Talk of the Town - East Lake's backside March 13 2002

East Lake Terrace improving its image

When Jim Whooley decided to buy a house, he wanted a place with quick access to Atlanta proper, downtown Decatur and the highway. His search ended in dismay, until he stumbled upon a diamond in the rough — East Lake Terrace on the southside of the East Lake community.

Located south of Glenwood Avenue and directly off Candler Road, East Lake Terrace is a well-kept secret. Its houses, built in the 1940s, have mostly one to two bedrooms and range in price from $130,000 to $220,000. Although the houses are old, they offer a lot of room for renovation.

"This area gives me plenty of house with a large enough lot to expand if I wish later," says Whooley.

But the houses are not the only objects being renovated in East Lake Terrace. The entire neighborhood is in the beginning stages of a face-lift. Sitting south of the newly built Villages of East Lake and the historic East Lake Golf Club, East Lake Terrace is the last area in the community to develop itself as a lively, newly built and well-developed 'hood. A new Publix down the street and an influx of new condominiums and restaurants are helping East Lake Terrace achieve recognition.

"That Publix is fabulous. It's brought a livelihood to the area. And with new developments, the backside of East Lake is beginning to catch up with East Lake's new prices," says real estate agent Mitch Grooms.

Many East Lake Terrace residents, however, have not yet witnessed the vitality of renovation that swept through the north side of East Lake.

"When we first moved here, it was real nice, but now I can't say that. Our community needs to be cleaned out and they are starting to fix up the houses slowly," says Almeta Jones, who has lived in East Lake Terrace since 1968.

Although East Lake Terrace has been known for dangerous streets and unkempt properties, a surge of new residents who care about the neighborhood have begun to erase its bad image.

"This area is not out of people's reach who want to be close to downtown, but at the same time the neighborhood still needs a little love put into it and a little care," says Joanie Ferguson, who moved to East Lake Terrace because she saw its potential to transform into a wonderfully close-knit neighborhood.

Perhaps after its transformation, East Lake Terrace might wipe its negative reputation clean and move to the head of the pack.??