North Downtown Athens Master Plan Wins GPA Award

November 9, 2023

North Downtown Athens Redevelopment Partners And JHP Architecture / Urban Design Celebrate Georgia Planning Association Award For North Downtown Athens Planning Study 

Project Recognized As Best-In-Category For Outstanding Public Involvement

 

 

This week, the North Downtown Athens Redevelopment, a project being developed by Columbia Residential, Jonathan Rose Companies, and the Athens Housing Authority in partnership with JHP Architecture / Urban Design, was honored during the Athens-Clarke County Mayor & Commission Regular Session. The project was recently designated as the 2023 winner in the Outstanding Public Involvement category by the Georgia Planning Association during their annual 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. The project is supported by a team of design, technical assistance, and master planning consultants.

 

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 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. We are grateful to our partners, JHP Architecture / Urban Design, the Athens Housing Authority, and Jonathan Rose Companies, who went above and beyond to capture the voice of the community in the master plan,” said Carmen Chubb, president of Columbia Residential.

 

According to Brian Keith, Director of Urban Design & Planning for JHP, the North Downtown Athens Planning Study has been a significant undertaking, given that it was initiated just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The challenge for the project became maintaining community engagement and gathering public input, all while prioritizing health and safety,” Brian explained. “JHP and the project team built out a website to serve as the primary engagement portal and paired it with innovative online charrettes, surveys, and other pioneering outreach methods. These initiatives cohesively engaged the community throughout the design process until a safe return of in-person meetings was feasible.”

 

Construction and leasing for Phase I is expected to be completed in mid to late 2025.