One year after an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation into a white Buckhead speculator’s bid to buy up houses in a poor, historically black neighborhood, there are small signs that English Avenue is becoming a safer, healthier place. But the cases of derelict properties owned by others show how rapid change and uncertainty is clouding its future.
Investors are buying and selling English Avenue properties at a breakneck pace, drawn by ongoing construction of the new Falcons stadium to the east, plans for the Beltline to the west, and gentrification to the north.
Consider the case of a bungalow on Joseph E. Boone Boulevard, which has been targeted by a city program to foreclose on blighted properties. It has changed hands three times since August and more than doubled in value, despite the threat of foreclosure, according to property records.
Here’s what we found through public documents and an interview with a corporate officer of its original owner:
Atlanta-based nonprofit Urban Residential Development Corporation (URDC) had tried and failed to redevelop the house for years when it was approached by CAL Enterprises, LLC, according to Dustin Reed of URDC. CAL Enterprises, which had recently picked up another neighborhood building for $40,000, bought the bungalow Aug. 31 for $8,000, Reed said.
In late October, CAL Enterprises, based at an apartment in southwest Atlanta, transferred both of its English Avenue properties to 775 Joseph E. Boone Holding Co. Inc, a business that shares its name with the address of a busy liquor store next to the bungalow.
The holding company, which lists its address as a Decatur P.O. Box, sold both properties in late November for $105,000 to a newly-registered California-based company, CH Realty Enterprises, LLC. That company’s registered agent and organizer is an attorney at the local offices of legal behemoth Alston & Bird, LLP.
Its current owner promises to tear the property down, a spokeswoman for the city said.