Midtown West

National Register listed : King Plow/ Railroad Historic District

Contact: Richard S. Martin
Midtown West Associates
V: 404-892-4267
F: 404-873-1730
e-mail: rmartin@midtownwest.com
website: www.midtownwest.com
Includes these buildings documented in the Artery:
The Saddle Shop
Ragsdale Mule and Horse Company
SE Meat Company

UpChurch Packing

Readaptive Use Architects :
Smith-Dalia Architects

Mixed-use project on Marietta St. & Howell Mill Road

ABOVE: Architects rendering of post revitalization of area. A fine carpet shop is presently under construction/renovation in the 'V'.

Located adjacent to the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks in an historic, industrial section of northwest Atlanta, the MIDTOWN WEST district consists of seventeen buildings assembled over a fifty-three year period. The properties are bounded by Howell Mill Road, Marietta Street, Brady Avenue and Tenth Streets.

Phase I of the redevelopment consists of seven interconnecting industrial structures, and four freestanding structures, some of which date to the late eighteen hundreds. This phase of the MIDTOWN WEST redevelopment consists of the buildings along West Marietta Street, starting at the former Central Metals recycling facility on the southeast, and continuing west to the Norfolk Southern railroad right of way and West Marietta Street train overpass. The properties forming a triangle at Howell Mill, Marietta Street and Eighth Street, including the former Southeastern Meat property, are also included.

Exterior features of the building include brick masonry construction, load-bearing walls, multi-pane industrial sash windows, segmentally arched window and door openings, parapet walls, masonry copings, chimneys, and rooftop skylights. The interior includes a mixture of heavy timber post-and-beam supports, steel post-and-truss construction, wood and concrete floors, sliding metal doors, sprinkler system and large, open space.

For over a century this industrial area, including the THE BRICKWORKS properties, was the center of the livestock meat processing trade in the southeast. Cattle and other livestock were shipped from the western states to Atlanta where the buildings along Marietta St. and Brady Ave. were utilized as barns, meat processing plants, open air auction as well as for leather tanning and processing of harnesses used on the livestock of the era. The current Marta yard on Brady Ave. was the former site of the cattle holding pens. After the livestock was processed for grocery stores, the excess not needed in Atlanta was shipped to surrounding towns and cities by refrigerated truck. Various companies utilized the buildings in the area for meat processing including Swift & Co. and White Provision Co., now known as West 14th.

ABOVE: Photo 50 years earlier- looking North at intersection of Marietta Street and Howell Mill Road and at the location of Richard Martin Properties.

The 1000 Marietta St. building was used by the Palmer Brick Company as early as the 1880's thus the name THE BRICKWORKS. A livestock barn was constructed in the 1890s which was converted by the Colonial Stores to a grocery warehouse during World War Two. In 1949 the Martin family purchased the 1000 building for use as an appliance store, and later added furniture to the line of merchandise. A newer building located next door at 990 Marietta Street was added in the nineteen seventies, and was utilized as a furniture showroom. Charles S. Martin Distributing Company, Inc, a wholesale appliance and furniture distributor utilized many of the buildings in MIDTOWN WEST until its demise in 1993. The 990-1000 building will be renovated and restored as part of the larger redevelopment.

The 970-980 Marietta Street buildings were used as a livestock barn and later as a farm equipment showroom/ warehouse until the 1960s when the Ivan Allen Company purchased the property for office furniture storage. The Martin family co-founded Mayo Wholesale Furniture Company in the early 1980's as an offshoot of the Southeastern Furniture Company and purchased the property for use as office, showroom and warehouse for the new company. Mayo is one of the leading wholesale furniture showrooms in the southeast and now operates on Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard.

Miller Union Stock Yards Murphy Dairy Company Laura Haygood School SE Meat Company Surrender of Atlanta Saddle Shop Ragesdale Mule and Horse Company Upchurch Packing House Georgia Institute of Technology Exposition Cotton Mills Black Bear Brewery
The MIDTOWN WEST district is significant in architecture as an unsurpassed and intact example of utilitarian industrial designs used for manufacturing and storage facilities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The 1890s building represents the more traditional turn of the century multi-story construction methods of masonry buildings with heavy timber post-and-beam supports and the later 1900 buildings utilizing the more modern construction methods of steel post-and-truss structural system. The buildings spanning to the 1970s incorporated poured concrete walls, ceilings and floors with concrete post support. The most recent buildings used the conventional prefab metal and steel frame construction with typical slab floors. An architectural class could use this complex to study the entire spectrum of industrial construction spanning more than 100 years! The group of buildings is architecturally significant as it clearly exhibits in a single complex the shift from wood and masonry to steel curtain wall construction, and from segmentally arched windows and doors to larger steel framed, factory-sash windows, all made possible by new technology.

In Atlanta, this type of historic complex, although once common, is now increasingly rare due to demolition for new development or destruction by fire, neglect, etc. The railroad was a major component in the past (this is the same railroad Sherman used to visit Atlanta in 1864-shown in red above), making this complex also significant as a remnant of a nearly defunct industrial and distribution corridor active from before the Civil War until the completion of the Highway 41 (Northside Drive) in 1941. The buildings flanking this rail corridor represent an era of development and prosperity in Atlanta that is essential to the city's identity. The surviving buildings facing Marietta Street remain as the most visible example of the linear industrial topography which developed along the rail lines leading into Atlanta.

For thirty years or more the Marietta Street corridor has been in decline. As the buildings in the area became obsolete for their original uses, the great majority of the properties were either abandoned, allowed to decline into various states of despair or demolished.

ABOVE : 1998 status of buildings at the intersection of Marietta Street and Howell Mill Road . Since adaptive reuse in 2001 a fine carpet and flooring shop is presently located here.
The 1990's saw several, large rehabilitation projects including Hastings' Seed Company, the Carriage Works, Block Candy, the King Plow Arts Center, West Side, West 14th, Puritan Mills among others. These projects signaled the beginnings of the adaptive reuse of the area. Never again will these buildings function as originally constructed with their operation integrally intertwined with railroads and the transportation industry. The opportunity is quite evident, for possibly the final time in Atlanta, to rejuvenate the entire district bound together not only by the building topography, but by the single most historically defining manmade feature in Atlanta, the railroad. New projects including Alta West, the proposed LaCraw project, Ga Tech and Home Park master planning efforts and MIDTOWN WEST represent the continuing re-emergence of west side Atlanta as an historic area of Atlanta supporting a broad range of urban uses.

Richard Martin realized the opportunity that his family's buildings represented. Since 1998 Richard and Buckhead developer George Rohrig, best known for his Buckhead restaurant projects and the Loudermilk/Rohrig Peachtree Street loft developments, are venturing into the fast-growing Marietta Street loft corridor. They have been working to design a redevelopment plan for the historic structures which would keep intact the existing buildings and their original character while integrating the modern conveniences required in today's competitive office, live/work, retail market. The MIDTOWN WEST partnership has been actively acquiring out parcels in the area to complete its vision. The Southeastern Meat property, purchased in 1998, was the first loft renovation completed and is leased to a product design firm and a graphic design firm..

The Phase I redevelopment plan calls for renovation of the complex to yield in excess of 265,000 square feet of mixed use space. The complex has been planned and designed as a vital urban center that will be active 24 hours/ 7 days a week. Midtown West will become a popular Atlanta destination through innovative design and planning that creates an exciting place to work, live and play. The urban and architectural design will focus on the development of dynamic relationships between the historical buildings and new construction, creating an environment with a rich character defined by innovative spaces and architectural details, pedestrian friendly design, and all the amenities expected by office, retail, live/work occupants. The amenity package will include ample, secured parking, 24 hour on site security personnel, coffee shops, restaurants and other service related retailers. MIDTOWN WEST is an exciting addition to the redevelopment market because it can provide large, contiguous spaces all on one floor allowing larger companies to integrate employees on a single level. These amenities will be enhanced by the creation of a place so engaging and fascinating that it becomes a landmark in Atlanta, a destination where people want to be.

ABOVE : Architects rendering of the corner of Marietta Street and Brady Avenue looking North after revitalization.

MIDTOWN WEST enjoys both Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Zone status which provide many tax abatement incentives for both property owner and tenants. The benefit of lower property taxes allows the landlord to pass along his savings in the form of lower rents. Impact fee abatement allows cost savings in the construction and tenant build-out which also can be passed along to tenants. Tax credits are available to employers that hire employees living in one of the many designated zones. Private student housing for Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, and the Atlanta University Center are included. The campuses of all three universities are just minutes away from this complex.

MIDTOWN WEST is minutes away from I-75/ I-85/ I-285, the Midtown and Downtown business districts, yet is far enough away to avoid the traffic congestion and parking problems. Competitive rental rates ample parking and enjoyable amenities complete the package. The exposed turn-of-the-century brick walls and wood beams will give the buildings a warm feeling not experienced in the new glass towers downtown and in the suburbs.

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Miller Union Stock Yards Murphy Dairy Company Laura Haygood School SE Meat Company Surrender of Atlanta Saddle Shop Ragesdale Mule and Horse Company Upchurch Packing House Georgia Institute of Technology Exposition Cotton Mills Black Bear Brewery King Plow