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Fresh renderings of South Downtown’s Norfolk Southern renovation emerge

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The buildings’ facades are expected to maintain historic aesthetics, while interiors are retrofitted with residences

a rendering of the renewed Norfolk Southern building downtown
Permit filings indicate the two buildings will become 246 one- and two-bedroom residences.
Surber Barber Choate + Hertlein, via user Atlanta 3000

Two railroad company buildings older than a century in South Downtown appear to be inching toward rebirth.

Sandwiched between the Gulch and Ted Turner Drive, the connected, hulking white structures, collectively known as the Norfolk Southern Building, are slated to be primped and transformed into residences.

According to an update on the property’s LoopNet page, a site where companies market real estate, the wheels are turning on renovation plans. New sketches of the proposal appear to have emerged when the property’s profile was last updated in late June.

Last year, a shell company of developer CIM Group—the firm planning a billion-dollar overhaul of the underutilized Gulch—bought the Norfolk Southern Building. At just $62 per square foot, the company took all 400,000-plus square feet for $25 million.

Now, the structures that lord over rail yards inside the Gulch, once housing railroad operations offices, are supposed to be retrofitted into 246 one- and two-bedroom residences.

The renovation is being designed by architects Surber Barber Choate + Hertlein.

Permit filings suggest 90 of those would be studios, 108 would be one-bedrooms, and 48 would be two-bedrooms. There’s also a possibility that 50,000 square feet of retail space might utilize the lower floor abutting Ted Turner Drive.

The exterior of the buildings is expected to keep its original aesthetic—after a serious cleaning, of course—and the bridge bisecting the two structures, which hangs over the old Nelson Street viaduct, would be reopened, connecting South Downtown to Castleberry Hill.

An older rendering shows the building’s proximity to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Tentative project plans also call for 420 parking spaces.

With WRS’s Underground Atlanta revamp underway and Newport’s planned makeover of a few dozen South Downtown structures, The Norfolk Southern Building’s renewal is one of many projects that could change the face of the neighborhood forever.

A pair of eight-story white classical buildings, conneced by a five-story bridge over the street.
A recent photo shows that the reno plans won’t alter the broader aesthetic of the building.
Georgia Trust
As seen Wednesday, work appears to be underway at both buildings.
Curbed Atlanta