Within a football’s toss of what’s become Georgia State Stadium, Summerhill is blowing up like few other places in Atlanta right now—with all the gentrification challenges inherent in such transformative development. Most notably, the depressing dead zone that was the storefront carcasses of Georgia Avenue—which had housed a diverse slate of grocers, restaurants, and spaces for butchers and shoe shops in the early 20th century—is being restored to vibrancy with the likes of Wood’s Chapel BBQ, Junior’s Pizza, and Halfway Crooks Beer, among others. By all indications, that’s just the beginning.
Within a few blocks, nearly 1,000 new multifamily residences are in the pipeline or have recently opened near the repurposed Major League Baseball stadium and it's barren lots. Elsewhere, just north of the stadium, Aloft is planning to build its first hotel south of Interstate 20, and Georgia State is moving forward with an $85 million convocation center where the school’s basketball team would play. But only a fraction of the new housing has been earmarked as “affordable,” as determined by the earnings of residents in the area, in a district that’s been considered low-income for generations.
Renovated standalone homes costing north of a half-million dollars aren’t uncommon, while new construction routinely aims for higher prices. A national builder is erecting nearly 300 apartments near the neighborhood’s northern border, I-20, with each of them deemed “luxury.” On the transportation front, Atlanta’s first rapid bus transit project is planned for a three-mile circuit that would travel from downtown, through Summerhill, to the Beltline’s Southside Trail. Summerhill stands to be a substantially different place in the coming years, for better or worse.