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New owner seeks to demolish historic Nabisco factory

An entrance to the former Nabisco factory at 1400 Murphy Ave. (Photo by Atlanta Preservation Center.)

By John Ruch

The new owner of Southwest Atlanta’s historic Nabisco factory has applied to demolish the property.

The demolition application was submitted in December and a permit has not yet been issued, according to the Department of City Planning. Preservationists are urging the rescue of at least part of the massive building.

The factory, located at 1400 Murphy Ave., dates to 1941 and was shuttered by Nabisco’s owner, Mondelez International, in early 2021 in a high-profile move that eliminated 400 jobs. The huge factory and its 32-acre site were recently bought by Prologis, a California-based international firm specializing in logistics and warehouses.

Prologis has declined comment on its plans for the property or preservation possibilities. Despite its age and status in the community, the property has no official historic designation or protection, according to City Planning. That means, among other effects, that the demolition request would not get an additional review from the preservation experts at the Atlanta Urban Design Commission.

The Atlanta Preservation Center (APC) is among the advocates for saving at least part of the property. APC Executive Director David Yoakley Mitchell says he has yet to reach out to Prologis but believes the factory’s office space and possibly other sections could be saved at minimum as “some sort of visual anchor of the legacy of that community.”

Another advocate for reuse is Mark Riley, founder of Urban Development Partners, a company involved in the recent adaptive reuse of the nearby Cut Rate Box building. “This building should be saved and if not used for manufacturing (with jobs), then converted into a use for people (office or other uses) with housing built on the site,” said Riley in an email, adding that he is reaching out to City planners.

The local Neighborhood Planning Unit X, according to chair Zachary Adriaenssens, had no word of the demolition permit and no notice on the sale of the property. He said it is likely no NPU would be required if the new use matches the current industrial zoning. He added that the community expected something industrial to be part of a future use, but that the site would be mixed-use as well.

“Personally, I consider the historic Nabisco building an amazing community asset that I 100 percent would like to see preserved,” said Adriaenssens. He said he will submit draft resolutions to that effect to the NPU at its Feb. 14 meeting to send to the City Council “to let them know how against the demolition we are.”

Update: This story has been updated with comment from the chair of NPU-X.

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