Sweet Auburn Works Updates

October 2015

New website!

Sweet Auburn Works is excited to announce the launch of a new website: www.sweetauburnworks.com. We will continue to update the website with information on the historical and cultural resources of our neighborhood, as well as important up-to-date information about visiting, living in and working in Sweet Auburn.

Big Bethel AME Church Announces Redevelopment Plans

On October 13, Big Bethel AME Church formally announced their redevelopment plans for their residential tower and adjacent parking lot. The historic church is launching a $130 million-plus redevelopment project in partnership with two Atlanta-based firms: the Benoit Group and Russell New Urban.

The project will be built in 4 phases, over 4 years, and will include: rehabilitation of Bethel Towers, a new parking deck, two residential towers and retail. Read the project fact sheet and view project renderings.

Sweet Auburn Works is very excited to hear about Big Bethel's continued legacy of impact in their neighborhood. We are pleased that Bethel Towers will remain affordable housing for seniors and others and look forward to hearing more as this exciting project moves forward!

Young Professionals and Students Give Back to Sweet Auburn

Sweet Auburn Works is thrilled to welcome a number of students and young professionals devoting time and effort to a series of volunteer initiatives underway:

  • LEAD Atlanta Cohort Community Project: A group of 8 young professionals participating in the LEAD Atlanta program is developing a deliberate minority entrepreneurship program to be executed by Sweet Auburn Works as part of its neighborhood revitalization plan. The group will be tasked with researching best practices in the development of similar programs nationwide. In Spring 2016 the cohort will develop a set of recommendations that Sweet Auburn Works can use to attract minority entrepreneurs to the district.
  • Student Volunteers: Students from Georgia State University, Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State University are volunteering to assist in an effort to collect information on properties in the neighborhood, as well as conduct outreach to our business owners. This will provide Sweet Auburn Works with vital information on our neighborhood. If you see these students out and about in the community, please make them welcome!
  • Envisioning the MLK Natatorium: Kennesaw State University architecture students in Ed Akins' Design Studio course have been studying the site of the Martin Luther King Natatorium for the basis of their design studio. Students were required to integrate systems as well as consider the community, the change in elevation, and the urban context of the site, which includes the MLK Park Service Visitor’s Center. Their final designs will be shared with Sweet Auburn Works at the end of the semester.

For more information about these efforts, send us an email!

Neighborhood Town Hall

Thanks to everyone who attended our Neighborhood Town Hall meeting! The room was packed with local business owners, residents, and community partners. We were joined by the new Commissioner of Planning and Community Development at the City of Atlanta, Tim Keane, as well as Councilman Kwanza Hall and other key partners. If you were unable to attend, you can view the presentation, click here.

Development Roundup

Sweet Auburn Works is seeing some exciting changes around the neighborhood. Earlier this summer, we saw the groundbreaking at 200 Edgewood for a 144-unit student housing complex downtown near Georgia State University. The site of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. natatorium has been determined (110 Hilliard St.), and the City of Atlanta has received responses to the RFP for a design-build partner. Additionally, the Trio Laundry Building received some good news earlier this month when it was determined that the building can be preserved. Testing revealed that contamination was minimal, and clean up is scheduled to take place this month. The Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) is exploring options for adaptive reuse, to be in keeping with Auburn Pointe. AHA is also accepting concepts for 333 Auburn Avenue, the former Church's Chicken site.

A number of properties are getting a facelift through the Invest Atlanta "Facade Improvements Grant Program." Some of the projects that were awarded funding are still in the permitting process, but renovation has started at the following:

  • 2 restaurants: Uptop Urban and Poor Calvin’s (339-347 Edgewood Ave.)
  • Bad Dog Taqueria (476 Edgewood Ave.)
  • Bar One (253 Auburn Avenue)

Be sure to stop by and check out the recently completed renovations at Hotlanta Yoga (439 Edgewood Ave.) and the Atlanta Daily World Building (145 Auburn Avenue).

We will keep you posted on the progress of development in Sweet Auburn. Stay tuned for more updates!

Calling All Volunteers!

Get involved by joining a Sweet Auburn Works Committee.


  • Works on SAW communication, membership, fundraising and volunteers
  • Meets the 1st Monday of the month at 4:00 p.m. at the offices of the Historic District Development Corporation (522 Auburn Avenue)
Contact: Mtamanika Youngblood at mtyoungblood@bellsouth.net

  • Works on building preservation, tactical enhancements and planning issues
  • Meets the 2nd Friday of the month at 12 noon at the offices of the Historic District Development Corporation (522 Auburn Avenue)
Contact: Karen Huebner at karenhuebner@gmail.com

Economic Restructuring
  • Works on market studies and data, business recruitment and retention and economic development
  • Meets the 2nd Thursday of the month at 12 noon at the Odd Fellows Atrium Building (236 Auburn Avenue)
Contact: Jennifer Ball at jball@atlantadowntown.com

  • Works on advertising, promotions and events to support the Sweet Auburn district.
  • Meets the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 8:00 am at Starbucks at Westin Peachtree Plaza, 210 Peachtree Street NE

Contact: Kellie Brown at kelliebrown7@gmail.com.

About Sweet Auburn Works

Sweet Auburn Works, Inc. is the community-based economic development organization that is leading and guiding revitalization efforts in Sweet Auburn. SAW is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and is comprised of community stakeholders working together for the preservation-based revitalization of Sweet Auburn.