Atlanta BeltLine Inc. is again seeking a developer to buy and transform what could be one of the most important economic centers adjacent to the trail in Southwest Atlanta.

BeltLine officials announced today they’ve issued a request for proposals for historic Murphy Crossing, a 20-acre site in Oakland City that once operated as the Georgia Farmers Market and currently includes about a dozen warehouses and other buildings.

Murphy Crossing overlooks a section of the Westside Trail and shares a border with Adair Park and Capitol View, where neighbors have expressed hope the property’s redevelopment can boost the area with jobs and transportation options.

Murphy Crossing's proximity to the Westside Trail, Adair Park, and redeveloping warehouse district Lee+White (top left). Google Maps

watermark The Murphy Crossing property as southbound BeltLine travelers see it. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

The BeltLine in 2018 spent $2.5 million for the last 2.5-acre piece of Murphy Crossing, boosting their holdings at the site to 20 acres—a more enticing palette for developers, as BeltLine leaders said at the time.

But the BeltLine cancelled another RFP for the site last year “due in part to the impacts of COVID,” according to a press release today. South Carolina developer WRS Realty, which recently sold Underground Atlanta after years of development delays, had been in talks about buying Murphy Crossing for roughly $200 million; but WRS’s involvement drew scorn from activists who questioned the ability of a company known for erecting Walmart Supercenters to properly revive a complex site in a non-suburban district.

At one point, WRS was in talks to partner with another developer, Place Properties, on the Murphy Crossing deal but later backed away. The BeltLine officially cancelled its memo of understanding with Place Properties last summer.

Since that turbulence, the BeltLine has engaged in a fresh slate of public meetings and surveys while redrawing initial plans to come up with a new draft RFP.

The 20-acre property's scope, bordered by a MARTA line in Southwest Atlanta. Photo by The Sintoses, courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

The latest RFP seeks a development company to buy and redevelop Murphy Crossing “with a focus on creating the maximum number of sustainable living-wage jobs that are accessible to the neighborhood residents,” BeltLine officials said. Other focuses are “affordable housing; greenspace; innovative site design; and other program elements in a manner that enhances the site and the surrounding neighborhoods.”

No potential sales price was specified.

The public engagement process is expected to resume once a developer is selected. “The final outcomes for the site have yet to be determined,” BeltLine heads note, “and the community will certainly have a voice.”

Proposals for Murphy Crossing are due August 3. The full RFP can be viewed here.

The BeltLine’s tactic with Murphy Crossing continues its appetite for land acquisition in hopes of steering redevelopment in ways BeltLine leaders say will be more equitable.

Other recent acquisitions include 9 acres on Avon Avenue in Southwest Atlanta and a 3-acre property on Garson Road in south Buckhead near Lindbergh. Those real estate moves “will open opportunities for longer and deeper affordability in neighborhoods in geographies around the Atlanta BeltLine,” per project officials.

Recent BeltLine-related news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)