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Atlanta Botanical Garden buys BeltLine property in Virginia-Highland

The Virginia-Highland site, with the approximate property borders outlined in red, as seen in Fulton County online property records.

By John Ruch

The Atlanta Botanical Garden has purchased a vacant commercial building on the Atlanta BeltLine in Virginia-Highland for $13.5 million.

The approximately two-acre property sits at the V-shaped intersection of Monroe Drive, Cooledge Avenue and Kanuga Street. That’s across Monroe from the southern end of Piedmont Park, whose northern end is home to the Garden.

Garden spokesperson Danny Flanders could not immediately explain the reason for the purchase, which closed in May, according to Fulton County property records. Flanders said the Garden occasionally buys property “as part of our long-term investment strategy” in Atlanta and in Gainesville, where the nonprofit operates another garden. He said he is “not aware of any specific plans” for the Virginia-Highland property and believes it is also “an investment for exploring options down the road.”

The site consists of two parcels numbered 1011 Monroe and 597 and 609 Cooledge with a two-story commercial building dating to the 1930s, according to property records. The Monroe storefront previously housed the Cantoni furniture company, which moved last year. A Planet Fitness gym previously was pegged as a tenant before pulling out, as What Now Atlanta reported. The Cooledge side has housed a lighting showroom and a real estate developer, among other businesses.

Jack White, co-chair of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association’s Planning Committee, said there were neighborhood rumors of the sale and concern about its future. In 2018 the neighborhood successfully opposed a huge development along the BeltLine on the other side of Monroe involving a hotel, a grocery store, hundreds of apartments and more.

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