Updates to Ford Factory facade draws ire from some online

The Beltline-adjacent building, which was formerly a Ford factory, is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation

The former Ford Motor Company Plant was built at 699 Ponce de Leon Avenue in 1914. (Credit: AJC file photos)

Last century, it was a factory churning out Fords. Now, it’s home to residential and commercial tenants. It’s also the latest building along the Beltline’s Eastside Trail to get a facelift — drawing ire from some on the internet.

The former Ford Motor Company Plant was built at 699 Ponce de Leon Avenue in 1914. From 1915-1942, it served as the company's Southeastern headquarters. At the time, the neighborhood was dominated by factories.

But that is a bygone era.

In the latest string of renovations to buildings in the area, the red brick facade of the Ford Factory Lofts began to be covered by a fresh coat of white paint this weekend.

Some preservationists were quick to decry the change on social media.

"The Ford Factory Lofts are not designated by Atlanta as historic, nor is the building in a local historic district," Charles Lawrence, with Atlanta Preservation Alliance, wrote in a Facebook post, according to What Now Atlanta. "Therefore, there is no design review for exterior painting (or anything else, like replacing windows). Further, five years after receiving historic tax credits, an owner may do as they wish with a tax credit project building, even tear it down."

It’s the latest step in a planned multimillion-dollar renovation to the building, which is next door to the recently opened Beltline Kroger.

The renovations include 34,500 square feet of retail space and more than 100 upgraded loft apartments, Atlanta Intown previously reported.

It's not the first time in the building's history that it has undergone upgrades. In the 1940s, Ford sold the factory to the War Department. It was used as storage space for the Army and Air Force, according to the National Park Service.

During that period, a number of changes were made to the interior of the building, which included “partitioning much of the open space and flooring over the light well at both the third and fourth levels,” according to NPS.

On Twitter, Eric Phillips, who describes himself as a “local street advocate for tech, transportation, and healthy living,” shared a picture of crews painting the building.

“Atlanta needs to stop,” he wrote.

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