A rendering of The 345.

Nonprofit City of Refuge has selected Pencor Construction as general contractor for “The 345,” the organization’s second affordable housing project on the Westside.
Formerly known as The Danzig Motel, one of the only Black-owned motels in Atlanta, the project will transform the blighted site, which has been abandoned for over 20 years, into a 31-unit community that will primarily serve Black men from the Westside.
“For decades, Atlanta’s Westside has been forgotten and left in the dark. It’s time for the deserving residents to have something they are proud of – a community they can be excited to call home,” said Bruce Deel, founder and CEO of City of Refuge. “As the area becomes more attractive to developers, it is imperative that we provide current and future residents with opportunities to thrive. We are excited to see Pencor’s passion and excellence shine through on this project.”
City of Refuge purchased The Danzig Motel in May 2017 and has since completed several pre-development efforts to ready the site for construction, including graffiti removal, roof repairs, asbestos mitigation, and clearing interior and exterior debris. City of Refuge is currently in the permitting process and expects to break ground on the $2 million renovation this spring. North American Properties (NAP) will be the project manager.
Originally built by O.T. Bell, The Danzig Motel opened on Chappell Road in 1959. Nearly 40 years later in 1997, the Motel was purchased by the Antioch Baptist Church and renovated as “Matthew’s Place,” a home that served HIV-positive residents. Now, City of Refuge will blend the histories of the two entities together to bring The 345 to life, focusing on Westside neighborhood residents, especially those from the Westlake and Bankhead areas, who are defined as low income individuals by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Danzig Motel as it looks today.

Upon completion, the community will be separated by groups of men: floor one will be dedicated to veterans and citizens returning from incarceration; floor two will house men overcoming addiction and those with manageable mental health challenges; and floor three will serve young men aged 18-24 who are committed to furthering their education, working full time or enrolled in one of City of Refuge’s vocational training programs taught in the onsite Workforce Innovation Hub.
Each floor will be managed by a Resident Services Supervisor, who will also serve as an advisor to the men living in The 345. Residents of the program will receive housing and access to City of Refuge’s wraparound services for up to three years. This includes budgeting, discipleship, mentorship, employment, counseling, addiction recovery, healthcare, childcare, basic life skills, fitness and more. Dom Preyer, current director of the Workforce Innovation Hub, will oversee all resources and programming offered to residents.
Over the last three years, City of Refuge has expanded its footprint outside the campus gates, making a sizable investment on the Westside to help local community members lead a self-sufficient lifestyle. While the nonprofit is still designing its long-term real estate strategy, its ultimate goal is to end the generational cycle of systemic poverty by increasing the number of affordable housing and rental units in the neighborhood. Last August, City of Refuge celebrated the opening of The 1300, a 47-unit affordable housing community located directly across the street from its campus on Joseph E. Boone Blvd NW. The 1300 is now 100% occupied.
To find out more, visit cityofrefugeatl.org.
 

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.