August 10, 2016
Tired commercial space challenges developers and begs the question: demolition or renovation? In many cases, the question can be creatively answered with brilliant results. The key is in playing up the unique or vintage features that make these properties appealing.
In Atlanta, developers have breathed new life into outdated and unused space in a wide variety of ways, using their awareness of market trends and community demographics to turn the drab into the fab for millions of Atlanta residents. Here are a few examples of inspired repurposing in the area.
Comet Pub and Lanes
In charming Decatur, a stone’s throw from downtown Atlanta, the bowling alley previously known as Suburban Lanes is reopening as a hipper version of itself. Reincarnated as the Comet Pub and Lanes, the space will offer an extensive beer menu and an unexpectedly varied choice of foods, including a chicken waffle dog, “Rich Girl” shrimp, gourmet pizzas, and more.
The facility features 32 lanes of bowling with i-Pad scoring, as well as shuffleboard. It opened on July 15 of 2016, crafted to appeal to the millennial demographic in this popular Atlanta neighborhood.
The Goat Farm
This uniquely named development includes 12 abandoned factory buildings just outside of downtown. This space now operates as an arts center and is a thriving, if somewhat bohemian, commercial development. The project includes loft apartments and artists’ studios, occupied by more than 450 artists, with 100% occupancy and a waiting list. Most of the space is given over to auditoriums, classrooms, and exhibition areas.
West of Midtown, at 916 Lowery Blvd. just off of Marietta St., the Puritan Mill was an old soap factory. It’s been redeveloped to include 82,000 square feet of loft-office space and a 13,000 square foot special events facility known as The Foundry.
The building’s character and historical features led to its preservation, and it’s an important fixture in the so-called King Plow Arts District. High ceilings, exposed brick, floor to ceiling windows and other features create the type of office space that is most in demand.
Redevelopment of smaller spaces
In established areas of the city, new towers are constantly under construction, but another important trend is that of overhauling smaller existing spaces to suit modern day expectations. In Midtown, for example, Parkside Partners has several projects underway that eschew the wrecking ball and convert dated commercial space into sleek modern spaces.16th Station will completely transform a drab building on West Peachtree St. into premium office space in a stellar location.
As the Braves prepare to relocate to their new digs, much attention is being focused on Turner Field and the surrounding area. Industry observers expect tremendous development in the south downtown area as plans are being floated for redeveloping the stadium complex- a repurposing of major proportions.
A project of this size will obviously have an impact on the surrounding area, and new residential projects have already begun in anticipation of that. It will be interesting to see what decisions are made with regard to existing commercial buildings in the area.