Residents at Buckhead’s Darlington apartments rallied Sept. 17 to voice concerns about deteriorating conditions and their struggles to find new housing after the complex owner notified all residents they had 60 days to vacate.
In August, renters at the Darlington, one of the few affordable apartment complexes in Buckhead, said they were surprised with a letter left at their doors that said they had to vacate their units by Oct. 17. Varden Capital Properties, the developer that purchased the building about a year ago, plans to renovate the complex, but has released few details and has not responded to requests for comment.
Participants at the rally spoke about conditions at the apartment while holding signs that said “people before profit” and “housing is human right.” They later walked to the sidewalk at Peachtree Road and chanted as cars drove by.
Residents complained the air conditioning was broken for three weeks. Once that was fixed, the hot water stopped working, they said. Most at the rally said they are not trying to stay at the apartment and don’t plan to return once the renovations are done, but want more moving assistance from the owner.
The apartment complex, located at 2025 Peachtree Road, is famous for its “Atlanta Population Now” sign, which has been tracking the population since 1965. TriBridge Residential sold the property to Varden for $30 million in April 2017, according to Fulton County property records.
The Sandy Springs-based developer is known for renovating affordable complexes into “luxury” units. Varden has purchased and renovated approximately 18,000 units in the Southeast since 2012, according to its website, but the Darlington is the only unit it currently owns in Georgia. The rents at the Darlington range from $600 to $1,000 per month, according to the website.
Athena Parker, who said she has lived at the Darlington since moving to Atlanta eight years ago, said she believes the owners are forcing residents out because they want to make more money on a property in a prime location.
“I think they’re doing because they’re greedy,” she said.
She said she is afraid the only affordable options available to her may be in a dangerous area.
“This is my home. These people are my family,” Parker said. “I’m scared. Am I going to become homeless?”