Morningside Strip Center on 11Alive

ATLANTA — An Atlanta bar with decades of history – in a building continuously owned by the same family for many more – is getting the boot as the historic building goes up for sale. Smith’s Olde Bar sits at the apex of Piedmont and Monroe in building familiar to locals for 90 years. But now, the future of the bar – and the building – is unknown.

“It could be residential, it could be office – it’s a very cool old building,” Tim Holdroyd of City Realty Advisors said. He’s in charge of the sale of the building. “This building was built before Morningside was in the city of Atlanta,” he said. And there’s already plenty of suitors for this old charming building. “There is so much interest in the property that we decided to have a call for offers. Everybody can offer in the same format at the same time.” And that call for action takes place August 27. So what does that mean for the Smith’s Olde Bar which has been at the location since 1993?

They have filed suit against the trust after receiving a 60 day notice to vacate. Bar ownership e-mailed 11Alive Wednesday night with no comment because of litigation. Conceivably, they could cut a deal with the new owner.

The property’s current owner – Beverly Anne Taylor – died in March at the age of 97. She danced with Clark Gable at the Gone with the Wind Ball in 1939, was Georgia’s first female jury foreman and grew up in a house where the ‘Disco Kroger’ now sits. Her father helped create modern Atlanta: Albert Bailey built many of the homes in Morningside and, in 1925, purchased land and built Atlanta’s first shopping center.

He was also a Mason and needed a place for his Mason buddies to meet – thus the hall up to with the insignia. “That’s right, my grandfather built the upstairs to be the Masonic Lodge and charged them $25 a month,” Ray Taylor, Beverly Anne’s son, said. Every brick reminds him of his mother. “We honored that commitment into the 50s and 60s and at some point my mother was riding down Piedmont Road and she saw a sign that said new Masonic Lodge: Multi-million Dollar Facility,” he said. “She called them and said, ‘You had your last $25 meeting,’ and they were gone. Many have up and gone in 90 years – Piggly Wiggly, Rodes Bakery and now the antique store of Judy Holloway. “I just hope whatever comes next is as successful as we have been,” she said.

2520 Peachtree Street High Rise Condo

Jarel Portman & team gain unanimous approval for 2520 Peachtree Condo


As the Buckhead view notes, “The small room at the Cathedral of St. Philip Tuesday night was jammed—standing room only—with almost everyone attending the NPU-B Zoning Committee meeting there to hear the presentation by JPX Works.” Jessica Hill did a bang up job with the presentation, walking through each aspect of the proposal and the specific aspects that JPX was asking the NPU Board to approve. The proposal passed unanimously without even objection from the residents, the first time that’s happened in 11 years (according to one of the board member we talked to afterwards).

Christian Bailey, co-founder of ODA Architecture, likened the condos to “villas in the sky” and the building as a whole to an “urban lantern,” reminding us of the BeltLine Lantern Parade that has such a symbol of Atlanta urban life.

The key to the success of the meeting was Jarel Portman and his team’s dedication to listening to the needs of the residents and adapting the plans in response. Jessica Hill’s quote sums it up well: “As the unanimous vote in favor of this project reflects, we think this is exactly what our great city needs.”

City Realty has been involved with this project from day 1, envisioning an assemblage of the existing 47-condo units 9 years ago in 2006. The 2520 Condominium Board hired Alan Joel, Jeff Vantosh and me to see if they could assemble all of the units and sell them as one parcel to a developer. Over a period of two years, we successfully completed the job and subsequently entered into a contract to collapse the condominium and sell the whole 80,000 SF site. The purchaser at the time rezoned the property to RG4. However in 2008, just prior to closing, the entire US housing market collapsed and the project fell through.

In the fall of 2013, I decided it was time to revive the effort, and I introduced the idea of a potential buy out to the condo association at their annual meeting in December of that year. Over the next three months, with the help of JPX and Campbell & Brannon, a Buckhead closing firm, we worked with each individual unit owner, one at a time, to enter contracts. The last signature was taken at a US naval base in Doha Qatar, the only place a US notary could be found.

This NPU approval was a huge step in the right direction to ensuring the sale for the current owners! We are excited to continue watching the plans unfold for the area.



An Update on West Midtown Developments

West Peachtree is about to explode

The Atlanta Business Chronicle did a nice job of summarizing many of the development proposals in play right now on West Peachtree Street: Greystar is trying to develop a couple of high rise apartment buildings, The Related Group hopes to bring in a WholeFoods (I’m excited for yet another fantastic lunch option in Midtown), and Novare is throwing up another SkyHouse. We are particularly excited to see the development on the site of the Arthritis Foundation building since we were involved in the sale to MetLife who plans to develop 60,000 SF of retail and ~400 residential units.