Avondale Arts Alliance moving into brick-and-mortar buildingThe Avondale Arts Alliance is moving into 84 N. Avondale Road for a year. Photo by Zoe Seiler.
This story has been updated.
Avondale Estates, GA — The Avondale Arts Alliance is moving into the former Finder’s Keepers building at 84 N. Avondale Road. The facility will serve as a pop-up art gallery and workshop space for the arts alliance.
The building is owned by the Avondale Estates Downtown Development Authority. The property is slated to become a hotel, parking garage and townhome development.
Communications Director Ellen Powell told Decaturish, construction won’t begin for a while on the hotel.
“Nothing will begin until a development agreement is entered into with the DDA, and while the project is still moving forward, the development agreement is still in the distance,” she said.
The Avondale Estates City Commission, at its May 11, 2022, meeting, approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Downtown Development Authority to transfer city-owned property at 84 N. Avondale Road to the DDA to facilitate the redevelopment of properties in line with the city’s downtown master plan. This includes developing a hotel near the Town Green.
In July 2023, the DDA held a special called meeting to approve a memorandum of understanding with a new developer, Apsilon Hotels, for the hotel and parking garage project. The project includes construction of just over one acre next to the Avondale Estates’ Town Green. The hotel site is located along Highway 278/ North Avondale Road at the corner of Lake Street. According to the MOU, the development will include at least 90 hotel rooms, a conference room and event facilities, other amenity facilities, ground floor retail, and a parking deck behind the hotel.
The boutique hotel with an accompanying parking garage at Town Green would be Avondale Estates’ first hotel. The parking deck will have at least 240 spaces and be behind the townhomes and hotel, so it won’t be visible from North Avondale Road. Most of the spaces in the parking deck will be reserved for public use to meet the demands of visitors to the park and businesses. About 20 spaces will be dedicated to the townhomes, 60 dedicated to the hotel and the remainder will be public parking, according to the MOU.
In the meantime, the arts alliance will set up their headquarters in the building for one year.
“It’s been sitting vacant since 2022, when the city purchased it with the intent to demolish the building, as well as the building next door that was Edwin Jarvis. That is still the plan. One big caveat with this is that it’s not forever,” Avondale Arts Alliance President Isadora Pennington said during an event at the space on Jan. 11. “This is going to be the headquarters of the Avondale Arts Alliance. It’s where we’ll have our meetings, but it’s also where we’ll have regular art shows.”
The building will be called the Avondale Arts Center, and the arts alliance hopes to open its first art show this month. At the center, the alliance will offer special events rentals, photography studio services, summer camps, a workshop space for lessons, and space for art shows and art to be displayed.
“We really want to be a community space, because for us, the alliance, it’s not just about making art, producing art, and showing art, it’s also about creating and cultivating community based around art,” Pennington told Decaturish.
The arts alliance had talked with the city about utilizing the space and promoting art in the city.
“We have been having ongoing conversations with the Avondale Arts Alliance and are always looking for ways to lift up the arts in Avondale Estates. This arrangement creates a small opportunity to do that,” Avondale Estates Assistant City Manager Shannon Powell said.
The arts center will be open to the public during the Avondale Farmers Market hours, which operates on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Part of the lease agreement requires that the building be open during the farmers market to provide restrooms.
“We will also be open during exhibition opening events, which is probably more like once a month,” Pennington told Decaturish. “As we get further down the line, I’d love to offer more standing open hours, but considering that we have to staff the space anytime the doors are open to the public, right now that’s it for our public access. People can rent the space outside of those hours of course, and I’m happy to arrange private tours as well.”
Some work will need to be done to renovate the building. The arts alliance received $3,500 from the DDA to paint the main space in the center, repair the walls, and fix the lighting. The arts alliance is also fundraising to be able to repair the walls in the workshop area and add a security system, among other repairs and needs.
“The walls don’t go to the floor in the other rooms, which is because no one has been keeping up with this building and there was a big freeze and a pipe burst. We need to raise additional funds if we want to make this something we can use and can benefit the community in a vital way,” Pennington said.
To fix up the building, the arts alliance is asking for volunteers and will host community work days on Sunday, Jan. 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Once construction of the hotel begins, the arts alliance hopes to have built a business concept that’s robust enough to translate into another space in the community.
To learn more about the Avondale Arts Alliance and the art center, click here.
Here are renderings of the renovations:
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