Report: Despite development boom, BeltLine buildings mostly full

Cushman and Wakefield analysis classifies Atlanta BeltLine as “one of the largest regional economic drivers in the metro’s history”


Whether you embrace it as an urban redevelopment dreamscape, don’t care enough to visit, or land somewhere in between, there’s no denying the Atlanta BeltLine has irrevocably changed the city’s trajectory in ways that’ll probably be felt by Generation Z’s grandchildren.

A new analysis by global real estate services firm Cushman and Wakefield, fittingly titled “The BeltLine Boom,” helps put changes the multi-use trail has spurred into context, drilling down on the two most popular segments to date: the Eastside and Westside trails.

Ten years after the first stretch of Eastside Trail debuted, followed five years later by the bulk of the Westside Trail (where Congressman John Lewis helped cut the ribbon), Cushman and Wakefield’s analysis broadly describes the BeltLine as “one of the largest regional economic drivers in the metro’s history.”

Despite gangbusters development and recent economic turbulence, the report generally finds that demand for new space near the BeltLine of almost all types—multifamily, offices, and retail—has yet to slow, and that the 22-mile loop is “propelling revitalization of Atlanta’s urban core.”

For instance, considering inventory within a .75-mile radius of the Eastside Trail, analysts found that almost 8,300 units now exist in 73 multifamily buildings—and that 94.6 percent of them are occupied. (That’s higher than Atlanta’s multifamily occupancy rate overall, 92.7, as of the fourth quarter of 2022, which excludes new buildings in their initial lease-up phase.)

Another seven buildings are in the development pipeline near the Eastside Trail, bringing 1,522 more units to the micro-market, per the firm’s findings.

Helping to lure in those tenants is 2.6 million square feet of retail that’s now set up shop near the Eastside Trail alone, according to Cushman and Wakefield. (For context, that’s twice the square footage of Bank of America Plaza, the city’s tallest skyscraper.)

Office tenants, meanwhile, have been eager to pay premiums to establish themselves adjacent to the Eastside Trail, forking over average prices of almost $50 per square foot—or 61 percent higher than the metro average of $31.

The Eastside Trail now counts about 2.4 million square feet of office inventory across 20 buildings—with a significant chunk of that coming last quarter with Fourth Ward Offices’ initial phase (493,000 square feet), which the report notes is already 71 percent leased to MailChimp/Intuit and WPP Group.

On the flipside of downtown, the Westside Trail’s offices have also commanded a premium, with tenants paying an average of nearly $36 per square foot, or almost 16 percent higher than the metro average for offices. Since 2021, office rates have exploded by 378 percent near that section of the BeltLine, the report found.

In terms of living options (that aren’t standalone houses), analysts tallied 2,198 multifamily units in the inventory near the Westside Trail, with more than 1,000 more units in various states of delivery right now. That includes housing at the Murphy Crossing by Culdesac project and a mixed-use proposal covering 7 acres along the trail in Oakland City.

Big picture, Cushman and Wakefield noted the BeltLine is on pace to attract up to $10 billion in economic development and 50,000 permanent jobs by its scheduled completion in 2030.

For Atlantans who view price hikes as a negative, the report also mentions that Atlanta BeltLine Inc. is more than halfway to its goal of creating 5,600 affordable housing units by the end of this decade, by way of new projects like Parkside in Bankhead, a stone’s throw from the Westside Trail corridor.


MARCH 27, 2023, 8:06AM


Urbanize Atlanta

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Big plans cooking for West Midtown restaurant site, adjacent land

Two buildings with mixed uses pitched where Six Feet Under, other businesses operate now


A package of properties that’s been marketed as the “last prime development opportunity in West Midtown” appears to have a taker.

CRG, the real estate investment and development arm of Chicago-based Clayco, is looking to break into the intown Atlanta market with a two-building 11th Street project that would replace longstanding restaurant Six Feet Under Pub and Fish House and other businesses, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports.

CRG has filed for building permits to construct a mix of multifamily units, commercial spaces, and offices that would add to an influx of large-scale development that’s transformed the Howell Mill Road corridor and surrounding blocks in recent years.

Plans call for 344,900 square feet of residential uses in one building. The other would be a 277,000-square-foot stack of offices.

For context, the office building would be slightly smaller, in terms of square footage, than 287,000-square-foot Star Metals Offices next door. Nearby, Interlock’s phase-one office building totals about 200,000 square feet.

Also included in the mix would be 27,400 square feet of street-level retail.

Courtesy of City Realty Advisors

CRG is asking the city to rezone the site from industrial uses to one that allows for a blend of commercial and residential space, MRC-3. As the ABC notes, CRG is known for building student housing, so it’s possible the residential component would be devoted to students at nearby Georgia Tech.

Dotted with low-rise buildings, the site in question collectively spans about 1.7 acres, or 74,000 square feet, on 11th Street between the booming Howell Mill corridor and Northside Drive. It’s comprised of four contiguous parcels.

The Six Feet Under restaurant location, at bottom left, and other buildings on site, with a backdrop of recent development that’s claimed underutilized or vacant land. Courtesy of City Realty Advisors

Immediately to the west is the 15-story Star Metals Offices building, part of the Star Metals District that’s slated to expand, beginning next month, across properties just south of 11th Street, too.

The Interlock development, also currently expanding, has consumed acreage to the north.

CRG has yet to buy the land in question. The property is listed with City Realty Advisors, but an asking price hasn’t been specified.

Six Feet Under, a laidback restaurant and pub, originated in Grant Park and opened its 11th Street location near Georgia Tech about 15 years ago, but owners announced planslast year to relocate those operations to Cheshire Bridge Road, in the former ROXX Tavern. Property records indicate an LLC associated with Six Feet Under owns the 11th Street property, having paid $1.2 million for the loft-style building and adjacent parking in 2006.

Other businesses on site now include recording studio 11th Street Studios, a picture frame shop, and digital printing service Doc-Qmax. City Realty reps have previously said the other buildings are also owned by their users.

The site, as sellers noted in 2022 listings, includes a strong 85 Walk Score today and could soon count Tishman Speyer’s redevelopment of Compound nightclub, Star Metals’ second phase, and more projects as neighbors, ostensibly upping the area’s walkability.



JANUARY 24, 2023, 12:06PM


Urbanize Atlanta

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Master Mind Building To Be Torn Down, Replaced With 17-Story Tower In New Plans

The developer behind the planned redevelopment of the Master Mind Thinker Building in Midtown Atlanta is headed before a neighborhood planning group with a new vision, one that no longer includes the office building with the thinker painted on its facade.

Rendering for the new front end of the Master Mind Thinker Building redevelopment, designed by Blur Studios.

Tenth Street Ventures plans to reduce the size of its planned mixed-use tower from 20 to 17 stories, push back its L-shaped project by 20 feet from the historic Winnwood Apartments, cut the number of residential units and, most prominently, raze the current 15K SF office building, known as the Master Mind Thinker Building. The plans were made public on the agenda for the Midtown Development Review Committee meeting Tuesday.

Tenth Street principal Brian McCarthy told Bisnow that the decision to tear down the existing office building came after hearing feedback from neighborhood and community members who didn’t feel the structure needed to be preserved in the redevelopment.

“They didn’t say that we should tear it down, but they said it wasn’t important to keep it,” McCarthy said.

Tenth Street previously planned to repurpose the Master Mind building, built in 1958 and renovated in 2001, into the new project at 1450 West Peachtree St. as its lobby and retail section. The developer was pursuing a variance in order to keep the existing office building, but now that it is to be torn down, that variance approval is no longer needed, McCarthy said.

The changes come after Tenth Street received neighborhood pushback on its initial design, including criticism from Atlanta Preservation Center Executive Director David Mitchell, who said last year that it would “besiege” the Winnwood Apartments, one of the last remaining buildings in Atlanta designed in a Georgian Revival style. Mitchell said the plan was “lamentable” for failing to focus on preservation and not involving more civic engagement.

“The style I was going for is not the style they were looking for,” McCarthy said.

Midtown Neighbors Association President Courtney Smith, who chairs the neighborhood planning unit where this project is located, declined to comment on the revisions made by Tenth Street.

“I am going to hold comment until after the revised plan presentation at the DRC tomorrow. Then we will be fully aware of the context for the new site plan,” Smith told Bisnow in an email. “This project will certainly receive extensive discussion. We have received a number of statements from community members and advocacy groups.”

The planned Master Mind Thinker Building redevelopment in relation to Winnwood Apartments.


McCarthy said other changes to the project, plans for which were first reported by Bisnow, were done in consideration of the Winnwood Apartments, including reducing the height of the building, scaling back the number of residential units from 332 to 288 and shrinking the total size of the parking deck.

Winnwood is owned by Atlanta-based Urban Landings, a firm that formed in 2021 after four managing partners of Tenth Street left to partner with GBX and Easements Atlanta. Urban Landings plans to renovate the 90-year-old Winnwood property — listed on the National Register of Historic Places — into 50 affordable micro-apartments.

“From the concerns from the community, we redesigned the parking deck so it’s not as overwhelming,” he said. “Ultimately, trying to make it fit more what the community wanted.”

But McCarthy said in order to reduce the parking deck’s size, he now has to rely on a unique design — a deck with only one driveway, where monitors inform drivers who can go up or down at any given time.

“It’s going to be very technologically based where you have to go one car one at a time. We have the same amount of parking that we have before, but the architect was able to come up with this incredible concept,” McCarthy told Bisnow. “It’s like an HOV lane. People will be able to go one way at a time and pause each way they go down. Technologically, it’s 100% able to happen. It’s about the timing and when you move in and move out.”

McCarthy said that the smaller parking configuration shrinks the overall development cost from the initial $120M price tag to $100M.

Some 30% of the 139 residential units are expected to be reserved for renters earning up to 80% of area median income, which is around $48,300 for one person, according to Invest Atlanta. McCarthy said the building will still have a coworking space, a fitness center and a café. The developer also is maintaining the 149 hotel/short-term rental units in the project, according to the agenda.

Tenth Street heads before the review committee at 5 p.m. Tuesday.


January 9, 2023

By Jarred Schenke, Bisnow Atlanta

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Midtown towers land financing, declared officially under construction

Developers: North and South tower designed to ‘sit prominently on the iconic Midtown skyline’

A closely watched two-tower Juniper Street project has landed requisite financing and is officially a go—albeit in a slightly shorter version than previously expected, at least in terms of floor counts.

Charleston-based developer Middle Street Partners, alongside joint venture partner AECOM-Canyon Partners, has secured $245 million in construction financing to build a full-block, mixed-use project that officials say will reshape the northeastern portion of Midtown’s skyline.

Demolition and infrastructure work at the Juniper Street site between 11th and 12th streets—about a block from Piedmont Park—has been ongoing for several months. But with financing in hand, the development team declared the towers officially underway today.

“We believe this block of Midtown is the preeminent residential address in all of Atlanta—and by extension one of the best in the Southeast,” Middle Street Partners’ director of development, Ed Alexander, said in an announcement.

Recent site work at Middle Street Partners’ planned dual-tower project in the 1000 block of Juniper Street, where Einstein’s and Joe’s on Juniper formerly stood.

Plans call for a total of 487 units in the two buildings, a North and South tower, that will “sit prominently on the iconic Midtown skyline west of the park,” with “stunning views, exceptional amenities, and high-end finishes,” as officials put it. Ground-floor retail space will span Juniper Street for a block.

The larger North tower will climb to 400 feet, offering 320 units across 36 stories; the South tower will top out at 380 feet, with 33 stories, larger floorplans, and what’s designed to feel like a more boutique offering of only 167 units.

Previous plans had called for buildings standing 38 and 34 stories, respectively.

How the two-tower project would look from Piedmont Park.Middle Street Partners; designs, Brock Hudgins Architects

Two Midtown drinking and dining staples—casual Southern restaurant Einstein’s and lively bar Joe’s on Juniper—have been razed at the site, along with neighboring bungalows-turned-businesses. The Metrotainment Cafes concepts, both hubs for Atlanta’s LGBTQ community, had operated on the block since the 1990s.

Middle Street Partners, which has offices in Atlanta, is also building a 323-unit apartment project on the BeltLine’s Southside Trail in Grant Park.

Along with financing news, development officials provided this revised project rendering today, which shows the Juniper Street towers in crisper detail than other images to date:

Courtesy of Middle Street Partners


DECEMBER 19, 2022, 5:40PM


Urbanize Atlanta

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Here’s the challenge: Balancing an infusion of wealth with preservation of the Westside neighborhoods.

There’s an urgency on the Westside. A tipping point both for investors looking for opportunity before Microsoft Corp. opens is planned 90-acre campus, which could house upwards of 15,000 people, and for those looking to safeguard the area for its legacy residents.

Either way, the clock is ticking.

“The urgency I would say is within five years, if not sooner, before it gets too expensive,” said John Ahmann, president and CEO of the Westside Future Fund, an 8-year-old nonprofit launched by the Atlanta Committee for Progress focused on “creating and curating an ecosystem” that disrupts the cycle of poverty.

How much have prices increased on the Westside?

Home values spiked 200% to more than 300% in parts of the city that include its west and southwest sides between early 2013 and early 2021, according to Zillow Group Inc. data compiled by Dan Immergluck, professor of urban studies at Georgia State University. All zip code areas of the city saw at least a 35% increase.

For the Westside Future Fund, those home prices corresponded with a 1,900% jump in costs per parcel the fund purchases for affordable housing over the past decade. Another way to look at it: Prices have escalated from $5,000 for a typical lot to approximately $100,000.

When did the price escalation in the Westside start?

Numerous factors have led to the rising costs. They include the 2017 kickoff of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, last year’s opening of Westside Park, and the BeltLine’s continued development of the Southside and Westside trails, which have attracted even more investment. There’s also the runaway housing market from the past two years.

What’s the update on the Westside BeltLine?

Atlanta BeltLine Inc. recently opened a 1.2-mile section of the Westside Trail.It flows alongside Marietta Boulevard, connecting Law Street to Huff Road.

The final section of the Westside Trail will run 1.3 miles from Lena Street to Wheeler Street. By early next year, it’s expected to start construction, which could take about two years to complete.

How is Westside Future Fund helping the area remain affordable?

The nonprofit buys land and sells it to neighborhood residents who need financial assistance, mostly on English Avenue. It has purchased $20.4 million of vacant and blighted property since 2018. There remain 1,024 vacant and blighted land parcels on English Avenue. But the rising costs and infrastructure limitations on English Avenue make the work challenging.

What other organizations are helping Westside residents?

The City of Refuge, which helps individuals and families transition out of crisis, is hoping that a fresh $25 million will help boost its workforce effortsin part through a new 36,000 square foot Transformation Center. Meanwhile, the Arthur M. Blank Foundation hopes to have a bigger impact in the community by sharpening its strategy — specifically when it comes to affordable housing.

The foundation is awarding $2.4 million in new grants to several organizations to further this strategy, including the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Enterprise Community Partners and the Westside Future Fund, among others.

How does infrastructure on the Westside need to improve to prepare for more development?

The area needs a grocery store and stormwater updates, according to the Westside Future Fund. But it also needs to address pedestrian safety along one of its main corridors, Donald Lee Hollowell. A series of major projects, one of which includes the Microsoft campus, will add more activity along the road, which is already considered one of Atlanta’s most dangerous for pedestrians. Georgia Department of Transportation is planning to reduce the number of lanes in one section and add more crosswalks.

Are there any comparable growth stories in Atlanta?

It may not seem like it now, but Atlanta’s Ansley Park — now known as one of the wealthiest — was in a similar position as English Avenue in the ’70s and ’80s. Before Ansley Park was a garden suburb in the heart of the city, the more than century-old neighborhood experienced disinvestment. Ahmann at the Westside Future Fund thinks Ansley Park could be a mixed-income area today if an organization had locked in affordable apartments before the years of its sharp home value rise.

By and  –  Atlanta Business Chronicle

UPDATE: Veil lifts on restaurant, retail conversion overlooking Piedmont Park

Plans call for replacing longstanding Skate Escape corner building with BBQ eatery-retail combo


[UPDATE: 1 September 14, 8:32 a.m. Midtown Alliance has shared the first visuals for the adaptive-reuse 12th & Everything proposal (see above and below) across the street from a main Piedmont Park entrance, as presented to the Midtown Development Review Committee on Tuesday. Plans call for a third DAS BBQ location in Atlanta with a building conversion heavy on rooftop and street-level patio space, while the currently shuttered building next door on Piedmont Avenue would see a mix of retail and conference space—potentially Skate Escape and a coffee option, per renderings.

[UPDATE 2: The development team shares these additional details in a press release today, with another rendering included below. The full project is expected to open in mid-2023: “Made of stone and cedar, the design of the 2,315-square-foot building at 1084 Piedmont [Avenue] will draw inspiration from Piedmont Park, housing a restaurant downstairs and an 800-square-foot, upstairs dining terrace with a gable-covered bar overlooking the park. The terrace will also be available for private events. Next door, the 1094 building will be around 1,500 square feet and feature the iconic, historic skate shop Skate Escape fronted by a new coffee shop called PMA Coffee.”]

Midtown’s roster of restaurant and retail offerings along the fringes of Piedmont Park could be in for a boost.

A concept called 12th & Everything is formulating plans to convert longstanding business Skate Escape and an adjacent brick structure into a business that melds outdoor dining with retail and conference spaces, according to Midtown Alliance.

The buildings in question stand at the northwest corner of 12th Street and Piedmont Avenue, across the street from a primary entrance to Piedmont Park, a new Shake Shack location, and Willy’s Mexicana Grill.


The 1084 and 1094 Piedmont Avenue building locations in relation to the western edges of the park. Google Maps

Plans presented Tuesday for the 12th & Everything adaptive-reuse project near a main Piedmont Park entrance. Smallwood/DAS BBQ, via Midtown Alliance

Skate Escape has operated on that corner since 1979 as the “oldest roller skate and skateboard shop” in Atlanta, per the business’ website, but has been offered for sale in recent years as its owners pondered retirement.

The neighboring brick structure, located immediately to the north, was once part of the skate shop business but has been shuttered for several years.

Instead of demolishing the buildings, plans call for adaptively reusing and expanding them as 12th & Everything.

How both buildings in question front Piedmont Avenue. Google Maps

The current Skate Escape structure at 1084 Piedmont Avenue—long a hub of rental bikes—would be expanded by about 940 square feet to create a new restaurant space that spans 2,315 square feet overall.

That would include a new 800-square-foot, canopied rooftop and a patio at sidewalk level for dining, according to a Midtown Development Review Committee agenda for Tuesday’s monthly meeting.

Next door, plans call for fully renovating the 1094 Piedmont Avenue building to create 1,486 square feet of retail and conference space, per Midtown Alliance.

Skate Escape’s longstanding corner-lot location. Google Maps

Between the buildings, a new translucent canopy would be installed, connecting to each rooftop. Below that, “significant hardscape and landscaping improvements” would serve to beautify the spaces, per the agenda. Parking would be offered nearby in what’s described as a “shared parking arrangement.”

Applicants include representatives of the Smallwood architecture firm, Genesis Engineering, and Stephen Franklin of DAS BBQ, per Midtown Alliance.


SEPTEMBER 14, 2022, 7:44AM


Urbanize Atlanta

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Near East Lake Golf Club, mixed-use Ella project debuts

More than 200 rentals and retail are delivering near Publix, Drew Charter School

Leasing efforts are underway at a mixed-use project that continues a surge of new living options in a pocket of DeKalb County that’s lagged other eastside areas in terms of growth.

Situated between East Atlanta and the storied East Lake Golf Club, Perennial Properties’ Ella is the largest of a handful of residential projects to crop up near the Glenwood Avenue corridor. The property had been a vacant lot for well over a decade.

According to plans obtained last year, Ella is bringing 230 apartments, 10,000 square feet of retail, and office space to 2201 Glenwood Avenue, as designed by Dynamik Design architects.

Ella’s apartments range from studios up to a unique seven-bedroom option (yes, seven). Four retail spaces have been slotted in next to the Publix at East Lake.

The Ella project’s location just south of Charlie Yates Golf Course and Drew Charter School campuses, with East Lake Golf Club at right. It joins a growth spurt of other mixed-use and single-family home ventures in the area. 

Communal amenities include a pool with sun shelf, media wall with outdoor TVs, a game room, a rec area with cornhole, a clubhouse with a bar near the pool, and a requisite pet spa, among other features.

The apartments include quartz countertops, keyless entry, stainless-steel appliances, vinyl floors described as “luxury,” and carpeting called “plush.”

How the East Lake site looked prior to construction, five years ago.

The community’s entrance near the East Lake Publix.

Rents at Ella begin at $1,405 monthly for pint-sized studios with 464 square feet. One-bedroom options begin at $1,605 monthly, and two-bedrooms at $2,215.

The seven-bedroom, Real World-esque co-living space has more than 3,200 square feet across two levels. As with the three-bedroom options, the co-living space isn’t listed as being available yet.

Like the Publix next door, another perk of the location is quick proximity (walkability?) to two golf courses, including the Charlie Yates links across the street.

The Ella lobby.

Where four retail spaces are available near the Publix parking lot at Ella. Perennial Properties

The activity continues a push by developers and homebuilders southeast of Atlanta into DeKalb County, just beyond the neighborhood limits of East Atlanta, Kirkwood, Gresham Park, and East Lake, among other communities.

Immediately south of Ella, Columbia Ventures has built 108 affordable and market-rate townhomes, garden apartments, and villas in a project called Gardenside at The Villages of East Lake along Fayetteville Road.

Developed in conjunction with Purpose Built Communities, that gated complex includes a playground and priority placement at Drew Charter School for residents with K-12 children. Options range from one to three-bedroom residences, per Columbia Ventures.

Just south of both sites, Urban Craft Homes built and sold out a community of 35 single-family homes called The Forest at East Lake, also along Fayetteville Road. Situated beside a creek on 10 acres, those houses were priced from the low $400,000s.

All of the above could seem like small potatoes if Perennial Properties’ plans to transform 12 acres of grassy fields into a mixed community with nearly 300 apartments and townhomes come to fruition nearby.

Called the Bag Factory, that project is planned along 2nd Avenue, about two blocks south of East Lake Golf Club’s Hole 4. The site has been empty for decades, developers have previously said.

JUNE 16, 2022, 9:24AM


Urbanize Atlanta

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THE NEW FRONTIER: As Midtown sees record levels of development, the next wave of towers will rise on unconventional sites.

The first land sale Cushman & Wakefield Managing Director Matt Hawkins brokered in Midtown fetched around $35 a square foot. This was in the mid-’90s. The buyer, the now-President and CEO of Novare Group Jim Borders, paid $6 million for around four acres on Peachtree Street.

In December of last year, a private equity giant broke the city’s record price paid per land square foot for a site just down the street from Hawkins’ first sale. The buyer paid $555 per square foot for three-quarters of an acre. In 2018, that same plot of land sold for $138 per square foot.

Within the last half-decade, growth throughout Midtown has transformed the district’s real estate into one of the most valuable commodities in the city. Land values are soaring, and brokers like Hawkins are seeing double the amount of offers on sites within the 1.2-mile district. But real estate opportunities aren’t running out any time soon.

As the development momentum continues, investors are having to approach site selection with an eye for creativity. Sites once considered undesirable to build ambitious projects are now crown jewels in the increasingly site-constrained Midtown core.

“There’s no such thing as built out when you’re talking about any city,” said Kevin Green, the President and CEO of Midtown Alliance, the district’s planning and development coalition. “The sites get more challenging. Maybe some existing structures that you get used to cease to exist. But it’s going to continue to change.”

Take the underused lot next to the century-old St. Mark United Methodist Church, where StreetLights Residential is building a 26-story apartment tower. Or a U.S. Post Office at West Peachtree Street worth $25 million where Rockefeller plans to build a 61-story mixed-use tower. The definition of a “prime site” has changed. Almost anything is fair game.

Where conversations over the redevelopment of unconventional sites intensifies, however, is when the potential demolition or densification of neighborhood landmarks is brought into question. Projects have yet to move forward on the largely-underused parking spaces at The Varsity or the sprawling acres on WSB-TV’s campus at West Peachtree Street, but it’s only a matter of time before the development wave leads to increased interest.

A 26-story apartment tower is rising on top of a once-vacant lot next to the century-old St. Mark United Methodist Church.

A 26-story apartment tower is rising on top of a once-vacant lot next to the century-old St. Mark United Methodist Church.

Surging demand


Parking lots, along with seas of broken glass and vice after dark, is what Green remembers of Midtown in the aftermath of the 1996 Olympics. There were MARTA stations within every quarter mile block off of Peachtree Street and a few office towers with “a real pioneer spirit,” but the 1.2-mile core didn’t have much fat on its bones.

The Midtown of today is a completely different beast.

“People might say [the market] has been saturated and is now fully mature,” said Sebastian Drapac of Drapac Capital Partners, which sold Midtown’s record-breaking parcel of land in December. “For me, it’s like it’s still the second quarter.”

Since 1997, over 100 new office, residential, hotel and institutional buildings sprouted from the ground. Residential units have doubled, commercial property tax digest has more than tripled and institutional capital has poured in. New national names like Rockefeller are shimmying up to the city’s longtime development strongholds.

The momentum hasn’t slowed. In 2021 alone, 1.8 million square feet of office space and 645 residential units were delivered in Midtown.

Rising land values in the district indicate a surging demand and constraining supply, a dynamic playing out in gateway markets like New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles. This is partially true in Atlanta — pure dirt is sparse. Roughly 15-20% of the district is ripe for redevelopment, planning coalition Midtown Alliance estimates.

Some of this accounts for vacant parcels locked away by entrepreneurial landowners. Dewberry Capital Corporation — led by “Atlanta’s emperor of empty lots,” as Bloomberg once put it, John Dewberry — controls several undeveloped commercial sites, including 7.42 acres at along the east side of West Peachtree Street and 1.70 acres at along the east side of Peachtree Street between Beverly Road and Peachtree Circle.

Another chunk of the percentage for Midtown’s large swaths of parking infrastructure. There are roughly 5,000 spaces spread across three parking garages on the West Peachtree Street Northwest, 4,160 spaces across three garages on Peachtree Street Northwest and 3,120 across three garages on Peachtree Street Northeast, as examples.

Surface parking lots stretch across the Midtown core, some of which have been successfully redeveloped. Noble Investment Group, as an example, brought a new Marriott Courtyard-Element hotel to a public parking lot at 640 Peachtree Street. Noble negotiated with the parking operators who owned the site to build the project on top of a publicly-accessible five-story parking deck. All parties won: Noble built their hotel, the parking operators kept their revenue stream and a concrete open space on Peachtree transformed into a high-density tower.

Few surface lots are too small to build on. Developers in Drapac’s home city of Melbourne, Australia, are building structures on quarters of an acre.

“Beggars can’t be choosers,” Drapac said.

The trend of building more ambitiously on smaller sites is slowly catching wind in Atlanta. In 2018, Atlanta developer JPX Works redeveloped a 0.31-acre eyesore of an empty lot at Peachtree Street into a 147-unit, 25-story apartment tower.

Vertically redeveloping parking structures helps to thwart razing over neighborhood landmarks to build anew. But it’s not an outcome the city can completely avoid.

Two Midtown restaurants on Juniper Street — Einstein’s and the neighboring Joe’s on Juniper — were razed in late 2021 after Charleston-based developer Middle Street Partners bought the property to build two 38 and 30-story apartment towers. Both restaurants were stalwarts within the LGBTQ community for decades. American drag queen icon RuPaul lived next door to the property during the ’90s.

The possibility of losing “sacred” landmarks like the Fox Theatre is out of the question, said Karl Smith-Davids, Senior Project Manager for Midtown Alliance.

But shaving off available land on some of these properties is not unfathomable. Construction unraveling on underused concrete at St. Mark United Methodist is an example of this, as are similar redevelopment projects going on at Big Bethel AME Church in Sweet Auburn and Atlanta First United Methodist Church at Peachtree Street.

Mayor Andre Dickens is championing the redevelopment of church-owned land. Early into his first 100 days, he announced the creation of a grant to assist faith-based organizations with building affordable housing on their properties.

Cities cannot run out of room


All development inevitably comes with a tradeoff. Low-rise office buildings or stalwart parking structures of yesteryear will inevitably come down to satisfy the needs of a growing market. Apartments are primarily leading this charge, as the number of residents in the center of Midtown have doubled within the last decade.

But Green’s idea of success in Midtown is not every square “getting developed with concrete, glass and steel,” he said. It’s creating an environment where open public spaces for people to gather and come together can coexist with corridors dense with development.

“That’s among our opportunities and challenges. How do you do that with a place that’s as hot of a market as Midtown? Because we’re not just looking at what Midtown needs to be successful for the next five years, but what does it need to be successful for the next 50?” Green said.

By  –  Reporter, Atlanta Business Chronicle

Remember Atlanta’s ‘Midtown Mile?’ An anchor of it just sold for a record price.

A Florida-based company has purchased a Midtown retail center on Peachtree Street Northeast for a record price.

A Florida-based company has purchased a Midtown retail center on Peachtree Street Northeast for a record price.

A real estate investment firm just paid the highest price in years for a single Midtown retail center.

East Coast Acquisitions, a Florida-based real estate investment firm, has purchased street-level retail and a parking garage at 1010 Midtown along Peachtree Street Northeast for $38 million.

Anchored by Sugar Factory and Piedmont Healthcare, the development also includes Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Chipotle, Panera Bread, RA Sushi Bar, Sage Dental, Silverlake Ramen and Sweathouz.

The deal represents the highest standalone transaction for Midtown retail space in about a decade, said David Kahn, Southeast director of market analytics at commercial real estate research firm CoStar Group.

The center sold far above the average 12-month sales price of $5.7 million for Midtown retail sites, according to CoStar. The property sold for $15 million in 2013, according to the research firm.

The 44,302 square feet of street-level retail sits at the base of a 425-unit luxury condo building. The tower, which stands over 11th and 12th streets, was not included in the sale. The retail portion of the development, completed in 2008, is 94% leased.

More than a decade ago, the original owners of 1010 Midtown marketed the project as an anchor of the “Midtown Mile,” a retail corridor along a stretch of Peachtree Street intended to become Atlanta’s version of the Magnificent Mile in Chicago.

It makes sense for the retail center to trade at a premium, given the area’s strong demographics and tenant roster, Kahn said. More than 216,000 people visit the 2-mile radius around the property each day, according to JLL.

Most of Midtown’s retail and parking income used to be generated by its daytime office population, but that’s no longer the case, said Chris Wild, principal at East Coast Acquisitions, in an email. “… Midtown has transitioned into a live, work, play environment, increasing the productivity cycle for both retail and parking,” he said.

Wild added that several new developments will soon replace surface parking lots in the area, which will steer drivers to the onsite garage acquired by his company.

The transaction comes at a time when companies offering high-paying jobs open new offices in the area, bumping up the demand for retail space as new residents move to the area. The submarket is experiencing a 1.7% retail vacancy rate, lower than at any other time in the past decade.

Compared with other parts of metro Atlanta, Midtown has few contiguous retail spaces, Kahn said. “It’s very difficult to build new retail there, so existing properties are pretty valuable,” he said.


By  –  Reporter, Atlanta Business Chronicle

Affordability initiative to protect historic Midtown apartment building

Renovation of Winnwood Apartments, a Georgian Revival-style landmark from 1931, to include more housing, micro units

A restoration project in Midtown’s northern blocks is aiming to be a win-win for both historic preservation and affordable housing in a prominent Atlanta location.

Built in 1931, the Winnwood Apartments have been the subject of redevelopment talks for more than two years. The two-story brick structure at 1460 West Peachtree Street —built in a Georgian Revival-style by the once-prominent Atlanta firm H.W. Nicholes and Sons—reflects popular residential architecture from the early to mid-20th century.

According to preservation organization Easements Atlanta, it’s one of the last examples of this architecture style left standing in the city.

The Winnwood Apartments’ West Peachtree Street entry and courtyard today, prior to full renovations. Photography by Above Visuals; courtesy of GBX Group, Urban Landings

GBX Group has partnered with Easements Atlanta, along with developer Urban Landings, to refurbish and reconfigure the 90-year-old property into roughly 50 units—all micro apartments and one-bedrooms.

Previously, Winnwood Apartments were all two or three-bedrooms units, officials tell Urbanize Atlanta.

“This project won’t have a dedicated affordable component, per se,” Urban Landings cofounder Bobby Gibson wrote via email. “Instead, it will attempt to tackle affordability by building efficient spaces with A Class finishes at a discount to new A Class developments.”

Photography by Above Visuals; courtesy of GBX Group, Urban Landings

Atlanta development wonks may recall the landmark building and surrounding property were once controlled by Tenth Street Ventures. When four of that company’s managing partners split off to form Urban Landings in 2021, the Winnwood Apartments transferred with them, Gibson said.

Urban Landings succeed in earning a spot for the property on the National Register of Historic Places last year. That enabled developers to access historic tax credits that are helping to make the project financially viable, officials said.

The redevelopment team expects to wrap construction on Winnwood Apartments in the fourth quarter of this year. Cameron Pimm, Urban Landings chief operating officer, said it’s too early at this point to say what rents might be.

The goal, said Pimm, is to provide “quality housing at an achievable price point for the ever-expanding workforce.”

The building in the context of northern Midtown, as seen two years ago. City Realty Advisors

Winnwood’s new ownership group also donated a façade easement to Easements Atlanta. According to project leaders, that move will ensure the complex’s exterior design is permanently protected while making the project eligible for more tax incentives.

Ian Michael Rogers, Easements Atlanta’s president, said the Midtown apartments help “offer a deep connection to our city’s story” in a recent announcement. Drew Sparacia, CBX’s CEO, added that today’s real estate climate favors demolition and new construction, but that chasing quick dollars could pay fewer dividends in the long run.

“Those buildings, many with rich architecture and ties to their local communities, offer untold economic and socioeconomic potential for all community stakeholders if rehabbed correctly,” said Sparacia. “We’ve seen it time and time again across the country. And we’re confident that we’ll see it with this [Midtown] project.”

The building’s Georgian Revival-style facade and courtyard today.Photography by Above Visuals; courtesy of GBX Group, Urban Landings

JANUARY 27, 2022, 2:15PM


Urbanize Atlanta

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