Atlanta BeltLine: Sale of old Atlanta Farmer’s Market in BeltLine corridor will reveal its post-recession cachet
By David Pendered
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the number of acres at the old Atlanta Farmer’s Market.
Georgia is selling the old Atlanta Farmer’s Market, a 16.4-acre tract with 11 scenic old buildings that’s located in the heart of the Atlanta BeltLine in southwest Atlanta.
The deal promises to showcase the real estate market’s attitude toward redeveloping in a gritty BeltLine neighborhood in this soft real estate climate.
Before the recession, the old market would have been perfectly poised for redevelopment. It’s in Murphy Triangle, a faded industrial area that was just beginning to see an influx of art studios and restaurants as entrepreneurs got in before big-money BeltLine developers arrived.
Then the recession hit.
Murphy Triangle is the real thing when it comes to retro development. It’s a hodgepodge of old structures, including the “greatest concentration of historic industrial buildings along the BeltLine,” according to the city’s description in a document on brownfield remediation in southwest Atlanta.
The state’s property is officially owned by the Georgia Building Authority, and is being sold by the State Properties Commission. Sealed bids are to be opened Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. and the deadline for submittals is Oct. 26.
The state is selling 16.4 acres that’s located near the intersection of MARTA’s south rail line and the BeltLine. The state’s bid document doesn’t tell much about the property.
The property has 10 vacant buildings and one open shed. The buildings comprise a total of 298,380 square feet. That’s almost the size of three Walmarts.
The largest structure measures almost 101,000 square feet. The smallest measures 3,002 square feet. The open shed measures 18,867 square feet.
If the buildings could be redeveloped, the resulting homes and shops would be in actual old structures, rather than in new buildings that have been styled to look old, as is the case in some developments in Northeast Atlanta.
The city of Atlanta has done what it can to promote this sector of the BeltLine.
Atlanta is rezoning Murphy Triangle to promote redevelopment and block undesirable businesses, and has obtained federal support to help clean up brownfields in area.
Atlanta councilmembers Joyce Sheperd and Cleta Winslow have been working together to change the permitted land use in the area. Their legislation aims to keep the industrial nature of the area, while prohibiting some land uses that aren’t conducive to fostering a residential community.
For example, welding will be allowed, enabling metal sculptors to work. Pawn shops, strip clubs and land fills will not be allowed.
Meanwhile, Atlanta has won support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up hazards left by former industrial users in Murphy Triangle. Actually, the brownfields in the area comprise about 40 acres of more than 3,200 acres of brownfields in struggling neighborhoods that the city is currently addressing.
This brownfield project area consists of communities the city says are home to “lower-income, predominately African-American neighborhoods, which have been particularly hard hit by the recent recession.”
The city’s partners in the brownfield remediation effort include Invest Atlanta, the city’s development arm; Atlanta BeltLine; and Georgia Tech’s School of City and Regional Planning.