Lincoln Property Company has started vertical construction on Echo Street West, a 19-acre mixed-use development in the English Avenue neighborhood.

The project is located in an Opportunity Zone and will bring jobs, housing, retail and community amenities to the area. The first phase will comprise 300,000 square feet of office space, 50,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 292 multifamily units and 3.4 acres of outdoor entertainment and greenspace.

The announcement comes on the heels of unveiling new amenities, including the now-open event venue Guardian Works, the soon-to-open artist colony Guardian Studios and CoLab, an innovative neighborhood resource led by community organizer and Director of Neighborhood Engagement at Westside Future Fund, Joan Vernon.

“Our team is thrilled to put shovels in the ground as we mark an important milestone for Echo Street West,” Lincoln Property executive vice-president Tony Bartlett said at the June 17 groundbreaking. “Our vision for creating a walkable, interconnected village that harnesses the growing pool of tech talent and engages the surrounding communities is coming to life. Already there are many fingerprints on this project, and we will continue to work hard to involve our neighbors and create unique amenities and gathering spaces that serve the community and appeal to our future tenants.”

A key focus of the groundbreaking was the debut of CoLab, located in Echo Street West’s onsite marketing center. CoLab will serve as a community-led, community-focused resource for the personal and professional advancement of Westside residents. CoLab will host both physical and virtual events, with speakers from groups like Invest Atlanta and Georgia Tech. As one of the first virtual sessions, Invest Atlanta will focus on how to access down payment assistance to support nearby home buying programs, while Georgia Tech will host a series of sessions on opportunities for entrepreneurs, minority procurement and short-term certificate programs for high-demand careers.

“As a legacy resident of the English Avenue community, I’m excited to see a CoLab collaborative space at the Echo Street West development,” said Joan Vernon. “This is the first collaboration of its kind. Echo Street West is a transformational development. Understanding developments should bring positive transformation to the impacted communities, our focus is on the nearby residents. I am thankful the Lincoln Property Company offered to utilize their marketing center as a way to connect and support Westside Neighbors through a CoLab collaboration. It’s amazing to see this space take shape as a meaningful resource for the community.”

As one of her first initiatives, Vernon organized a virtual game show for local students to learn about Lincoln Property Company’s development process, including market analysis, land acquisition, financing and site planning. The goal of the game show was to get the new generation engaged in development and learn more about what’s happening at Echo Street West so that they feel a sense of ownership and pride in the project. Seven of the webinar’s most engaged students were invited to each paint a shovel at Lindsay Street Park in English Avenue. The students, their families and the seven painted shovels all participated in today’s groundbreaking event and received a private tour of the development.

In her speech at the event, Vernon spoke directly to the kids and said, “You belong here… This is a place for you.”

Last Fall, Lincoln Property Company launched a $17 million infrastructure project that included soils, grading, roads, sewer and utilities and set the stage for vertical construction on the office, retail and residential components of Echo Street West. The new construction will be delivered starting in 2022, while the adaptive reuse buildings are opening now through the end of the year. It’s worth noting the walkable design of the project, with parking hidden from view.

Twenty percent of the multifamily units will be affordable at 80 percent AMI. As a part of the ground level of the residential building, there will be 23,000 square feet of retail space, the majority of which will have frontage on the Westside Connector Trail.

For more about the project, visit echostreetwest.com.

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.