Atlanta, Middle Ga. contestants win Miss Georgia Friday preliminaries

Two teens representing Atlanta and two women from Middle Georgia won the final preliminary awards for this year’s Miss Georgia and Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen competitions Friday.

Miss Greater Atlanta’s Outstanding Teen Mary Wilhemina Hodges took home her second award of the week, adding Friday’s preliminary talent to the preliminary evening gown and on-stage question award she won Wednesday. Hodges, a 14-year-old from Louisville, performed a high-energy tap dance routine to a remix of the classic song “Boogie Shoes.” Hodges’ feet moved seemingly a mile a minute as she executed graceful spins and poured personality through her facial expression.

MORE | Miss Georgia 2019: How to watch, what you need to know

Miss Atlanta’s Outstanding Teen Rebecca Zhang took home the preliminary on-stage question and evening gown award. Zhang, a 14-year-old from Johns Creek, sauntered across the stage in a black velvet gown with a bejeweled cheetah-print top and a regal updo before lightheartedly answering a question from the judges. Asked what she was most appreciative of after extensive international travel, Zhang said she was grateful for America’s high-quality toilets. Zhang said she regularly visits China where the bathroom situation is much more dicey, and she is always grateful for a “luxurious American toilet” upon her return.

In the Miss Georgia competition, Miss Warner Robins Kelsey Hollis won the preliminary talent award. Hollis, a Warner Robins native who won Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen in 2017, sang Whitney Houston’s “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength,” showing off a rich voice with incredible control during both runs and belting.

Miss Troup County Lyndsay Richardson won the preliminary on-stage question award. Richardson, of Bonaire, discussed her senior thesis, which connected musical education and success in other scholastic categories. Richardson, now a teacher herself, uses music as a tool in subjects like English and social studies to help students succeed.

The scores each contestant received in the three days of preliminary competition will determine who makes it into the top 12 and competes on Saturday night in the finals. You can watch the final night of Miss Georgia and Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen competition at 7 p.m. Saturday by visiting wrbl.com/watch-live.

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Southwest Airlines Sale: See Atlanta’s Best Fares

Southwest Airlines has launched a three-day sale. Here are the best fares. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

ATLANTA, GA –Southwest Airlines has launched a three-day sale and Georgia travelers can fly out of Atlanta for pennies on the dollar. The fall fare sale, posted around 6 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, features flights nationwide.

One-way tickets out of many airports could be had for as little as $49 or $79, while many round-trip tickets could be had for $98.
Here are the deals out of Atlanta:

As with all Southwest Airlines three-day sales, make sure you read the fine-print. First and foremost, you have to book your flight by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Thursday. The tickets are not refundable, so be sure they’re what you want. Certain seats and dates will not be available, including Labor Day weekend and the Thanksgiving holiday.

And you should probably prepare to fly during the week — Fridays and Sundays are mostly unavailable.

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Moreover, travel within the continental U.S. is valid only from Aug. 20 through Dec. 5, 2019, and international travel is valid Aug. 20 through Dec. 11. Separate dates apply for flights to places like Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

The sale is meant to fill empty seats during slower travel periods, according to USA Today. The airline has a second large sale in early October.

Patch national staffer Dan Hampton contributed to this report

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Equity Prime Mortgage Named One of “Atlanta’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For”

ATLANTA, May 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Equity Prime Mortgage (EPM) is honored to be named one of "Atlanta’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For" in 2019. Each year the National Association of Business Resources, recognizes companies in the Atlanta area for their commitment to employee enrichment and human resource practices. The winners are selected based off of an independent evaluation that takes into account factors such as compensation, benefits, employee enrichment, diversity and inclusion, community initiatives, and multiple other factors.

"We are honored to recognize the efforts of this year’s ‘Best and Brightest’ companies. These companies have created impressive organizational value and business results through their policies and best practices in human resource management. This award has become a designation sought after by hundreds of Metro Atlanta companies and is a powerful recruitment tool in the drive to attract and retain exceptional employees," said Jennifer Kluge, President and CEO, Best and Brightest Programs.

According to EPM Director of HR Hilary Passo, the credit for the award is due to the amazing team members at EPM: "Thank you, NABR, for this incredible recognition. As a company, we strive to always look for creative solutions and new opportunities within our community. We reach this goal through continuous efforts to attract top talent, create a diverse workplace, challenge the status quo, and recognize the growth of the individual. This achievement would not be possible without the dedicated and hardworking employees here at Equity Prime. We are proud to be a part of the diverse and ever-evolving city of Atlanta."

Beginnings

Founded at the height of the mortgage crisis in 2008, Equity Prime Mortgage has grown to become one of the leading mortgage lenders in the U.S., operating 18 office locations across the nation. The mission of Equity Prime is to provide a "unique road map" for clients that will strengthen their Mortgage origination platform while working through our customized, "boutique service offering".

Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Equity Prime Mortgage provides an array of lending resources such as Conventional, FHA, VA, 203K, Reverse and USDA loans as well as a trusted Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & Ginnie Mae Seller/Servicer.

With a dedicated staff of highly experienced professionals, Equity Prime provides exceptional pricing for thousands of clients annually, without compromising follow through and customer service. For more information about Equity Prime visit us online at Equityprime.com or call us toll-free at (877) 255-3554.

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Crews battling blaze at Atlanta apartment complex; possible entrapment

Fire in SE Atlanta (Atlanta Fire Rescue)

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) Atlanta Fire Rescue crews are on the scene of a fire at an apartment complex in southeast Atlanta.

The fire is at the Forest Cove Apartments on Newtown Circle.

Not many details are known but Atlanta Fire Rescue tweeted that there is a possible entrapment.

CBS46 is working to gather additional information and will provide updates as new details are learned.

690 Newtown Cir SE, Working apartment fire. Possible entrapment. 2nd alarm requested. pic.twitter.com/j0mCF8faef

— Atlanta Fire Rescue (@ATLFireRescue) May 9, 2019

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As high-end apartments move forward, Clayton County residents fret gentrification

The Clayton County Courthouse.

It seems like only yesterday that some Clayton County residents were worried that welcoming MARTA would bring crime to the southside suburbs.

Now, nearly five years after county voters elected to link Atlanta’s mass transit network to the metro county, crime rates have not spiked, but citizens appear to be facing a very different concern: that of gentrification.

“When Starbucks began building a new location on Tara Boulevard, the die was cast,” as a report from Clayton News-Daily puts it.

Last week, Clayton County’s Board of Commissioners approved rezoning for two large high-end apartment projects, according to the publication.

The site of one of the proposed apartment complexes, where the circa-1970s Legacy on Tara was condemned in 2009.

The third smallest Georgia county by area, Clayton is largely perceived as being affordable for working-class people.

But the apartment projects proposed for Tara Boulevard and Mount Zion Circle have some residents worried about being priced out of their homes.

The Tara Boulevard residential complex would be comprised of market-rate apartments—think $1,000 for a one-bedroom—and would not include any federal Housing and Urban Development subsidized units.

The development on Mount Zion Circle would also offer for-sale townhomes, and both complexes would feature stone and brick facades, according to the publication.

The dollar stores dotting Clayton County and surrounding areas, which some residents contend is too many.

County Commissioner Sonna Singleton Gregory told Clayton News-Daily that bringing in market-rate-paying residents would be a boon for the economy in the area, which is currently dotted with more than a few dollar stores. So many, in fact, that residents of all stripes often gripe that there are too many.

Officials also said the incoming residential projects could provide a good opportunity for transit-oriented development.

Back in December, MARTA’s board of directors approved a plan to bring a new rail line and a bus rapid transit system to the county.

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Development tidbits: What’s happening (and isn’t) around intown Atlanta right now

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East Atlanta: Check Out 5 Local Homes For Sale

(Realtor)

EAST ATLANTA, GA — Looking for a new home nearby, but tired of looking through the same old real-estate listings again and again? Not to fear! To help simplify your search, we’ve compiled an up-to-date batch of new listings nearby.

Here’s a list of the five newest homes to hit the housing market in the East Atlanta area — including one in the Atlanta area with 5 beds and 6 baths for $569,900, and another in the Atlanta area with 3 beds and 1 bath for $319,000.

Want more pics and details? Just click on any address to learn more. Happy house hunting!

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Price: $319,000
Size: 960 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 1 bath

Price: $569,900
Size: 1,185 sq. ft, 5 beds, and 6 baths

Price: $569,900
Size: 1,185 sq. ft., 5 beds, and 6 baths

Price: $385,000
Size: 4 beds, and 4 baths

Price: $250,000
Size: 825 sq. ft., 2 beds, and 1 bath

Still want to see more options? Keep scrolling for more listings. Or check out Patch’s East Atlanta area real-estate section for a full list of nearby homes.

Photos courtesy of Realtor.com

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Atlanta’s home prices are soaring. Can a new model keep some affordable forever?

In 2011, Fayette County resident Jenelle Harris wanted to buy a home closer to her job as an Atlanta Public Schools teacher, but she didn’t make enough money to buy in the quickly gentrifying east side of Atlanta. Then, she heard about a new program through the Atlanta Land Trust that would let her purchase a unit in the Lofts at Reynoldstown Crossing—right where the fledgling BeltLine would eventually hit Memorial Drive—that was perfect: affordable, walkable, less of a commute. And it had another benefit that interested her: Years later, after the BeltLine’s arrival to the neighborhood would make prices skyrocket like never seen before, the home would stay affordable, not only for 10 years or 20 years, but forever.

The Lofts at Reynoldstown Crossing (Credit: hud.org)

For years, Atlanta has been losing more affordable units than it can produce. A growing market continues to push property values up, pricing out renters and homebuyers. Between 2010 and 2014, the city lost more than 5,000 units, or 17%, rented at $750 or below. Recently, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced a plan to create or preserve 20,000 affordable units in eight years; more than half of that number aims to simply make up for ones Atlanta is losing.

Part of the problem is the way affordable housing is usually funded: Grants and programs—like the federal low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) or project-based rental assistance (PBRA)—that most often fund affordable developments come with contracts that expire. In Fulton alone, the subsidies for more than 11,000 units are set to expire in the next 10 years, according to an Atlanta Regional Commission analysis. While owners could re-up those contracts, it’s less likely that they’ll do so in a hot housing market like Atlanta.

This problem is what makes community land trusts a unique solution to affordable housing needs. With the Atlanta Land Trust (ALT), the city’s only community land trust dedicated to housing, affordability is permanent; there’s no subsidy that expires. “If we’re going to make a strategic investment in affordable housing, we need to make sure that it’s done in a way that it will be sustainable, so that in 20 years, we’re not going to be faced with the same problem that we are today,” says ALT executive director Amanda Rhein. (Another Atlanta community land trust, the Lake Claire Land Trust—the place with the emu and drum circles—was founded in 1983 and preserves greenspace in the east side neighborhood.)

The way it works: A nonprofit like the ALT owns the land that the home stands on, but an ALT resident like Harris owns the home. The ALT structures the value appreciation of the home to keep the price down—meaning that, when Harris eventually decides to sell, the loft won’t be the half-million-dollar price of other nearby lofts; she’ll get some increase in its value, but ALT will manage the resale process so that the home is affordable to another homebuyer, someone who might not otherwise be able to live there. The ALT will also provide resources to Harris if she has trouble paying a mortgage or needs help with home repair; community land trusts nationally have low rates of foreclosures. “It allows you to have the stability of homeownership—both financial and actual physical stability,” Rhein says. “You’re not going to have to move. You’re not going to get evicted. Your mortgage payment is predictable.”

Rhein says the process is structured so that ALT residents “can earn some equity on your home—not as much as you would if you own the land, but you’re able to earn some equity which can then be used as a down payment on a market-rate home.” In hard numbers: Another ALT resident bought their home in 2012 for $150,000, Rhein says; the appraised value of their unit today is $400,000. The resident, who’s reselling, will get to participate in 25 percent of the appreciation—$62,500—and ALT will aim to keep the resale value below $150,000. The resale “worked exactly as we intended it to,” Rhein says. “Because no low-income person can afford to live in that building today at $400,000.”

Rhein joined the Atlanta Land Trust last August, after running MARTA’s transit-oriented development arm and spending a decade at Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development entity. “I always did feel that a lot of the programs that I’ve worked on, we were making these big investments, but we weren’t putting the controls in place to ensure that people were able to stay there long term,” she says. “The unintended consequence was that there was sometimes displacement. People just couldn’t afford to live there anymore.”

ALT is focusing on creating homeownership opportunities along the BeltLine, particularly in the south and west sides. But can the land trust scale the model enough to truly make a difference?

Reenergized after hiring Rhein, ALT is just ramping up: The only homes currently online are three units at the Lofts at Reynoldstown, created through a partnership with the Atlanta BeltLine, but dozens of other homes are in the pipeline. In Oakland City, ALT will oversee 23 townhomes and condos on Tucker Avenue through a partnership with Enterprise Community Partners. With the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, the land trust will gain eight new or renovated homes in Pittsburgh to its roster. Last month, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation announced it would renovate two homes in Washington Park and Mozley Park; ALT will own the land for both. New nonprofit Swope Dreams will partner with ALT for another home in Pittsburgh. “This neighborhood is poised for a lot of change,” says Swope Dreams president Zack Mellette. They partnered with ALT “to create pathways to homeownership for the people who might get priced out in that change.”

The Atlanta Land Trust will oversee a historic home that Georgia Trust is renovating in Washington Park. (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Those partnerships are essential for a small nonprofit like ALT, Rhein says. “Because the community land trust mode—and certainly the Atlanta Land Trust—is still unfamiliar in Atlanta, it’s important that we had established these early wins to kind of prove the model and demonstrate that, as an organization, we have the capacity to actually do this work.”

Over the next 10 years, Rhein wants ALT to oversee 1,000 units. But the challenges of acquiring property along the BeltLine—where values skyrocket in a matter of weeks and private developers come in with all-cash offers—require significant funds to act fast. She’s focused on fundraising and creating other streams of income. The land trust homes come with small stewardship fees, and a portion of the home value at closing goes to help pay administrative costs, but Rhein is looking toward other methods—potential developer fees, rental income—to make the model sustainable.

For the south and west neighborhoods along the Atlanta BeltLine, where the 2008 recession—and predatory loans—disproportionately impacted black residents, education about the land trust model is important, but so is building trust. In the U.S., the community land trust arose out of the Civil Rights movement; in 1970, a group of activists purchased tracts of land in Albany, Georgia, to create black-owned agricultural cooperatives and economic power in the South. At one time, the land trust, New Communities Inc., was the largest amount of land owned by black people in the country.

For many of ALT’s new projects, Rhein says it’s paramount to incorporate what the surrounding community wants to see (in Oakland City, ALT originally thought to build single-family homes but switched to townhomes and condos after hearing that residents wanted more density) and walk potential homebuyers through the entire process. Creating trust is also important when it comes to the tricky resale process, where ALT has to ensure that “when somebody sells their home, there is some equity that they can realize, but that there’s not so much equity that we’re having to come back in and reinvest in it so that it’s affordable for the next buyer.”

Rhein emphasizes that ALT isn’t the perfect solution for everyone in need of affordable housing. For example, the model doesn’t necessarily work financially for the most vulnerable, who might make less than 50 percent of the area median income (less than $37,000 for a family of four). “We’re a great solution for people who are interested in homeownership, who need to transition from being a renter to being a homeowner, because we really see ourselves as kind of a stepping stone between the two,” she says, noting that 70 percent of community land trust homeowners then move on to buy a market-rate home. “We’re certainly not going to solve the affordable housing problem on our own.”

Harris knows that she won’t be able to capitalize on the full value of her Reynoldstown home when it comes time to sell, but she still feels like the trade-off is worth it, since she wouldn’t have been able to afford a home in the area otherwise. “I feel like I’m contributing to leveling the playing field a little bit.”

Harris still wonders whether ALT can scale enough to really impact the Atlanta community, but she’s optimistic. For her, the home she and her father live in has already given her something she didn’t think was possible anymore: Her father grew up a few minutes away from where her home sits. “Now, people can have the option to live in the communities they grew up in.”

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For fleeing Californias, Atlanta is a top destination

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The silhouettes of pedestrians stand in front of Victorian homes and the downtown skyline in San Francisco, where the median home price is more than twice that of Atlanta. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

Here’s how Atlanta got on a footloose Californians’ radar: low housing prices, lots of hiring and warm weather most of the year.

Metro Atlanta is the eighth most-sought destination for those in the Golden State thinking of leaving and looking into the home markets across the country for alternatives.

“The combination of strong job growth in Atlanta and a more favorable housing market for buyers and renters create a gravitation pull towards Atlanta,” said Cheryl Young, senior economist for Trulia, the online real estate company that collected the data. Atlanta “is simply an appealing place to live for those leaving expensive California markets.”

Among the top ten destinations for Californians, as measured by Trulia, there’s a bias for proximity: Five are in the West, two of them in the Southwest.

The only cold weather cites under scrutiny are New York and Chicago.

From the Atlanta perspective, those places are expensive. Atlanta’s median home price – $249,000 – is less than Chicago’s and looks very cheap indeed compared to the $439,990 median in metro New York.

But from out on the coast, the northeast may look like a steal: San Francisco’s median home listing is $750,000 and the median in Los Angeles is $650,000.

But it’s when they gaze toward Atlanta that they see the bargain basement of big cities, according to Trulia.

Atlanta’s median home price is 62 percent cheaper than Los Angles, 64 percent below San Diego and 67 percent cheaper than San Francisco.

(And don’t even ask about San Jose, the heart of the Silicon Valley).

Atlanta-area home prices may be rising, but that won’t look like a problem to someone with cash from selling a California home, Young said. “Buyers looking in Atlanta from California saw a massive savings.”

But owning even a lower-priced home typically requires some income. And the jobs picture has been pretty bright in metro Atlanta.

California, of course, is a much bigger economy with about 17.1 million jobs, compared to 4.5 million jobs in Georgia and 2.8 million jobs in metro Atlanta. But the pace of growth has been brisker here, even as the region grows more enmeshed in the global economy.

In the past five years, the number of jobs in the metro Atlanta economy has surged by 14.8 percent. California has also grown, but not as rapidly: a 13.4 percent expansion.

A migrant from the coast may also not need to surrender all that much in pay – which means having a lot more purchasing power in a state where basic services and goods are cheaper. And among the top 10 metros researched from California, Atlanta’s home prices are lowest.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the average hourly earnings in California is $30.36, and at $29.27 an hour, Atlanta isn’t so far behind.

Still, talk about California emptying out is a bit off-base, according to Trulia: There may be many people fleeing the coast, but thousands of people around the country are looking to reverse that.

There is no trend toward abandoning California, Young said.

Median home price, top destination for Californians

Las Vegas – $260,000

New York – $439,990

Phoenix – $279,000

Dallas – $312,900

Seattle – $414,950

Portland, OR – $395,000

Atlanta – $249,000

Houston – $289,900

Chicago – $259,800

Denver – $437,500

Source: Trulia

Percent of California searches, by city

Las Vegas – 8.1 percent

New York – 7.3 percent

Phoenix – 7 percent

Dallas – 5.5 percent

Seattle – 5.1 percent

Portland, OR – 3.2 percent

Atlanta – 3.2 percent

Houston – 3 percent

Chicago – 2.9 percent

Denver – 2.7 percent

Source: Trulia

Job growth, 2013-2018

Metro Atlanta: 14.8 percent

California: 13.4 percent

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, staff research

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17-story downtown Atlanta apartment tower construction to start soon – Atlanta Business Chronicle

New apartment development is revving up in downtown Atlanta, with the latest proposal bringing a one-of-a-kind design to the city.

Kaplan Residential, which has an Atlanta office, is soon to break ground on an $86 million apartment tower at 377 Centennial Olympic Park Drive.

The 336-unit project would sit near Centennial Olympic Park, where several tourist attractions are now being revamped including Philips Arena and Georgia Aquarium. The apartment tower would rise 17 stories on a 1.5-acre site that’s catty-corner to the Center for Civil and Human Rights.

“We feel like the job story downtown is the most compelling in the city — 140,000 jobs and virtually no new Class-A apartments in the submarket,” said Nathan Kaplan, partner at Kaplan Residential. “We feel like downtown is a greatly under-supplied market.”

The apartment tower will be a first for Atlanta, as it’s being built with a prefab building material called Prescient. The product cuts high-rise construction costs by 20 to 25 percent, compared to using concrete.

It will help Kaplan achieve rental rates around $2.10 to $2.15 per square foot, a discount to typical high-rise apartments in Atlanta.

That’s critical for the downtown market, where average rental rates are at $1.66 per square foot, according to real estate analyst Haddow & Co. In comparison, both Midtown and Buckhead are seeing rental rates near $2 per square foot.

“We feel like we have a game-changer for downtown and also for the city,” Kaplan said.

The project will be called “Generation,” a brand Kaplan Residential hopes to further expand in Atlanta. The downtown project could begin delivering units in second-quarter 2020.

Niles Bolton Associates is the architect. CBG Building Co., which specializes in Prescient construction, is the general contractor.

Kaplan Residential had first unveiled its plans for downtown in 2016.

“We know that those involved in this project have worked very hard to advance it to this important beginning,” said A.J. Robinson, president of Central Atlanta Progress. “It’s a significant addition to the Centennial Park District and will fit in nicely there. We are always excited about new housing options coming to downtown.”

For the past several years, developers have concentrated most new Atlanta apartment projects in dense urban areas such as Midtown or Buckhead or neighborhoods including the Old Fourth Ward where people can live and work next to the Beltline. The areas are typically in walking distance of transit and near amenities such as shops or restaurants.

Now, new apartment development is ramping up downtown.

In the last 12 months, 238 units have delivered, according to Haddow & Co. Currently, 833 units are under construction in downtown, with another 1,325 units in the pipeline.

Recent projects downtown include the $96 million Post Centennial Park, a project that was the first significant delivery of new apartments in the city’s central business district in at least 10 years.

Developers are buying into downtown’s potential to generate apartment demand, as Georgia State University enrollment grows and more students want to live in the city after graduation. Land in other parts of intown Atlanta is also becoming more expensive, potentially making downtown a more affordable option for apartment developers in dense urban settings.

Plus, tons of new investment has come downtown, from the major renovation of Philips Arena to a $100 million expansion at the Georgia Aquarium. A massive entertainment district is planned for “The Gulch,” and German real estate company Newport US RE has acquired dozens of historic buildings in south downtown for a sweeping redevelopment.

“Downtown continues to become a more appealing market,” Kaplan said. “We are excited. When you are heading south on the highway toward the airport, you will see the Generation building. I think it will change the downtown skyline.”

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Property Details for 112 Kiram Ter SW

112 Kiram Ter Sw, Atlanta, GA 30331
112 Kiram Ter Sw, Atlanta, GA 30331
Property Features
Upper Bedrooms: 3
Baths Full: 3
Dining Room Desc: Dining/Great Rm112 Kiram Ter Sw, Atlanta, GA 30331
112 Kiram Ter Sw, Atlanta, GA 30331
Property Features
Bedrooms Upper: 3
Baths Full Upper: 3
Lot Description: Valley View

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