Developer proposes turning AT&T building near East Lake MARTA into condos

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt October 30, 2018

A rendering of the proposed condo development at the AT&T building. Image obtained via the city of Decatur.

Local developer Thrive Group plans to buy the AT&T building near the East Lake MARTA station and redevelop it into 34 condos.

The property was recently identified in a Livable Centers Initiative Study about the East Lake MARTA station.

Angela Threadgill, Decatur’s Planning Director, said while the site itself — located on the southwest corner of Park Place and East Lake Drive — was not a part of that study, the study did identify it as an opportunity for preservation.

“The property was not specifically studied, but the commercial building at 108 Park Place is called out as a potential historic resource and many participants during the study strongly suggested that the building be preserved and adaptively reused should AT&T look to sell it,” Threadgill said.

Thrive CEO Chris Rudd said that is what the company plans to do. The building was once used as office and training space for AT&T and at one time was the central switchboard for Oakhurst and all of southern Decatur.

“We wouldn’t be tearing down anything,” Rudd said. “We’d be keeping the entire structure, just opening it up, adding some windows, bringing in some more light. It’s a remarkably impressive building. It’s a solid concrete building. There isn’t a single crack in the entire building. It’s in great shape.”

Rudd said the condos would be for sale at market rate. He said the company is under contract to purchase the property and said AT&T put it on the market 60 to 90 days ago and there was a bidding process.

“We got it under contract in the last 45 days,” he said.

Rudd did not think his company’s project would speed up MARTA’s plans to transform the East Lake station into a transit-oriented development with space for 430 multifamily housing units. MARTA has said it is focused on other areas on the transit line, and plans for transit oriented developments tend to gather dust before they are ever put to use. For comparison purpose, the Livable Centers Initiative Study for the Avondale MARTA Station Transit Oriented Development currently under construction was developed in 2002.

“My personal opinion is it will have limited effect,” Rudd said. “MARTA has got a bigger mission.”

Thrive has an application pending before the city Planning Commission for a conditional use permit.

The Planning Commission will meet on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street. All meetings are open to the public.

To see Thrive’s application, click here.

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