Coca-Cola heir’s long-abandoned mansion to become a senior living community

The historic mansion has been featured in ‘Stranger Things,’ ‘Vampire Diaries’ and more

Learn more about the historic downtown Atlanta landmark in the AJC's "5 things to know" series.

Once the height of Atlanta society, then a head-turning zoo exhibit and magic emporium, mental health hospital, a dilapidated ruin, and, most recently, a movie and television set, the Briarcliff Mansion will soon start its next chapter. This time, the historic 1922 home of Coca-Cola heir Asa Candler, Jr. will be transformed into a senior living community.

Emory University announced the news on Thursday, revealing that the legendary 40-room Atlanta property — once featured in “Stranger Things,” “Vampire Diaries” and many other Hollywood features — will be restored after being abandoned for decades.

According to the university, which purchased the property in 1998, more information on the project will be revealed during a virtual community meeting on Tuesday, June 28, at 6:30 p.m. An in-person community meeting will be held Wednesday, June 29, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Claudia Nance Rollins building. Galerie Living will be entering a long-term lease for the property to develop the senior living community and restore the historic estate.

While Emory University is leasing all but 10 acres of the 42-acre estate to the senior living community, the university also mentioned plans to incorporate the property with its campus.

“The restoration of the mansion will be extensive,” David C. Payne, associate vice president of planning and engagement at Emory, said in a news release. “Once it is restored, we are hopeful that there will be opportunity for campus and community use.”

Galerie Living hopes to break ground on the project by next year, or possibly in 2024. Emory University hopes to restore the historic mansion to its former glory.

“The Candler Mansion was truly elegant in its heyday and should be restored to its grandeur. This plan will do that,” Payne said.

In “Forty Acres of Fairyland,” published by what is now The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a reporter described the property: As one enters, “the grounds resemble a great park.... A popular spot is the swimming pool, which is enjoyed by Mr. Candler, his family and friends. Below the swimming pool is located the bath house, built of cream brick, with marble partitions and tile floors, eight dressing rooms, two showers, dressing tables, mirrors and other conveniences.”

Following Candler Jr.’s many additions to the property, the Briarcliff Mansion ultimately featured several greenhouses, two solariums, a ballroom and a zoo. The estate is featured in the National Registry of Historic Properties.

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