“Blighted is a powerful narrative about the decades-
long decay and remarkable two-year reinvention of Summerdale, an aging apartment community located in one of Atlanta’s grittiest corridors.”

About the Author

Dubbed “The Compassionate Capitalist” by the media, Marjy Stagmeier is an affordable housing solutionist and a champion of an affordable housing-education model successfully piloted within the nonprofit she founded, Atlanta-based Star-C Programs.

Over the course of her career, Stagmeier has purchased, renovated, and managed more than 3,000 legacy apartment units, for the past eight years as co-founder of Tristar, a nationally recognized real estate investment firm in Atlanta. Stagmeier led TriStar to develop its sustainable housing model that targets blighted and marginalized apartment communities near failing elementary schools.

Marjy Stagmeier

Purchase Book

The goal with Blighted, Star-C and, increasingly, with TriStar’s work, is to create an equitable housing-education movement, starting with and always improving upon the open-source model presented in this book.

case study

Madison Hills

Madison Hills Apartments is a 446-unit severely blighted class B apartment community in an affluent northern Atlanta neighborhood. When we purchased this apartment property, the community was in turmoil, with significant criminal activity and 180 units boarded-up due to black mold or fire damage.

Forest Cove Apartments

Forest Cove is, a 395 unit severely blighted class D apartment community in south east Atlanta. The property is significantly blighted, with drug dealers operating in plain sight. Of the 395-units available, 200 were occupied and 195-units were vacant and boarded up by order of the City of Atlanta Code Department. 



Former Mayor,
City of Atlanta

“Blighted tells the extraordinary tale of how change was made possible in the lives of families at the Summer-dale Apartments. Marjy Stagmeier saw a problem, created a plan, and had the courage to execute it. No more significant contribution has been made to reverse years of neglect and disinvestment in this blighted community. This book should inspire others to action. It offers a template for what we must do to realize the American dream for all.”

The Muhammad Ali Center

“Meet Marjy Stagmeier, a modern-day urban warrior who took on the most pervasive and devastating elements of urban decay in an inner-city apartment complex and
transformed it. Her book Blighted is a startling tour through the lives of economically and social dis-advantaged families, eking out existences in an impoverished,
substandard, drug-infested, crime-ridden Atlanta neighborhood. It documents how her innovative template for community building can become a lifeline to such forgotten
families and their communities. This is a story that needs to be told and retold—and which cities need to follow.”

Senior Vice-President (ret.),
Habitat for Humanity International

“In Blighted, Marjy Stagmeier, a successful Georgia developer, provides vision and a practical blueprint for how to invest successfully in decrepit, low-income housing. The book describes her own remarkable efforts in transforming an urban community of crime and despair into one where families could thrive, schools improve, and streets become safer for all. The book should sound a wake-up call to all those who previously thought rehabilitation of marginalized apartment communities was unachievable. Stagmeier reframes what is possible.”


Blighted Discussion Questions:

1. What was your experience reading Blighted? Were you surprised by what you read? Was there any character’s story that was emotionally upsetting for you to read?

2. What character do you most resonate with? Do you personally know any people with similar stories to those in Blighted?

3. Do you know of areas like the Cleveland Avenue neighborhood? What is your impression about low-income neighborhoods after reading Blighted?

Recent News


The Tenants at Summerdale

The Tenants at Summerdale

  James Wilkens was the first official tenant I met at Summerdale. We were racing to procure $9,600,000 in funding to close Summerdale, but in the meantime, the contract gave us 45 days to complete our physical inspections. If for any reason we didn’t like the...

The Inspection Process – Miguel

The Inspection Process – Miguel

“The Tenants at Summerdale” After saying goodbye to James, we went to inspect the neighboring unit. Mr. Hayes knocked on the door and screamed “Management”. Within seconds after the knock, Miguel Valdez answered the door and smiled at the group. He was expecting us....

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