Once upon a time, rumors suggested West Midtown’s iconic creative campus, the Goat Farm Arts Center, could be shut down and sold, a move that would’ve dealt a serious blow to Atlanta’s artist community.
But creators, art enthusiasts, and fans of the live goats that roam the circa-1880s complex needn’t worry; the Goat Farm is here to stay.
It just won’t stay the same, according to a development team.
The historic compound, located just west of the neighborhood’s rapidly evolving Howell Mill Road corridor, is set to undergo a $250 million revamp that will preserve many of the age-old buildings, as well as introduce new structures and attractions to the site.
The impending project is expected to grow the Goat Farm’s footprint five-fold, as Atlanta magazine pointed out.
To make way for the colossal expansion, the more than 500 people who live and/or work at the Goat Farm will be temporarily relocated, but, according to a Goat Farm press release, “98 percent of the artists, practitioners, and businesses have already registered to return.”
Led by Goat Farm’s development team, Anthony Harper, Allie Bashuk, Mark DiNatale, and Kris Knecht, plus its co-development partners, Tribridge and Tungsten Partners, the project is scheduled to begin construction this coming winter.
The whole shebang is slated to be finished in 2022.
The overhaul will entail renovating the site’s aging brick buildings. Corrugated metal buildings used by Goat Farm staff and tenants will meet the wrecking ball and be replaced by a Goat Farm and Tribridge Residential-developed artist studios, apartments, and live-work spaces, according to Atlanta.
Development standards adopted by the city require that 36 of those apartments will have to be considered affordable housing, but Goat Farm officials say people should expect more below-market rentals on top of that, per the release.
The finished product would also house the new 28,000-square-foot Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, some 80,000 square feet of artist work space, entrepreneurial studios, fabrication spaces, and two new restaurants.
Plus: A café and roastery, a 125-key arts-centric hotel co-developed by the Goat Farm and Tungsten Partners, multiple performance and exhibition venues, and a fabrication lab and three galleries, among other things.
Yes, it sounds ambitious.
“We’ve been learning, by trial and error, to be both an arts organization and developer for 10 years,” Anthony Harper, Goat Farm Arts Center founder, said in the release. “We’re taking what we’ve learned and making something rare, culturally productive, and economically self-reliant.”
To support programming, the Goat Farm is also aiming to double the amount of art grants it awards to between 40 and 60 grants, totaling $500,000 a year.
This story was updated on May 16, 2019 at 12:36 p.m. to include mention of the Goat Farm’s art grants ambitions.