In early 2015, developers, neighborhood leaders, and city politicians cheered when plans emerged for a trendy stack of offices that would replace notorious drug houses and burned-out apartments a block from Ponce City Market in Old Fourth Ward.
The vacant and problematic properties were bulldozed in March, clearing the way for a $55-million venture called 525 North, but the site has been strangely fallow since.
Why? Money, that’s why.
According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, 525 North is in serious jeopardy because developer Seven Oaks Co. hasn’t been able to lock down construction financing for a building that would have 165,000 square feet, a rooftop communal space for tenants, and some street retail.
The property (owned by RPG Holdings) is back on the market with hopes of selling before year’s end — for north of $6 million. Apartment developers are reportedly circling the site and making offers, but Seven Oaks still plans to make an offer themselves, so the vision isn’t totaling DOA, the newspaper reports.
Meanwhile, the office market is surging just blocks to the east.
The ABC reports that Ponce City Market is fetching more than $40 per square foot in office rents, which is the highest in Atlanta, and using planned retail slots for more office tenants. Plus, the 725 Ponce venture that killed Murder Kroger will have a dozen stories of offices.
Interestingly, a Seven Oaks official told the ABC he’s still bullish on the Old Fourth Ward’s office prospects and those of 525 North, but the lending environment right now is acting as a “governor” on spec development that’s strangled Atlanta during economic rebounds in the past.
Below are more glimpses of the endangered 525 North vision: