Decatur Next

AMLI Infill Block Opens


Replacing downtown Decatur’s aging and substandard Callaway Municipal Building and its surrounding asphalt parking lot, the AMLI Decatur mixed-use development returns its 4.7 acre site to the city’s tax rolls, reversing DeKalb County’s tax exempt status that was in effect for five decades prior.

The project mixes a variety of commercial and residential uses, making it more responsive over time as market trends inevitably shift. It includes 330 residential units, 65% of which are studio and one bedroom dwellings; 18,000 square feet of retail space; and Decatur’s first new office building in over 20 years, providing 33,750 square feet of Class A office space. 

Like other private sector multifamily projects in Decatur, it received no local tax breaks or similar subsidies.

Included with the project are all new pedestrian streetscapes built to the city’s existing standards, bicycle facilities making key connections between existing routes, and an impact fee of $450,000 to purchase excess stormwater capacity from Decatur’s Ebster Park facility.

The development is downtown’s first commercial project to comply with the city’s high performance building ordinance, receiving a LEED Gold designation. It includes the planting of 137 native trees, including Oaks, Elms, Hornbeams, Dogwoods, Hemlocks, and Cedars, among others. All were planted directly on the property and, despite existing site trees lost to construction, resulted in a net downtown gain of roughly a hundred trees.

The main lobby entrance, leasing office, retail, and all outer edge, ground floor apartments have sidewalk entrances along S. McDonough Street, W. Trinity Place, and Commerce Drive, activating previously desolate public space on three sides of the block.


Though this project, like similar projects that have come online, is new construction with commensurate market-rate rents, it still plays an important role in Decatur’s long-term housing strategies. Steadily increasing demand for in-town living continues to exert pressure on communities like Decatur. By increasing supply for middle-income earners seeking market-rate rentals in prime Decatur locations, these new apartments help reduce market pressure on our more limited inventory of older, more affordable second-tier units which are preferably retained as workforce housing.

Building an active population of downtown and transit-adjacent residents has been a city priority since development of 1982’s community-driven Town Center Plan. In practice, such developments (both condo and for-rent) have been net-positive contributors to local tax revenue, paying notably more than they take out in city services and associated infrastructure, including schools. To wit, analysis by the City Schools of Decatur found that the number of enrolled students in each of the city’s large-format multifamily buildings fell below projections and, taken collectively, those building contribute in excess of $2.5 million in net school funding each year.

Residents drawn by a walkable, car-lite or car-free lifestyle further contribute to the health of our businesses, both independent and chain, providing for a wider variety of offerings and experiences for locals and visitors alike.

AMLI Decatur’s pool courtyard. Click for larger view.

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