Central Atlanta Progress moving to Fairlie-Poplar’s 84 Walton building

By Maria Saporta

Central Atlanta Progress, the influential downtown business organization, is moving from the Hurt building to a lesser known historic building in the Fairlie-Poplar district.

CAP, which has been a visible tenant on the street level of the Hurt building along Edgewood since 1988, is moving to the top floor of 84 Walton St.,  a building that dates back to 1907 when it was built as the headquarters for the Atlanta Birmingham and Atlantic Railroad.

84 Walton - CAP will relocate to top floor (Photos by Maria Saporta)

84 Walton – CAP will relocate to top floor (Photos by Maria Saporta)

CAP President A.J. Robinson made the announcement about the move at the organization’s annual meeting at the Georgia World Congress Center on Wednesday morning.

“We feel that we, as an organization, our job is to help attract private capital, to promote adaptive reuse,” Robinson said in an interview before the annual meeting. “We, as a redevelopment agency, felt we could lead by example. We came across this opportunity at 84 Walton.”

The building, which is owned by the Selig Enterprises, was leased for many years by the Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services. But after the agency moved out, Robinson said the Selig organization asked CAP about whether it had any ideas of how it could market the building.

Close up of building's original name - Atlanta Birmingham and Atlantic Railroad

Close up of building’s original name – Atlanta Birmingham and Atlantic Railroad

CAP’s lease was up for renewal in July, and the business organization already had entertained the possibility of moving to another building and helping revitalize downtown. It had put in a bid to buy the historic Olympia building at Five Points from the state of Georgia. But a company that will develop an urban Walgreen’s in the building submitted a significantly higher bid than CAP.

Charles Beard and Scott DeMyer of CBRE Atlanta are spearheading the leasing of the adjoined buildings for the Selig organization, which owns the twin buildings —  84 Walton and 75 Marietta. — connected by a bridge of offices.

In the not too distant past, rail tracks could be seen entering the space between both buildings. The buildings were designed by one of Atlanta’s most pre-eminent commercial architects at the turn of the 19th Century — Thomas H. Morgan. His business associate when he designed 84 Walton was John Robert Dillon.

Decorative finishes on the building's facade

Decorative finishes on the building’s facade

The building has several ornate, decorative features including detailed stonework and stone lion heads punctuating different floors. It also has unique features that hint of its railroad past.

“It was like a streetcar station, and it was open to the top with a skylight on top,” Robinson said. “Our office has a skylight, but the building has been filled in below. We’ll be on the top floor.”

Robinson said the experience of being on the top floor will be quite different than being on street level, meaning people will have to go out of their way to find CAP. But it will give the organization an opportunity to consolidate its employees, who are now spread out on two floors, on one level. Each floor of 84 Walton has about 10,000 square feet.

The bridge between the two buildings with the opening where railcars used to enter

The bridge between the two buildings with the opening where railcars used to enter

The building also is conveniently located about mid-way between Centennial Olympic Park and Woodruff Park. It also is about two blocks away from the new Atlanta Streetcar, which will start operating later this year.

Of Selig, Robinson said: “I think the landlord treated us right. They are eager to showcase the building.”

In a statement, Steve Selig said he was delighted to welcome CAP as a tenant of 84 Walton / 75 Marietta.

“We are excited about CAP joining us and their commitment to the continued revitalization of Atlanta’s historical downtown business district,” Selig said.

Close up of building's detailed stone work

Close up of building’s detailed stone work

CAP has been representing the downtown business community for more than 70 years to work on issues with the City of Atlanta, the region and the state.

It is the latest in a number high profile tenants that have moved out of the Hurt building in the last couple of years. They include the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, Coxe, Curry & Associates, the CDC Foundation and the upcoming move of the Georgia Research Alliance.

Hurt Building owner Boxer Property has looked at various ideas to fill up the building in the wake of losing the nonprofits. Grady Health System has continued to expand there.

Last year Boxer talked to Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center about offering space to its startups, with flexible leasing terms for a year or possibly less. Boxer Property could also chase one of the big tenants considering downtown buildings.

Douglas Sams, a staff writer for the Atlanta Business Chronicle, contributed to the article.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

3 replies
  1. wdarlingweb says:

    Having lived Walton Street for many years, at the Healey, I can say with conviction that the street has so much potential as a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly corridor, with history architecture and connectivity between Peachtree and Centennial Olympic Park. Although I’m sad for the loss of a tenant at the Hurt Building, I think this move could do a lot of good. And I agree with what A.J. Robinson said about setting an example by practicing what they preach via rehabilitation of and investment in a historic building.Report

    Reply
  2. GSU Nerd says:

    Such a shame that one of the biggest proponents of the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge decided to relocate from a historic building that also happens to be one of the oldest LEED-EB Platinum commercial buildings in the country.  And at a time when their own organization oversees the Atlanta Streetcar project, streetcars in Atlanta having first been conceived of by the building’s developer and namesake Joel Hurt.   
    Setting the example, indeed.Report

    Reply

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