West Highlands, awarded the 2004 Annual Development of Excellence Award by the Atlanta Regional Commission and Regional Business Coaltion, is a new 460-acre mixed-use community of the Atlanta Housing Authority with 1,100 single-family homes, 780 new rental apartments, 134 new senior community apartments, 90 acres of parks and green space, an 18-hole public golf course, a YMCA, a school and a trail. Located on the site of the former Perry Homes public housing project, the $428-million new urbanism development is replacing what was a drug and crime infested slum located 10 minutes from downtown Atlanta.
Alphonso Jackson, the head of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in June 2004 got his first look at the developing West Highlands at Perry and declared he thought this might be “the most successful” Hope VI experiment. Elaborating, Jackson said, “it has done the first two components –that is to integrate the community both socially and economically– but it has added a third and a fourth component. The third component is adding a commercial area, and the fourth component, which has not been done by any housing authority, is the golf course.
“The golf course brings in not only revenue, but it brings people into the community and creates interest which will evoke others to develop in this area,” Jackson predicted. “I think that the $500 million that is being used here will create a leverage of probably about $1 billion to $1.5 billion.”
Site solutions worked with the public and private development team in designing the landscape infrastructure, which includes a Central Park of 4.5 acres at the Town Center. In designing the park, Site solutions suggested realignment of various proposed roads to insure that significant old oak trees were preserved. Ringed by mixed-uses including commercial, retail and other civic functions, the park includes an amphitheatre, and together with a future public plaza, will serves as the “heart” of the town center.
Besides the park, Site solutions has designed streetscapes and the landscape architecture for Columbia Estates, Columbia Parc Citi, and Columbia Heritage, the first three multi-family residential enclaves underway at West Highlands.