Atlanta developers have gutted a 34-page marketing deck for a redevelopment project after residents noticed marketing for the project didn’t include any Black people.
The project’s first phase is slated to start this year in one of the city’s oldest Black neighborhoods.
Now, images of Black people can be found throughout the marketing document for the project dubbed Quarry Yards.
Developers with Urban Creek Partners assure the community that the former deck does not represent the scope of the project, which is projected to cost $400 million.
Mark Teixeira, co-founder the development company, said Quarry Yards will include a mixed-use space of housing, retail and public green spaces in the northwest Atlanta community of Grove Park.
“Quarry Yards will be an inclusive community that creates opportunities for people of mixed incomes and cultural backgrounds,” Teixeira said in a statement Tuesday.
However, when marketing materials failed to portray that diversity, Atlanta residents more than noticed.
“Wow. This is so disturbing,” James Bailey, president of the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said in a Facebook post about the marketing Saturday.
The post was shared more than 165 times and attracted more than 275 comments.
“We better start getting serious about things that actually matter,” Bailey said in the post. “To change the narrative – you must change the narrators. Yet another wake up call Atlanta. All of Atlanta.”
The post’s traction prompted local media outlets’ reporting and soon, a housing discrimination complaint from residents against Urban Creek Partners developers followed.
Community leaders Joe Beasley, Matthew Charles Cardinale and Diane Wright filed the complaint Monday with the Housing and Urban Development Department in Atlanta.
They referenced an area of the development site in the 1300 block of Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, and they focused specifically on a page in developer marketing materials with the headline “Welcome to the New Atlanta.”
“The term ‘The New Atlanta’ implies there is an ‘Old Atlanta,'” the residents say in the complaint. “Anyone familiar with the neighborhood knows that the Old Atlanta is Black and low-income.”
Developers have removed the “New Atlanta” reference from all of its marketing materials.
“To have a small group of people attack Quarry Yards and Urban Creek Partners over a misconstrued phrase is not only hurtful, but is counterproductive in a community that we are trying to help,” Teixeira said in his statement.
He added that the very first development at Quarry Yards will bring 182 units of new affordable housing to the community and 85 percent of them will be available for residents earning 50 to 60 percent of the Area Median Income, which is the midpoint of the region’s income distribution.
“I’ve devoted my time, energy, and personal resources supporting organizations that focus on the wellness and education of at-risk youth in diverse communities,” Teixeira said.