Atlantica Debuts Rapid Housing Community in Atlanta

Made of shipping containers, the residences are part of an effort to solve Atlanta's housing crisis.

The project delivered in under four months’ time. Image courtesy of Gregg Willett Photography

Atlantica Properties has welcomed the first residents to a multifamily community in downtown Atlanta made of shipping containers. The company started on The Melody in October and completed it in late January, with initial residents moving in earlier this month. The developer worked with the city, Partners for Home and The Beck Group, who led the project’s design and construction.

Reserved for those facing homelessness, The Melody offers 40 studio apartments built with a bedroom, kitchenette and an ADA-accessible bathroom. The community’s amenities include a communal garden, dog park and gathering places, as well as a custom module that has a kitchenette, offices and laundry facilities. The developer added biophilic elements to the units, while also painting the containers in earthy tones and placing synthetic turf over the site. Residents also get access to supportive services like mental health and substance abuse treatment, educational and employment opportunities, or assistance towards permanent housing.

The site had previously been used as a parking lot for city vehicles, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said during The Melody’s grand opening ceremony in late January. Instead of pursuing a traditional ground-up development on the lot, the project’s approach takes 20 shipping containers and converts them into 160-square-foot studio apartments. The process included using modular components to build the rapid housing, with half of the studios being repurposed shipping containers donated by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, and the other half being prefabricated units. This process cuts down on the project’s timeline thanks to the design and construction techniques. The process is not new and has been previously used for self-storage facilities and student housing communities.

500 rapid housing units by 2025

The Melody represents the first phase of the city’s Rapid Housing Initiative that is aimed at quickly delivering housing for those facing homelessness. The initiative began in August 2023 following an executive order from the mayor, with $4 million allocated to start the process. While The Melody kicked off the efforts, the long-term goal for the site will be to develop it into permanent mixed-income housing. Besides The Melody, the city already has been looking into other similar opportunities, like several decommissioned hospitals that were donated by the Georgia state government that can be converted into housing.

Dickens, speaking during the grand opening ceremony, said that the city is committed to developing 500 units of similar rapid housing units on public land by the end of 2025. The city government is already working on identifying additional sites to deliver similar quick-delivery units.

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