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Old Grant Park auto shop, now the latest beer bar, once had ambitious architectural plans

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Life has returned to the Harp Transmission building, another piece in Memorial Drive’s redevelopment

The building has now been painted white and renovated.
A view of the new restaurant and beer bar recently.
Photos: Sean Keenan, Curbed Atlanta, unless noted

For years, a decades-old transmission repair shop in Grant Park was sitting vacant, caught in limbo between its service-oriented past and Memorial Drive’s explosive redevelopment.

Now, the former Harp Transmission building has found new life as a self-serve beer bar.

Sited a couple blocks west of historic Oakland Cemetery, the new business is owned by Jarrett Gray and his sister Joy Gray Prince.

They recently had the aging building renovated to offer 3,000 square feet of space to eat, drink, and play games.

It’s called—aptly—The Harp.

A sign outside still says “Harp Transmission.”
A front view of the plain-looking building, with cars parked in an adjoining lot.

But the revival of the old auto shop brings to mind the ambitious Grant Park mixed-use development that never was—a proposal that might have been ahead of its time.

Back in 2017, developers Pellerin Real Estate and Clark Property R+D had plans build up from the bones of the auto building.

The proposed $16 million overhaul would have produced new office and retail space and a restaurant.

A modern building with a lot of glass rising out of a park space.
Early designs for the building’s reimagining, from three years ago.
Renderings: Square Feet Studio
A large glass modern building along a busy street.
The proposed view from Memorial Drive, with the former transmission building visible underneath.

Those plans, though, stirred controversy in neighboring communities because, among other reasons, early blueprints called for zero parking spots.

The project was billed as “Atlanta’s first park-oriented development,” but it never got off the ground.

Now, at least, the graffitied walls of a defunct building on a busy eastside corridor have been replaced with The Harp’s unique self-serve beer and wine options.

A parking lot appears to have about the same footprint as the building itself.
Parking made its way into the ultimate plans for the old site.
An old photo shows the Harp Transmission building with graffiti and wrapped in construction fencing.
The property at the end of 2018.
Google Maps