New micro-home development in College Park provides community and affordable housing for residents

Two newly built micro-homes at College Park's South Park Cottages (DorMiya Vance/WABE).

People are now moving into a micro-housing community built by a Black developer just outside Atlanta.

South Park Cottages is located about 10 minutes from Hartsfield-Jackson airport. The complex is referred to as “The Park” by its CEO, Booker T. Washington.

The Park features twenty-nine smaller, modern homes. Residents have between 400 and 600 square feet and a higher chance of ownership. The cost of living in the community falls below $300,000. 

The site is one of the nation’s first. Washington says it’s always been his dream to build a neighborhood for people of color. 

“I’ve always been driven to improve where I am and what we’re doing,” he said. “I think the time has come within real estate, within affordable and accessible home ownership solutions for Black Americans [and] anyone really, because, you know, I think development [is] intentional. As a developer, I know I have choices and options. And I just chose to provide a product and a community that really articulated how I felt internally, and what it meant to me.”

Amid rent spikes, Washington’s development is helping solve a bigger issue throughout Georgia and other states. MicroLife executive director Will Johnston says more micro-home communities may be an answer to the lack of affordable housing. 

“We as cities, like Atlanta, Chicago, Illinois, New York, LA, need to realize that we need to create city centers and ways for us to connect,” he said.

“We are not building places for people to stay in their community. They have to move to high rises or move completely out of their zip code … we’re mistaking isolation for privacy. And it’s destroying us as a culture.”

Washington’s dream of reestablishing the old neighborhood feel of connection between families and providing a space for people of color is not going unnoticed. 

Amber Lawson is the Founder of Aspire Construction and Design. She says that at this degree, Washington is one of the only Black developers creating opportunities for the individuals and families that need it.

“There were times where there was three or four or five family members living within a one block radius,” she said. “So it really was more of a village, a community, whereas the tiny homes have the capability of recreating that community that we lost.”

Though the outcome of The Park exceeded expectations, Washington says he had to find other ways to fund the micro-housing project. He looked to his community and the city of College Park to crowdfund the development. 

The Park is now open and has nearly sold out since its grand opening in June.