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Key Westside Corner Vacated. Can Development be Far Behind?

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The intersection of Howell Mill Road and 14th Street is the epicenter — or at least the original epicenter — of the Westside's resurgence as a retail and dining district and hotbed of condos and apartments. So it stands to reason that a business specializing in forklifts, earthmovers, aerial work platforms and so forth would eventually yield to something else. The first step toward something else appears to be happening now. The longtime occupant of the intersection's southeast corner, United Rentals, has vacated the property, leaving behind a lot of asphalt, some fencing, a garage and some sort of outbuilding. A United Rentals representative confirmed this week that the Howell Mill Road business had been moved to a new facility off Bolton Road, about eight miles away. It's obviously prime property, and the big trade school around the corner just might control its destiny.

A person familiar with the situation provided Curbed with a recent message sent from Georgia Tech's Real Estate Development director regarding the former United Rentals parcel. In it, the Tech official says the school is actively seeking another tenant, and that the heavy equipment business moved because they'd found another suitable location. "We do plan on developing the parcel in the future," the director wrote, "but there are no specific plans or schedule at this time."

Messages left this week with Georgia Tech were not returned. We'll post an update if more information is provided.

Property records list the owner as VLP Two, an LLC with an address on Georgia Tech's campus. They purchased the 3.2 acres for $865,000 in 2004. Tax records suggest it's worth nearly $2 million now.

The site is surrounded by ground-up development, successful redevelopment projects such as White Provisions and interesting proposals along the Howell Mill corridor.

· The Rapidly Changing Face of Atlanta's Western Front [Curbed]
· 'Waterworks Park' Vision Moves Ahead Despite Complications [Curbed]