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Conversion of 1950s Ponce church to upscale condos, townhomes roars ahead

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Prices at the multifaceted 1200 Ponce project will begin in the mid-$500Ks

A photo of the church in another era.
The Ponce-facing sanctuary, at right, in another era.

Atlanta’s church-conversion trend is continuing in a major way at the intersection of several tony eastside neighborhoods.

A towering sanctuary and ancillary buildings, the longtime home of Druid Hills United Methodist Church and its preschool, are being reimagined as a multifaceted condo and townhome community where Ponce de Leon Avenue meets Briarcliff Road.

Construction fencing has recently surrounded the site, branded with the multi-phased project’s name: 1200 Ponce.

The latest intown venture by Minerva Homes, 1200 Ponce is marketed as a combination of “architectural heritage of the original church and school building with the modern appeal of contemporary living and newly constructed buildings,” per the project website. Expect 51 homes once three phases are complete.

Options will include flats and townhomes with one to four bedrooms, spanning from 1,600 to 4,200 square feet. Prices will span from the mid-$500,000s to more than $1 million, per Minerva officials.

The circa-1954 church is the work of architect Buck Crook, who designed it and roughly 20 other houses of worship around Atlanta in the Greek Revival style. The congregation grudgingly vacated the property in 2016.

Minerva’s other adaptive-reuse projects in Atlanta include the Giant Apartment Lofts downtown and Inman Park’s Waddell Street Lofts.

Elsewhere, the company’s portfolio of multifamily ventures counts the Axis condos and townhomes in Candler Park, 17 townhomes near Edgewood’s MARTA train station, and a mix of Art Deco-inspired condos and townhouses near Emory University called Sophia Druid Hills.

An overview of the project’s existing and planned new buildings.
Courtesy of Minerva

Officials tell Curbed Atlanta the first phase of residences should be complete by the end of next summer. That includes the existing sanctuary, school building, and the new white house seen above.

The phase following that is called building D (seen at back right above), to be followed finally by building C (seen at top).

The repurposing of churches around intown Atlanta isn’t new (the Providence on Ponce lofts project wrapped nearly 15 years ago), but the trend has gained steam in recent years.

More recent conversions include comedy troupe Dad’s Garage’s takeover of Atlanta Metropolitan Christian Church (following a “desanctification ceremony”), Inman Park’s Lizzie Chapel Flats, and architecture firm Kronberg Wall’s reimagining of a Reynoldstown church.

The O4W church, as seen from Highland Avenue, in 2016.
Google Maps

Neighbors tell Curbed Atlanta an ongoing transformation of Progression Church next to Highland Bakery (above) in Old Fourth Ward will bring loft offices to the neighborhood. Project leaders haven’t responded to inquiries.

Below is a sampling of interior renderings included in Snow’s 1200 Ponce promotional materials:

Renderings: Allen Snow Associates