for an inclusive and sustainable economic landscape. With a steadfast commitment to fostering stronger communities, Atlanta BeltLine continues to redefine urban renewal through connectivity and equitable development.

2 thoughts on this article. Join the discussion below

  1. This area would be great for an outdoor roller skate park! Kinda like Venice Beach. Eastside skateboard park doesn’t cater to roller skaters….

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