W&D Community

November 12, 2019

Driven by community: How a pioneer from Antigua revitalized Atlanta

Driven by community: How a pioneer from Antigua revitalized Atlanta

We’re about more than numbers. For us, it’s all about you.

Walker & Dunlop recently launched a new campaign called “What Drives You,” highlighting the passion and dedication that fuels each and every one of its clients and employees.

As part of the campaign, Walker & Dunlop will highlight the stories behind some of its most inspiring clients – going beyond the numbers to unlock what drives them. Therefore, it is no surprise that Walker & Dunlop is kicking off its campaign with commercial real estate leader and community visionary Egbert L. J. Perry. Egbert is the current chairman and CEO of The Integral Group, and he has held countless board positions with organizations such as Fannie Mae, the University of Pennsylvania, and Atlanta Business League. His mixed income community concept, first put into practice at Centennial Place Apartment Homes, has become a model for affordable housing across the country.

Egbert’s story begins at Centennial Place

Egbert Perry at his affordable housing community, Centennial Place

In 1994, Perry started The Integral Group and set out to redevelop the area now home to Centennial Place. The 60-acre property was located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, which was considered to be the most violent neighborhood in America’s most violent city.

The property initially featured Techwood Homes, the first public housing project in the United States, and Clark Howell Homes, another public housing project. At the time, downtown Atlanta had an average household income of about $4,300 a year and the highest concentration of public housing in the United States on a per capita basis.

“We entered into that space at the time when living in the city was not a desirable option,” said Perry.

Perry and Integral saw something different in the future Centennial Place: a prime location next to Georgia Tech and Coca-Cola, a high level of accessibility and livability, and a community poised to flourish.

The goal was to re-establish dignity in people’s lives, independent of their economic circumstances through environments where they can have nurturing, fulfilling, and healthy lives. Today Centennial Place is a vibrant, thriving community with a school, early child development center, health and wellness centers, and 728 residential units that are home to market rate renters, cost-burdened residents, and homeowners alike.

Catalyzing a nationwide movement

Centennial Place laid the foundation for a movement. “When people talk about mixed income housing these days, they mean holistic mixed income communities. Whether they know it or not, that idea originated with our development at Centennial Place,” Perry said.

To learn more about Egbert’s story and to stay up-to-date on future client stories, visit the What Drives You campaign webpage.

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