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Peachtree Street church to developers: Come build affordable housing on our 1.8 acres

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Downtown’s historic Atlanta First United Methodist Church wants “God-size vision” for parking lots, side buildings

A downtown Atlanta stone church with high-rises behind it.
Atlanta First United Methodist Church, as seen in 2009.
Wikimedia Commons

The latest downtown Atlanta church to offer land in a high-profile place is looking for the right developers to bring what church leaders call a “God-size vision” to fruition.

The intent at downtown’s historic Atlanta First United Methodist Church, which has been housed in a gothic-style sanctuary at 360 Peachtree Street for more than 115 years, is twofold, leaders say: to capitalize on a surging intown real estate market while answering the call for more affordable housing.

Specifically, the church is seeking partners though a Request For Proposals process to transform 1.8 acres of downtown land it owns between Peachtree and West Peachtree streets, immediately south of the Medical Arts Building.

Apart from some renovations, the church building would not be changed.

A photo from above a church and neighboring blocks in downtown.
The site’s breakdown, with Peachtree Street at bottom right.
Remaining images courtesy of 360 Peachtree Street

For now, the site consists of pay parking lots, an existing education building, and an outbuilding that’s not being used.

Church representative Kevin Holt said the goal is to create a mixed-use affordable housing node that—given the site’s SP1 zoning classification—could hypothetically be a tower rising 50 stories or more.

“The church would like to develop something impactful,” Holt tells Curbed Atlanta, via email. “But the actual scope will depend on the plans developed with the chosen development partner.”

As stipulated in the RFP, one component beyond “affordable/attainable housing” will have to be at least 50,000 square feet for an expansion of the church’s Atlanta First Day School, with parking for at least 150 vehicles.

A survey graphic of lots available in downtown Atlanta.
Survey of the site in question, with church parcels outlined in black.

The ministry has operated downtown for more than 170 years.

“As the delineator between downtown and midtown, we believe the time has come to make a significant impact in our city for the days to come,” Reverend Jasmine Rose Smothers writes in the RFP. “To bring this God-size vision to life, we’re looking for the ideal real estate development partner who shares our vision and values while considering the best and highest mission and use.”

The RFP is now available for viewing at 360PeachtreeStreet.com.

An aerial view of a church and parking lots.
From behind the church today.

An onsite tour for interested parties is planned September 10, and all final proposals are due October 7.

In December, another downtown house of worship, the 151-year-old First Congregational Church, issued a similar RFP call to redevelop a smaller, .8-acre parcel near the corner of Ellis and Courtland streets.

We’ve asked officials for updates on that proposal and will add any information to this story that comes.

A drone image of a church in downtown Atlanta.
Drone view of the church’s Peachtree Street frontage.