Few would argue against the assertion that the Goat Farm has become an indispensable institution, resource and asset to the Atlanta arts community. But just as interesting as the individuals renting studio space and the performances being held there is the evolving business story of how the property came to be what it is. As described in this piece in Atlanta Intown by one of the principals of Hallister Development, the owners of the Goat Farm, the property today functions as a sort of artist-supported collective, where the rent paid by those living in lofts or renting space partially subsidizes the performances and exhibitions held there, relieving these "experiences" of the need to necessarily generate income themselves. But it wasn't always this way. Indeed, the owners now fostering a sort of art & culture incubator were once merely real estate investor/developers, who gained control of the site in 2008 and were attempting to convert the Goat Farm into a mixed-use development in the vein of the successful developments around them like the Westside Urban Market and White Provision (they were also willing to flip the property to someone else). But those outcomes were rendered impracticable by the combination of the real estate crash and some inherent challenges with the site, primarily ingress and egress. The business model appears to have begun to shift in 2010 when Hallister closed on the property for some $7 million, as noted in a Creative Loafing piece. Patience, creativity and a lemonade-from-lemons attitude on the part of the owners seems to have allowed the current arrangement to develop organically, and moreover, created the potential of something even more significant arising on the Goat Farm property than another collection of hip boutiques and good restaurants. (Not that this would be the worst thing in the world, nor would we rule out some of those elements coming to the site in the future). As the real estate development business muddles its way through the lower rungs of the 'cycle,' the forces of art, culture and the market are demonstrating that there can be upsides to downturns.
· The Goat Farm: Urban Art Space [Atlanta Intown]
· Goat Farm gets sold [Creative Loafing]