Atlantans with a soft spot for adaptive-reuse architecture and the University of Georgia might want to take note for future trips to Athens.
A $60-million, mixed-use factory redevelopment called Wire Park is taking shape just south of The Classic City in Oconee County’s Watkinsville, about an hour east of downtown Atlanta. It’s expected to bring the region’s first food hall and retain much of the property’s historic industrial character.
The 66-acre site functioned for more than 50 years as a wire manufacturing plant (thus, the project’s name), and according to renderings, the end result could give off Krog Street Market vibes. Only with housing. And baseball.
Wire Park is considered the area’s first large-scale, adaptive-reuse venture, according to project reps. Gibbs Capital, an Athens-based boutique real estate company, is leading development, while Atlanta architect Dan Osborne and Athens-based E+E Architecture were tapped to design.
It’s quite the mix of uses, with 130 residences, 225,000 square feet of retail and offices, a new Oconee County Library, and an indoor baseball training facility spanning nearly 29,000 square feet all in the mix.
Expansive greenspaces are also planned around the property, where programming such as live music, movie nights, farmers markets, and fitness classes is expected to take place.
Deeper into the complex, a central courtyard flanked by shops and eateries and no shortage of exposed brick will be shaded by steel beams that once held up the factory’s roof.
“Preserving the building’s historic significance has been a priority from the beginning,” said Gibbs Capital CEO Duke Gibbs in a recent announcement provided to Urbanize Atlanta. “We’re reusing and repurposing as many materials as possible.”
Leasing for the food hall and other restaurant and retail spaces is being led by the Stafford company, which is focusing on "cultivating a dynamic mix of both local and new-to-market chefs, makers, and purveyors to create something truly unique,” said Mellissa Ahrendt, Stafford’s director of leasing.
The Wire Park office component is fully leased, having signed 11 businesses that include the corporate headquarters of Golden Pantry and Smith Planning Group, according to project reps.
Meanwhile, the residential section is expected to break ground later this summer. Plans call for 21 townhouses, 53 single-family homes (ranging from 1,600 to 3,500 square feet), and 56 condos that are taking pre-sale reservations now.
Wire Park is scheduled to start opening next spring. Scope the latest renderings in the gallery above.
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