North Avenue runs across the city, linking neighborhoods in the east like Old Fourth Ward with western places like English Avenue, along the way passing Georgia Tech, Coca-Cola’s world headquarters, and Bank of America Plaza — the tallest building in the southeast.
While development on the street’s eastern reaches has boomed in recent years thanks to projects like the Beltline, Ponce City Market, and Historic Fourth Ward Park, the western end has been an entirely different story.
On the southwest edge of Georgia Tech lies the neighborhood of English Avenue. The neighborhood, like others on the western side of downtown, has spent years isolated from the investment occurring to the east. But tides are slowly beginning to change.
Local developer John Ayers is in the process of converting two old industrial buildings into loft offices. Billed as “Technology Beehive” — a nod to nearby Georgia Tech — on the architectural drawings, the facility will bring 17,000 square feet of trendy office space to what is now a fairly rundown and blighted area.
Located a few blocks west of Northside Drive along North Avenue, the old brick buildings have definitely seen better days. But drawings show that the shell will be reused, lending a sense of character to the new “icehouse” and “blockhouse” buildings.
Plans call for work to wrap up in April, with additional phases possible down the road, which could bring total office area to over 40,000 square feet.
The investment is different than others the area has been experiencing.
Most of the changes in neighborhoods like Vine City, Ashview Heights, and English Avenue have centered around housing and greenspace — much of it tied to grants stemming from the construction of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Creating revitalized commercial and office spaces that characterize rebounds in other parts of town could lend a different sort of vibrancy.
While one office development doesn’t spell salvation for the area, the project hints at some positive changes on the western front.