Westside commercial district Lee+White to expand along Beltline

Developers have released details of a $65 million expansion of the Lee+White commercial district on the Westside, a Beltline project they say will proceed despite the coronavirus.

Ackerman & Co. and MDH Partners will construct a new building with a modern design and renovate two 1950s-era industrial warehouses, adding to the property’s buildings that are already occupied. The expansion will include a 17,000 square-foot food hall, 30,000 square feet of retail, 145,000 square feet of offices and up to 250 apartments.

Numerous breweries, a distillery and a beer merchant at Lee+White have become popular destinations, but the development has the potential for more, said Leo Wiener, president of retail at Ackerman & Co. With direct access to a completed segment of the Beltline trail and its location less than a half-mile from the West End MARTA station, Lee+White can attract patrons around the clock, he said.

“We’re really trying to diversify and really activate the daytime use,” he said. “Right now, it’s mostly active only on nights and weekends.”

Existing tenants, including the breweries Monday Night and Wild Heaven, have largely remained open for takeout orders during the coronavirus shutdown and their business has remained steady, Wiener said. Ackerman and MDH have received fewer requests for rent deferrals than they expected. Foot traffic has improved since restaurants were allowed to reopen dining rooms on April 27.

Ackerman and MDH are financing the expansion project themselves. They expect the first phase of construction to start this fall and be completed by the end of the year. They’re in talks with potential retail tenants but have not finalized any agreements. Residential will be the last part added and will be completed in two to three years.