MARTA Partnership to Protect Affordable Housing Near Rail Stations
MARTA Partnership to Protect Affordable Housing Near Rail Stations

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) applauded Morgan Stanley and its partner, National Equity Fund (NEF), for a major boost to MARTA’s affordable housing effort as part of its transit-oriented development (TOD) program. The partnership will establish the Greater Atlanta Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Preservation Fund, supporting long-term preservation of affordable housing near MARTA rail stations by incentivizing and providing gap funding for owners and landlords of affordable units.

Morgan Stanley is committing $100 million through NEF to assist regional partners in preserving transit-oriented affordable multi-family housing at risk of the following: market-rate conversion or financial/physical distress; expiring Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-funded affordable housing including properties at, or near, the end of the LIHTC compliance period; or properties with or without rental subsidies.

“While MARTA is aggressively supporting the development of affordable housing units on our properties, new development takes time,” said MARTA GM/CEO Jeffrey Parker. “In a region that consistently ranks among the worst for economic mobility, the quickest and easiest way to have an impact is to preserve existing affordable housing near transit. Transit can be the great equalizer, providing access to education, jobs, and healthcare.”

In 2010 MARTA’s board adopted an affordable housing policy that requires 20% of residential rental units at MARTA’s TODs be affordable to those earning 60% to 80% of the Metro Atlanta Area Media Income (AMI) and for-sale units affordable to those earning 80% to 100% of the AMI.

In November 2019, MARTA’s board approved the release of mixed-income housing TOD Request for Proposals for stations it owns in Federal Opportunity Zones at Bankhead, Five Points, Vine City, Ashby, H.E. Holmes, West End, and Lakewood/Fort McPherson. The development potential includes the possibility of 900 affordable units for persons earning 80% to 120% of the median household income by zip code, which allows MARTA to deliver the housing affordability desired by the communities in which its stations reside.