Joel Dixon and Wole Oyenuga co-founded Urban Oasis Development in 2017, which partnered with the Atlanta Land Trust and Invest Atlanta to create permanently affordable single-family homes in Atlanta communities. Now, five years later, they are still building and refurbishing residential communities and have also grown into the commercial side of the business. EpiCity began partnering with them in 2018 through the company’s minority builder and developer initiative. EpiCity’s first project with Urban Oasis Development was The Porches of Adair Park, a nine-home single-family community.
“Tom Stokes and Jim LaVallee of EpiCity have been an enormous help on a variety of projects,” said Dixon. “Their mentorship, guidance, good advice, and working capital have attributed to our core, common goals of helping Atlanta become a better place.”
Dixon and Oyenuga met in college at Stanford when Oyenuga was in graduate school and Joel was an undergrad at the time. They were friends first and when they both ended up back in Atlanta, they became business partners. While they both have engineering backgrounds, they each have their own strengths that they bring to the business. Dixon’s expertise is in sales, community involvement, land acquisition side, and Oyenuga’s strength is in the real estate and construction side.
Over the last two years the company has seen a lot more focus on the socio and political climate, with minorities having more access to capital. This has opened up new avenues for Urban Oasis Development, which is focused on minimizing the negative effects of gentrification. Grove Park, Southwest Atlanta, Adair Park, English Avenue, and nearby areas have been the company’s concentration on creating inclusive and flourishing neighborhoods. With over 20 years of experience in the Atlanta market, Dixon and Oyenuga know the areas well.
Urban Oasis housing developments are for sale or rent, market-based, workforce and permanent affordable housing. Commercial real estate projects include live, work and play. Two current projects include mixed-use space, with one being an 8,000 SF building with ground floor access to a healthy grocer and food service provider, with offices, as well as two floors of residential housing.
“We are also working on a 100+ units that are mixed use spaces which will be for sale and for rent, with some being income restricted units,” said Dixon. “Our projects are truly diverse and inclusive, offering stability and a place for legacy residents. Home ownership is a big deal, and we are proud to help provide a pathway to create real wealth and affordable platforms.”
Oyenuga agrees. “Atlanta is moving forward and progressing at a rapid pace. The most rewarding part of what we do is the idea that we’re helping Atlanta become a better place, an urban oasis.”
According to Dixon, the company finds, builds and/or renovates, and designs the ‘right’ products and then partners with real estate brokerage companies which generate marketing focused on the development’s unique sense of community. “Having agents who are hyper local to that community, who also live there, is very important,” said Dixon.
Asked about the young developers, Tom Stokes says, “I’m proud and thankful to know them. Joel and Wole are good people and they are becoming great developers focused on providing quality product. With them leading the next generation of Atlanta development, I know our city is in good hands.”
Jim LaVallee was quick to say, “Joel and Wole are truly dedicated to Atlanta and the people who live here. I’m proud to know them. We are eager to help them improve our city.”
Future projects in the works are a development project in town involving single family housing, and also some commercial land acquisitions, in which EpiCity may play a part. One prime spot is along the Southside Atlanta BeltLine at 554 University Drive SW, with 2.5 acres under control or owned by Urban Oasis Development, with plans for housing and commercial retail. According to Oyenuga, the company has started to move into the multi-family side of the business, too, and will be leaning on EpiCity’s team for their knowledge in the industry.
“You have to be willing to create new models to fill the gaps and take a chance to be intentional and provide models for others to copy,” says Dixon. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done and we can’t do it all, but with partners like EpiCity, we can actively be a part of impacting people, helping them out of the circle of poverty and getting them into a better place.”
For more information about Urban Oasis Development, visit https://urbanoasisdevelopment.com/.