Gentrification is old hat in neighborhoods like Grant Park and Cabbagetown, but the street dividing them — Memorial Drive — has managed to maintain its gritty character in spite of the changes. According to a reader tip, at least a segment of it could be losing that defining aesthetic in the near future, but could that be to the corridor's detriment? Brad O. notified Curbed Atlanta of the impending demolition of the old Atlanta Dairies building, a 10 acre complex that seriously flirted with destruction a few years ago. In some ways, it's a case of deja vu.
Flash back to 2008, and the site was under contract for - what else - a snazzy new mixed use development. Offices, retail, and apartments were all part of the plan, but the most anticipated newcomer was a little guy called Publix. In an area that was (and is) starving for more neighborhood conveniences, it was no small news indeed. As an aside, none of the existing buildings were planned for preservation. But when the grocer got cold feet, the plan ultimately collapsed just like the economy surrounding it.
The intown real estate market has been showing signs of life for a while now, so renewed interest in the Atlanta Dairies site is no big surprise. The larger question is whether or not this time around some parts of the complex will be saved. As Brad points out, certain aspects of the structure lend themselves well to such niceties as dining patios and covered walkways. Not to mention, the sense of place inherent in old industrial buildings is just the thing people seem to crave these days. One has to admit it's working pretty well for places like Ponce City Market and White Provisions. The architecture's in the same vein as the much-discussed and similarly imperiled Atlanta Constitution Building, what with its rounded corners, ribbon windows, and no-nonsense styling. Both sites could use new energy, but it remains to be seen whether or not these survivors will be around for the next phase of Atlanta's never ending rebirth.