Part 4 of my CYBOTL series investigates an empty lot on Highland Avenue, in a very desirable neighborhood in Atlanta. The lot has a very amenable size and an advantageous zoning classification. The lot, which hosted a residence decades ago, is currently empty but is a prime candidate for low-density multifamily housing. Let’s take a look at 515 Highland Avenue.
This lot is owned by a holding company here in Atlanta, and they own both pairs of lots on either side of 515 Highland. With the R-5 zoning classification, these lots could host a whole row of duplexes or spacious rowhouses. The lots could even be combined to create more dense multifamily housing. Next to a dog park, walkable shopping, and other amenities, 515 Highland is the definition of prime real estate. The lack of development of this and the others next to it is most likely intentional. The owner may seek to profit from the housing scarcity in the city. They may lack the capital to develop the lot and are looking for a buyer who can. The reasons why a lot may still be empty are not always due to restrictive zoning. However, the city still has a responsibility to help get its people housed. Financial incentives, easing building requirements, or preemptive rezoning, the city can generate more housing units while preserving the economic interest of property owners.