The North Downtown Athens Development Project located in Athens, Georgia was recognized by the Georgia Planning Association as best-in-category for outstanding public involvement during their 2023 Fall Chapter Awards event. The North Downtown Athens Master Planning Study was chosen as the category winner for “involving the general public in a planning activity above and beyond the minimum state or local requirements, and where that involvement contributes greatly to the final product.”
The North Downtown Athens Redevelopment is a public-private partnership between the Athens Housing Authority, Athens-Clarke County Unified Government, and developers specializing in affordable and mixed-income housing. A team of design, technical assistance, and master planning consultants supports the project. W&A Engineering is performing professional land surveying, civil engineering, community liaison, and auxiliary services alongside partners JHP Architecture/Urban Design, Jonathan Rose Companies, Dix-Hite, and Columbia Residential.
“With the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, during this most critical public involvement stage of the project’s master planning, W&A and our partners had to pivot to ensure that the voices of our Athens’ community were heard,” said W&A Government and Community Services Director Buck Bacon, PMP. “We retooled our public engagement process by using online surveys, virtual meetings, and socially distanced person to person interviews in the height of the pandemic to ensure that we captured input of the full cross-section of our Athens’ community while continuing to deliver the masterplan on schedule. We’re excited to see the positive impact of this development and be a part of the Athens Housing Authority’s mission to provide secure, affordable, and quality housing and to encourage and sustain independence for the Athens communities wage earners, elderly, and families.”
The redevelopment of Bethel Midtown Village and surrounding areas will create a vibrant residential community at the Northern edge of Downtown Athens, Georgia. Support from the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government SPLOST 2020 funding will enable the redevelopment to preserve deeply affordable housing, expand workforce affordable and market-rate housing downtown, create new city blocks, and connect the community to transportation, public green spaces, and the activity of downtown Athens.
“The Athens Housing Authority is appreciative of the ‘vote’ of confidence from the community and Athens-Clarke County Unified Government as shown in the provision of the significant SPLOST funds that served as the catalyst for this, the community’s plan,” said Connie Staudinger, CEO.
The Redevelopment Plan was designed based on a year of community outreach with Bethel and College & Hoyt residents, North Downtown stakeholders, local leaders, and the broader Athens community.
“We believe involving residents and other stakeholders in the master planning process is essential to creating a community that truly represents their needs and desires,” said Carmen Chubb, president of Columbia Residential.
Construction and leasing for Phase 1 of the project is expected to be completed in mid to late 2025. For development updates and more information on the North Downtown Athens Redevelopment, visit ndathens.com.