T.I. buying property in Atlanta’s Bankhead area, building affordable housing

The "Live Your Life" rapper/actor says construction on the development should be finished by 2022.

T.I. wears his pride in being a native Atlantan on his sleeve. Over the last few years, he prepared to rebuild his community by purchasing land in the blighted Center Hill neighborhood where he grew up. The Grammy-winning rapper now intends to build affordable housing in that area, as reported by Madame Noire.

In 2019, T.I., born Clifford Harris, bought property near Atlanta’s Bankhead Highway. He then sold it to Vecino Group, a developer based in Missouri, and now they’re collaborating on the construction of affordable housing units on the land. Harris detailed the plans in a video posted to his Instagram account on Oct. 26.

“Checking up on my development in Bankhead, man. Right here used to be the old Kmart Giant Food,” Harris said. “We’ve got affordable housing, 143 units going up. Mixed-use community, you dig? We about 40 percent done. We supposed to be done sometime next year. Since everybody’s somewhat from here, let’s see what you done did for here, ya dig? This is our first project that’s a development—proud of it.”

The development is part of the Buy Back The Block initiative Harris started in 2017 in tandem with Atlanta’s APD-Urban Planning and Management and Dynasty Real Estate Development.

Harris explains that he didn’t want to own property that would be occupied by the rich, forcing neighborhood residents out. “I wanted to provide development that would allow people from the area, who love the community, to be able to afford to stay,” Harris told Inc Magazine in 2018.

Harris says that he wants to give Center Hill residents the opportunity to become homeowners and provide the platform for them to do so.

“The cornerstone of wealth is homeownership,” Harris continued. “It does something for the psyche of a person to know that all of the work they do comes back to this.” 

T.I. thegrio.com
(Credit: Getty Images)

The proposed housing units are not Harris’ only real estate endeavor in his hometown.

In 2018, he founded Atlanta’s Trap Music Museum along with business associate William “Bem” Sparks. The museum chronicles the history of trap hip-hop music popularized by Harris and other artists such as Gucci Mane, Rick Ross and 2 Chainz.

Sparks said that they turned down opportunities to go to other cities, but did oversee a pop-up version of the museum in Miami’s Overtown community because of its similarities to Atlanta. Sparks told Okayplayer, “the best way for us to represent what we’re trying to bring to the community is to be involved in the community and be a part of the community.”

Harris and fellow Atlanta-based rapper Michael “Killer Mike” Render purchased property together on Atlanta’s west side. In the midst of the racial protests last summer, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms pleaded with citizens not to loot and riot or they would end up destroying property that the rappers owned, as reported by GPB News.

“You’re not protesting anything running out with brown liquor in your hands, breaking windows in this city,” Bottoms said. “T.I. and Killer Mike own half the west side so when you burn down this city, you’re burning down our community.”

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