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As 725 Ponce offices debut next door, Ford Factory Lofts updates rile preservationists

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The century-old building is undergoing a major visual transformation

Crews, using a green cherry-picker, are painting the old red brick white.
Bid farewell to the old red brick at the former Ford plant.
u/MisterSeabass, via Reddit

The weekend after developer New City celebrated the grand opening of its hulking new office stack in Poncey-Highland, historic preservationists became fired up over significant changes to the building next door.

Crews were photographed recently painting the red-brick sides of the century-old Ford Factory Lofts building white, and fans and protectors of old architecture shook their collective heads, decrying the updates as classic Atlanta.

For years, the Ford Factory property had lorded over the infamous grocery store on Ponce de Leon Avenue known as “Murder Kroger.”

Now, that grocery store is gone, replaced with a shiny, lively new one that’s topped by 725 Ponce, New City’s freshly opened block of concrete and glass standing over the Beltline’s Eastside Trail.

The area is undergoing a transformation that shows few signs of slowing, and it appears that saving the historic brick facade of the former Ford factory just wasn’t in the cards.

The painting is reportedly part of a multi-million-dollar renovation effort by the building’s owner, according to What Now Atlanta.

Unfortunately, though, the age-old brick and the structure it encases aren’t protected by any historic designation.

It’s not yet clear what the owner has in store for the painted-over brick—a new mural, perhaps—and this story will be updated if officials can be reached.

Meanwhile, things are looking brighter at the Beltline-facing southern facade of windows at 725 Ponce, where huge art projections—long a source of pride for the development team—have commenced.

Five stories forming the rectangular glass feature have mechanical shades that can be closed to form what’s essentially a huge screen for projecting movies and commissioned art pieces.

New City president Jim Irwin told Curbed Atlanta during construction phases the feature will be used for special occasions, noting: “It’s not a billboard... It’s intended for community enhancement.”