Atlanta BeltLine seeks ideas to jumpstart redevelopment at Murphy Triangle, next to Westside Trail

By David Pendered

Three years after no one offered to buy the old Atlanta Farmers Market, in southwest Atlanta, the Atlanta BeltLine is seeking a full analysis of what will be necessary to kindle redevelopment of the market parcel and adjacent neighborhoods.

Murphy Triangle, old farmers market

The Atlanta BeltLine intends to overturn the sentiment expressed in this graffiti on a building that once served as the Atlanta Farmers Market: “THE ODDS ARE NEVER IN OUR FAVOR.” Credit: David Pendered

The Georgia Building Authority put the 16.4-acre site on the auction block in 2012. No bids were submitted, and the State Properties Commission withdrew the property.

The BeltLine subsequently acquired the property. It’s located in an area named Murphy Crossing, at the intersection of Murphy Avenue and the Westside Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine.

Now the BeltLine has issued a request for proposals for what it calls a, “jobs related economic feasibility study.” Proposals are due Nov. 13.

This is the overview of the desired outcomes:

  • “The desired outcome of this solicitation is to establish an understanding, analysis and prioritized list of actions for the short, intermediate and long term activation of Murphy Crossing and other strategic sites in close proximity to include the framework for horizontal development and marketing of Murphy Crossing.
  • “This engagement should culminate with a comprehensive and detailed set of deliverables that effectively communicates the methods and means of implementing the recommendations identified by the study.”
Murphy Triangle, old Atlanta farmers market

The Atlanta BeltLine is seeking an economic analysis that can help spark redevelopment at and around the old Atlanta’s Farmers Market, at Murphy Crossing, in Southwest Atlanta. File/Credit: Mapquest, David Pendered

In order to achieve these outcomes, the RFP sets out five specific subjects the report is to cover:

  1. A data analysis of the area that’s to identify jobs skills of area residents; a feasibility study of a business campus that provides workforce housing; five case studies of comparable redevelopments and two case studies of unsuccessful models for redevelopment.
  2. A physical assessment of the site, with its 10 scenic old buildings and a shed; recommend zoning classifications; and map a street grid.
  3. Assess the infrastructure and provide models for long-term redevelopment and job creation.
  4. Examine other projects close to the site, such as the Westside Trail; and consider previous studies completed by groups including the Urban Land Institute, MARTA, and Georgia State University.
  5. Model and analyze the economic impact of the site’s redevelopment; recommend drivers to create jobs; and establish a “high level” marketing and communications plan for the site.
Atlanta BeltLine, Southwest Trail sign

The Westside Trail segment of the Atlanta BeltLine is under construction. The trail forms the northern border of the site the BeltLine is seeking plans to redevelop. Credit: David Pendered

The Murphy Triangle area is the real thing when it comes to Atlanta’s old industrial structures.

The old structures represent 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.

One warehouse, for example, was built in 1900. It’s located at 1100 Murphy Avenue, a short distance from the old farmers market. The warehouse covers 16,900 square feet, the land encompasses 0.38 acres, and the property is valued at $330,300, according to the Fulton County Tax Assessor.

These industrial uses weren’t always environmentally friendly. However, Atlanta has support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up about 40 acres of brownfields that have been identified in the Murphy Triangle area.

In addition to the Westside Trail, public projects planned in the general area include a mixed use development at MARTA’s Oakland City Station, and the redevelopment of Fort McPherson into a film studio, by Tyler Perry, and other potential development on 145 acres Perry did not purchase from the state.

Murphy Crossing, train

CSX freight trains travel along tracks located across Murphy Avenue from the site the Atlanta BeltLine wants help in planning for redevelopment and job creation. Credit: David Pendered

Murphy Crossing, Urban graffiti

Graffiti is not rare on some of the old industrial buildings in the Murphy Crossing area. Credit: David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

4 replies
  1. Burroughston Broch says:

    @ Amy Mathes
    The chain link fence with razor wire on the top bears testimony to the neighborhood’s temper.
    Kroger and other grocery chains have had unsatisfactory experience in many in-town neighborhoods and have closed stores there for good reason – low sales, property damage, pilferage, etc.

    Don’t hold your breath.Report

    Reply
  2. junehodges says:

    I’ve been around long enough to faintly recall going there with my parents in the late 1950’s before it was closed when “The Worlds Largest Farmer’s Market” was built in Forest Park just below the airport.  There were row after row of colorful tomatoes, water melons, cantaloupes,…….even purple stalks of sugar cane.  It would be wonderful if something like that, on a smaller scale, could return here some day.Report

    Reply
  3. Jim says:

    This is a fabulous site with a ton of industrial authenticity. The worst thing would be to redevelop this site as a cookie cutter big box retail or grocery. The buildings give a unique sense of place for this portion of the BetlLine; not only do they look cool, they are built well, and have a colorful story to tell. Hopefully those who make the decision on its redevelopment are enlightened enough to recognize their value. And those we are in the know, understand that SW Atlanta already has already changed dramatically for the better and is the most prospective real estate in the city.Report

    Reply

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