ULI Atlanta Member Spotlight: Joel Dixon, Co-Principal, Urban Oasis Development
From a young age, Joel Dixon learned the grass is greener where people water it.
If knowledge is power, or so the saying goes – then HouseATL’s charge to ‘demystify affordable housing’ has never been more important. In the midst of a global pandemic, there should be no doubt left that safe, stable, and affordable housing is bedrock to our communities. The power of an address is front and center. To meet the need for housing that is affordable to existing and future Atlantans, we need a robust sector of non-profit and for-profit developers as well as all of the key partners who make these communities possible.
Through the work of HouseATL, ULI Atlanta has helped develop case studies to make the affordable housing subject matter less complicated and to arm real estate practitioners, policymakers, and other professionals with the best-case examples of how affordable housing is developed and preserved so that it can be emulated and scaled across our region.
In November 2020, ULI Atlanta and HouseATL released two case studies that helped highlight the power of collaboration to execute this mission.
The first, a case study on Atlanta Land Trust (ALT) and Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation (the Trust) demonstrated a unique partnership resulting from complementary yet aligned missions to preserve homes along a portion of Atlanta’s BeltLine. This partnership culminated in the West Atlanta Preservation Initiative, and subsequent preservation of 1575 Mozley Place & 1138 Harwell Street Atlanta, GA 30314.
The second case study on Mercy Park highlights another partnership between Mercy Care and Mercy Housing, two independent organizations that came together to advance their shared and complementary missions around affordability and healthcare. Mercy Park represents a creative approach to mission-based, not-for-profit development on a four-acre site with a 45,000 square foot Mercy Care health clinic, and a 79-unit senior housing development for seniors over the age of 62.
The next two case studies focus on preservation and comprehensive community investment as key strategies to mitigate displacement and provide affordable and workforce housing in rapidly gentrifying parts of the City of Atlanta.
All case studies to date were developed through a unique partnership with ULI Atlanta – HouseATL and GA Tech’s Master’s in Real Estate Development (MRED) program. MRED graduate students acted as technical writers to research and develop these case studies and we are grateful for their time and commitment to executing this important task.
HouseATL is an open taskforce initiated through the convening power and resources of ULI Atlanta, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Central Atlanta Progress, Center for Civic Innovation, and Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Since January 2018, these partners have engaged more than 200 civic leaders to develop and help advance 23 recommendations to invest $1B in affordable housing over 8 – 10 years, producing and preserving 20,000 affordable units. The City of Atlanta adopted the key pillars of HouseATL’s platform in June 2019, resulting in the One Atlanta Housing Affordability Action Plan. HouseATL’s work continues today recognizing that we will only be successful in addressing affordability if we work in more coordinated and collaborative ways – within sectors and across sectors.
This article originally appeared in the January 19th edition of the Saporta Report.