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After construction mishap, repair of Old Fourth Ward’s iconic Excelsior Mill launches

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Officials: Abuse of the 118-year-old former Masquerade music venue was a culprit in the collapse

A gaping hole in the side of the old brick structure.
A wall collapsed where the Purgatory music venue once was.
Sean Keenan, Curbed Atlanta

Historic preservationists and patrons of Atlanta’s music scene collectively gasped when a section of Old Fourth Ward’s Excelsior Mill building came crumbling down in December.

After all, the late 1800s structure was for decades home to the legendary Masquerade music hall, where famous acts like Nirvana, Radiohead, Green Day, and The Ramones had played.

But today, representatives for developers Southeastern Capital Companies and Coro Realty announced that crews are in the process of fully restoring the damaged building—although it won’t return as a concert venue.

The Atlanta Urban Design Commission and the city’s planning department helped the developers sort out how the collapsed east wall—which used to be part of the Masq’s Purgatory music venue—could be repaired.

Per the development team, longstanding abuse of the venue was a culprit in the construction mishap.

“Further inspection of the accident revealed extensive damage to the interior of that section of the wall sustained over the years,” reads a press release from the development team. “Construction crews have now reinforced the remaining wall to limit further damage.”

Having purchased the former Excelsior Mill in 2016, the joint venture now plans to renovate the historic building into the growing neighborhood’s next high-end office development.

A rendering shows how the old buildings could be reimagined as office space.
The vision for the offices.
Smith Dalia Architects, via Southeastern Capital Companies and Coro Realty

Crews are now removing the loose stones and pieces of wall on the north and south sides of the building, while they gear up to restore the east side.

It’s unclear exactly how long the renovation will take, since the development team still needs to acquire permits from the city.

Needless to say, though, historic preservation wonks are glad the 118-year-old building is coming back to life.

The Atlanta Preservation Center has “advocated for the Excelsior Mill’s protection for years, and we’re very grateful for Southeastern Capital Companies and Coro Realty’s dedication to the stewardship of this building,” said David Y. Mitchell, the Atlanta Preservation Center’s director of operations, per the release.

“This project has produced unique challenges, and the sincere focus of all parties involved exhibits the courage and commitment we need for preservation,” he added.

A rendering if the offices’ interior, with original wooden framing, bricks, and flooring mixed with new elements. Smith Dalia Architects, via Southeastern Capital Companies and Coro Realty