Two industrial sites snapped up along southwestern Beltline

Abandoned factories to be developed for housing, potential job creation

Two properties along the southwestern segment of the Beltline were gobbled up recently, despite a large nearby project that fell through this summer.

Atlanta Beltline Inc., the city agency responsible for building the 22-mile trail, purchased a 9.3-acre site last month at the corner of Murphy Avenue and Avon Avenue for $5.25 million. A vacant, brick industrial building occupies most of the lot, surrounded by a chain-link fence with razor wire.

A half-mile east, Atlanta company RangeWater Real Estate LLC has agreed to purchase the former Exide battery plant, according to Capitol View neighborhood representatives. RangeWater has submitted design plans for the city’s review process.

The land deals have come after the city dropped a plan to hire a private developer for the 20-acre Murphy Crossing site located about a block to the north of both sites, providing little explanation for the change of plans.

Even with uncertainty surrounding Murphy Crossing, development remains active throughout the Capitol View and Oakland City neighborhoods.

Ackerman & Co. and MDH Partners plan to expand the nearby Lee+White mixed-use development with a new food hall, retail and office space. And construction crews began work in January on extending the Beltline’s Southside Trail-West, running near the Exide site.

Purchasing the Avon-Murphy property can help Beltline Inc., meet its goals for housing and job creation, CEO Clyde Higgs said in a news release.

“Pivoting to focus more intently on acquiring land sites provides a tremendous opportunity for scaling concentrated job creation centers, workforce development, affordable housing and transit-oriented development along the corridor,” Higgs said in the release.

Beltline Inc. plans to seek public comment to formulate plans for the Avon site, which had been owned by the state of Georgia.

RangeWater has submitted a zoning-variance application to the city for the 8.5-acre Exide battery site, and has proposed building a four-story, 323-unit residential building with access to Allene Avenue and Metropolitan Parkway.

Joseph Martinez, RangeWater’s state managing director, could not be reached for comment.

RangeWater’s plan is subject to city affordable-housing requirements for properties along the Beltline.

Affordable housing development in the Beltline corridor has lagged initial projections. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has promised to invest $1 billion in affordable housing.