It is always exciting when someone finds their fit in the residential construction industry! On this week’s All About Real Estate edition of Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio, co-hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick are joined by RedBrick Homes & Development Owner Jim Cheeks to discuss the company’s origin and affordable housing in Atlanta.
RedBrick Homes & Development is a developer and builder of single-family homes in the Atlanta area. With a degree in Zoo Animal Management, the company’s owner has certainly had an interesting road to residential real estate.
Following his work at Seaworld in Orlando, Jim went back to school for an associate degree in entrepreneurial management and began working in whole-sale diamond sales. From there, Jim worked for the Department of Planning at Atlanta City Hall on the economic development team before the 1996 Olympics with the intention of improving the city areas around Olympic venues, many of which were in transitional neighborhoods.
Post Olympics, Jim’s boss invited him to venture out and join him in developing land in the Summerhill neighborhood near the Olympic Stadium (Turner Field), his first taste of working in residential real estate. This last endeavor lead Jim to go out on his own to create RedBrick Homes & Development and build three single-family homes in its first year!
Jim’s work throughout the Great Recession focused on affordable housing. “Affordable,” can mean everything from low-income individuals to houses that are priced lower than the average in a higher-priced neighborhood.
“To me, that’s what affordability means,” Jim said.
In the last few years, RedBrick built 25 homes in the Mechanicsville area just south of downtown. According to Jim, this project was the first low-income housing tax credit used for a single-family project in the state.
The turning point in affordable housing in Atlanta was the re-approval of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) about one-and-a-half years ago. Once legal citywide, the new ordinance allows ADUs in R-4, R-4A and R-5 zoning districts. According to TinyHouseAtlanta.com, guest houses are allowed in all zones, but once someone lives there for more than 90 days, a “guest house” is then considered an ADU.
There are only so many ways to increase density witin cities: build smaller single-family homes or build apartments. The new ordinance allows for someone to build a duplex home plus one to two ADUs in the backyard, perfect for rentals or multi-family living.
“Zoning is ultimately one of the major arrows in the quiver on increasing affordable housing,” Jim said. “Across-the-spectrum affordable, not just low-income affordable housing.”
To learn more about the zoning updates, affordable housing in Atlanta, the Missing Middle and RedBrick Homes & Development, click here or listen to the full interview above.
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The Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio “All About Real Estate” segment, presented by Denim Marketing, airs on Wednesdays and highlights the movers and shakers in the Atlanta real estate industry – the home builders, developers, Realtors and suppliers working to provide the American dream for Atlantans. For more information on how you can be featured as a guest, contact Denim Marketing at 770-383-3360 or fill out the Atlanta Real Estate Forum contact form. Subscribe to the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast on iTunes, and if you like this week’s show, be sure to rate it.