Ahmad Cheers remembers the day a few years back when he knew his neighborhood was in the throes of change. He noticed a group of bikers, mostly white, riding though the northern tip of Pittsburgh, Atlanta, well after dark. In some other parts of the city that may not have been remarkable, but here it took him aback. “It just really surprised me,” said Cheers, 28. “When I came to Atlanta in 2008, to be honest you couldn’t really pay white people to come over here.” Named for its resemblance to the steel-milling, hardscrabble Pennsylvania city in the north, Pittsburgh has long been a predominantly black (upwards of 95%, according to the 2010 census) and working-class section of southern in-city Atlanta. Today the neighborhood, which was ravaged by the 2008 mortgage crisis, when it saw vacancy rates of up to 50%, is in the midst of an economic turnaround. Bright-yellow advertisements announcing “We buy houses” hang on nearly every utility pole and tree, posted by home flippers looking to make a quick buck as prices swell. Pittsburgh local Sohna Harzeez recalls a home down the street from her that was recently sold and painted, then relisted for $100,000 more than… Read full this story
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