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Southwest Atlanta’s shuttered Nabisco factory is sold, raising preservation hopes and fears

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

By John Ruch

A shuttered Nabisco snack-making factory, a fixture of Southwest Atlanta for 80 years, has been bought by a warehouse company, raising hopes and fears about its preservation and reuse.

The plant at 1400 Murphy Ave. 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. A Mondelez spokesperson said the sale went through in November for approximately $22.5 million.

An aerial view of the former Nabisco factory, outlined in blue, as seen in Fulton County property records.

“We can confirm that we purchased this property but don’t have anything further to share at this point,” said Prologis spokesperson Mattie​ Sorrentino. She did not respond to questions about historic preservation or reuse possibilities.

The Atlanta Preservation Center, a nonprofit historic organization, has been keeping an eye on the property.

“This large industrial building has a myriad of possibilities by using preservation and thoughtful adaptive reuse,” said APC Executive Director David Yoakley Mitchell. “The Atlanta Preservation Center is very hopeful that the next use of this building and space will include this building in those plans. Atlanta has a deep identity connection with structures like this, and by including them we always remember that past and build upon it for our future.”

Nabisco is a snack company known for such iconic products as Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers. Then called the National Biscuit Company, it built the Murphy Avenue factory in 1938 and opened it in 1941 as one of its cutting-edge “Bakeries of Tomorrow.” The company had been in Atlanta well before then, operating another plant Downtown since 1927. Nabisco is now a subsidiary of Mondelez.

The Murphy Avenue factory was historically “an anchor of Atlanta’s Westside,” said Mitchell. The property lies just outside the area of a 2013 study of historic resources conducted for planning part of the Atlanta BeltLine, but Mitchell said it likely would be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The factory site joins Prologis’s large inventory of similar properties in the area. As of March 2021, according to its website, the company owned 170 industrial properties in metro Atlanta.

The factory site is in a prime location at the intersection with Arden Avenue, adjacent to the Oakland City MARTA Station.

“Adaptive reuse” — renovating older buildings for new and different uses — is a popular trend in the development and historic preservation worlds. It’s especially hot in the market dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ironically, while old warehouses are a common adaptive reuse target, today many such conversions are for new warehouses as online shopping and delivery continue to boom.

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4 Comments

  1. Atlanta citizen January 12, 2022 10:57 pm

    it will be flattened and an amazon warehouse within 6 months. take it to the bank and while you are there thank Joyce Shepard, Cleta Winslow and Keisha Lance Bottoms when those thousands of trucks come rumbling thru the west end.Report

    Reply
  2. Curious Prime January 16, 2022 1:27 pm

    1. The most important thing is the facade facing Murphy.
    2. How many trucks were entering and leaving the Nabisco plant before it shutdown?
    3. Are there any repurposing ideas from the community?
    4. The property has zoned for industrial since 1927.
    5. Has the community worked with economic development to attract a “suitable” buyer?Report

    Reply
  3. Concerned in Atlanta January 16, 2022 3:25 pm

    Prologis has already submitted paperwork for demolition. This is why they won’t comment: they want no trouble until that permit is issued. They plan to build over 500,000 sf of last-mile distribution warehouses; a traffic nightmare. They have no use for any part of the building.

    Multiple buyers were looking at a redevelopment of much/all of the property.

    APC: please be on the case! If anyone reading this is concerned, please contact Antonio Lewis district 12 council member, or one of the at-large members. In a few weeks there will be a permit to demolish and it will be too late.Report

    Reply

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