Amid coronavirus, construction continues to repair former Masquerade

In December, the former mill and music venue partially collapsed in a construction mishap

The historic Excelsior Mill and former Masquerade music venue along Atlanta’s North Avenue partially collapsed in a construction mishap. The building, which neighbors Ponce City Market and the new Beltline Kroger, is in the process of being renovated into an office complex. (Photos courtesy of Coro Realty and Southeastern Capital)

While most of the city has come grinding to a halt amid the coronavirus outbreak, many construction projects (deemed essential work) across Atlanta continue. That includes the efforts to repair the historic DuPre Excelsior Mill, perhaps better known as the former Masquerade.

In December, the 118-year-old building partially collapsed in a construction mishap, drawing widespread ire online from the city’s preservation crowd.

However, in February, the site’s developers, Coro Realty and Southeastern Capital, committed to fully restoring the old venue along North Avenue to its previous glory.

In concert with the Atlanta Urban Design Commission and the Atlanta Department of City Planning, the developers said they would stabilize and fully restore the partially collapsed east-facing wall.

“We knew from the beginning we were going to restore the building. We spent considerable time and energy to ensure we could do it correctly and with the support of historic preservation groups and the city," Robert Fransen, Managing Partner, Coro Realty, said in a February press release. “We are now ready to move forward with rebuilding the east wall and completing The Mill’s adaptive reuse.”

Following the collapse, the developers said inspection showed that the wall had sustained “extensive damage” over the years.

“Under the guidance of structural engineers, construction crews have begun removing the loose stones and segments of the wall on the north and south sides. This work is being done in preparation for the restoration of the east wall,” according to the release.

Crews work this week on restoring the former Masquerade along Atlanta's North Avenue, which partially collapsed in a construction mishap in December.

Credit: Courtesy of David Mitchell

icon to expand image

Credit: Courtesy of David Mitchell

Amid the pandemic, crews continue to work at the former Mill site.

David Mitchell, Atlanta Preservation Center’s director of operations, said he’s happy to see them staying true to their word, “even despite a global pandemic.”

“With today's challenges being faced by global constraints, to see a local group living up to their word exemplifies why preservation connects us to our identity. And this is an example of how we will get through this and how we will be better for it,” Mitchell said.

The developers purchased the building in 2016. In 2019, they released renderings and their plans to renovate the property into office space.

According to a spokesperson, it’s unknown right now how long the restoration process will take.