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Photos: Reynoldstown’s Atlanta Dairies development is (finally) showing signs of life

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Apartments are leasing, and a new coffee bar just opened at the Memorial Drive site

a picture of the development
An office building is slated to rise on the lawn fronting the new apartments (at right).
Photos: Sean Keenan, Curbed Atlanta

At long last, Reynoldstown’s Atlanta Dairies mixed-use community has a heartbeat.

The Paces Properties-developed project was first announced in early 2015, and many observers have been scratching their heads over when the Memorial Drive site would actually be activated.

As of earlier this month, tenants have begun moving into the more than 300-unit apartment complex Alta Dairies. Elsewhere, the Dairies Coffee House and Cold Brew Bar is officially open for business and—at least on a visit this week—already slammed with customers.

The apartments on Memorial Drive.
The newly opened coffee shop.

The backyard component is now flush with new green space and seating, where Decatur-based brewer Three Taverns will be introducing the “Imaginarium”—planned to be “equal parts laboratory, brewery, and tasting room”—at the adaptive-reuse development in coming months. (Three Taverns expects to open doors in Reynoldstown this year, per recent Facebook updates.)

But there’s still plenty of work to be done at the 11-acre property.

The owners of Variety Playhouse and Athens’s Georgia Theatre are soon to break ground on a music venue fit for 2,200 concertgoers and equipped with a rooftop hangout.

An old loading dock brings pedestrians from Memorial Drive to the coffee shop, backyard, and one day, a music venue. Offices are planned in the foreground.
The backyard, as seen from one of the many catwalks that will connect the entire complex.
Fire pits, seating, and plenty of greenery below the coffee shop’s patio.

An indoor venue, called “The Eastern,” which is scheduled to debut in spring 2020, is slated to host around 150 events annually.

And a 45,000-square-foot office building fronting Memorial Drive in front of part of the apartment complex has yet to begin construction. Paces Properties CEO David Cochran told Curbed Atlanta on a recent tour his team is in talks with a tenant that could claim the whole space—not including the ground-floor retail.

The site is also expected to one day host an old-school-style Collier’s Departmenr Store and a diner called Wonderkid, which will feature King of Pops ice cream—that’s right, ice cream—and stay open until 2 a.m.

A hallway fronting Memorial Drive will be transformed into public space with seating and other activations. The department store would go in the unit at the right near the door. Plans call for the diner to be accessed through the door to the left.
A catwalk that links office space to the apartments and parking deck.

So what’s the deal with a four-year building and renovation process?

Cochran said the project’s many facets complicated its funding mechanisms.

“There were so many moving parts with this project when it came to the apartments, the music venue, these historic pieces,” he said. “All of these elements needed to happen in a successive manner. The lending markets wanted all of these things to happen first before they gave us their money to build the buildings.”

The brewery will occupy this lofty unit in the backyard. Expect a giant grain silo to be stationed at right.

Cochran added that companies behind the music venue and the apartments “all wanted to see our project moving before they committed dollars” to their respective projects.

“Our lenders saw it the other way around,” he said. “So it was like two people standing there, looking at each other, saying, ‘Who’s going to go first?’ It was problematic.”

One lender even walked away, saying, “This is just too pioneering for us,” Cochran said. “I thought that was a huge compliment, but in this case, it really blew up in our faces.”

Paces Properties is still aiming to secure a couple of more restaurant and retail tenants, as well as ink deals with a handful of office lessees.

Cochran said he expects all the spaces to be full and operational by mid-2020.

In the meantime, take a peek at what the site looks like today.

The gap for planned offices.
Transformative development on both sides of Memorial Drive.
One of the available office spaces.
A rendering of what’s to come, with the office building in the foreground.
Perkins + Will
A courtyard and the planned brewery beyond.
The yard, as ultimately envisioned.
Perkins+Will renderings courtesy of Paces Properties
An early sketch of the yard.

UPDATED: April 22, 10:54 a.m. — Atlanta Dairies reps have shared the following updated site plan: