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Heritage Village @ West Lake site occupies a significant place in Atlanta’s history


Atlanta developer Walter H. "Chief" Aiken opened the Waluhaje Hotel Apartment building on West Lake Avenue in northwest Atlanta in 1951, serving Atlanta’s development post-war Westside.

Located in Atlanta’s West Lake Community, Waluhaje Apartments was a multi-purpose development that included apartment residences, hotel rooms, and entertainment facilities. The complex gained notoriety for its ballroom which hosted many of the top jazz performers of the era.

Duke Ellington in Waluhaje Apartments, circa 1950. Builder Walter Aiken (far left) named the Waluhaje by taking the first two letters of his name, and those of his wife, Lucy, and her siblings Hazel (far right) and Jefferson (not pictured). Ann Rucker is pictured second from right. Unidentified photographer, Atlanta, circa 1950. Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center. Long, Rucker, and Aiken Family Photographs and Lithographs.

The Waluhaje hosted performing artists, such as Duke Ellington, Ray Charles, and others who could not secure lodging in Atlanta’s segregated hotels. The Waluhaje was featured in the famous Green Book travel guides published in the 1930s through the 1960s, listing establishments where Black travelers were welcome.

(left) Aiken, Walter H., American, 1893 - 1965 source: Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Margaret Falkener DeLorme, Waldo C. Falkener, Cameron S. Falkener and Gilbert E. DeLorme

Walter Henry "Chief" Aiken was an American football coach, college athletics administrator, and real estate developer. He served as the head football coach at both Atlanta University and Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia, which later merged to form Clark Atlanta University. After assisting head football coach Tubby Johnson at Fisk University in 1929, Aiken was hired at the athletic director at Clark in 1930 to succeed Sam B. Taylor.

After Aikens sold the property in 1967, Job Corps moved in 1969 and began providing residential educational and vocational training at the site until closing in 2017.

Mr. Aiken's estate, nearby on Simpson Road, was also known as Waluhaje. Upon the death of Mrs. Aiken in 1992, the house was willed to Clark Atlanta University, for use as their Alumni Conference Center.

New Development Plans for Heritage Village

An oasis nestled in a once rich and vibrant community, the redevelopment and preservation of this gem will be the catalyst for economic and community development that this Westside community needs and deserves. Heritage Village @ West Lake allows community rebuilding to start with the most vulnerable, hard to reach and lower-income populations.

Heritage Village at West Lake site is a full rehabilitation site with 5 story's, multi-family residency located at 239 West Lake Avenue, Northwest, Fulton County, Georgia 30314.  The building contains 102 units consisting of one (1) bedrooms and a total of 61,380 square feet. 

Quest strives to promote integrated access to resources in its communities regardless of ability status. All services and resources will be offered to all residents.  Finally, the development team has envisioned this site as a multi-phase and multi-use community. The future uses that we foresee will encourage residents from the larger West Lake neighborhood to partake in the events and resources that we will be offering.

The Quest and Columbia Residential development team seeks to respect and honor the history of the site. The main building of the site currently houses 150 SRO units over four floors. We propose consolidating many of the spaces to provide 123 units. Quest will continue to focus on providing stable and affordable housing, with services, to vulnerable populations.

Quest will be partnering with CHRIS180 and set aside 24 units that will provide permanent supportive housing to single 18 – 24 year old men and women who are aging out of the foster care system. We will support their growth and stability by providing job and life skill training on site, as well as entrepreneurial incubator space. 


Property Details

239 West Lake Avenue NW

Preservation . Health + Supportive Services

Financial + Workforce Development .102 Units


Westside Future Fund

Enterprise Community Partners

Corporation for Supportive Housing

Atlanta Emerging Markets

Office of Planning and Budget

Partners for HOME

Annie E. Casey Foundation

Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta

Atlanta Housing

Capital Impact Partners

Home Depot Foundation

Truist Bank

City of Atlanta

Invest Atlanta


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Jun 08
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Excited to see this coming together. Such a jewel in the community!

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