A former MVP of the National Football League is taking his off-field talents (and finances) to Atlanta’s real estate game in a splashy way.
Former Auburn University and NFL star quarterback Cam Newton’s property management company has purchased the Elliott Street Pub, a beloved dive bar, Castleberry Hill fixture, and popular pitstop before and after games at downtown arenas for more than 15 years.
A sale of the pub’s property at 51 Elliott Street closed Friday for $1.9 million, and the business’ last day slinging drinks and legendary sandwiches looms.
Newton heads a company called Agape Property Management. His real estate agent, Pierre Reeves of Village Premier Realty, tells Urbanize Atlanta that Newton has no intentions of razing or dramatically altering the circa-1870 pub building, which is among the oldest postbellum structures still standing around downtown.
“[Newton] plans on continuing to add to the community and not demolish the building,” said Reeves. “He believes in the history in the building.”
Property records indicate Agape has purchased numerous residential properties in Atlanta and South Fulton in recent years.
Reeves said the Elliott Street Pub purchase marks Newton’s 10th property acquisition in Castleberry Hill, to include the barbecue restaurant space, Smokey Stallion, he opened alongside his brother C.J. on Nelson Street this past summer. The duo also own and operate Fellaship.ATL, an upscale cigar bar and restaurant that opened around the corner in the same building three years ago.
Agape also owns six residences at Castleberry Point Lofts, the condo complex above the Newton-owned businesses, with plans to buy “many more” properties in the neighborhood, per Reeves.
As for what Elliott Street Pub’s next incarnation might look like, Reeves said Newton and company “are pretty open to everything” though “it’s going to become more than likely a speakeasy concept—something that ties the past with the new.”
Reeves noted that Newton “has a great respect for the history of Castleberry Hill” and has “always admired the Russell family,” headed by the late Herman J. Russell, a pioneering Black entrepreneur and legendary Atlanta developer.
Newton, 33, an Atlanta native who played at Westlake High School, was named the NFL’s MVP in 2015 while with the Carolina Panthers, during his 11 seasons in the league.
Newton most recently played 20 games with the New England Patriots and Panthers over the past two NFL seasons and has reportedly turned down at least one offer to return to the league this year. He’s currently a free agent.
Two brothers, Mike and Pete Jakob, former owners of a contracting and building business, poured their finances into resuscitating the Elliott Street property and opened the pub in 2006.
When the Elliott Street Pub initially came up for sale in 2019, the owners vowed they wouldn’t let the property be bulldozed for glistening new development, which is now encroaching from the west (Hard Rock’s Reverb hotel and adjacent apartments) and the east (where CIM Group wants a majority of the $5-billion Centennial Yards megaproject opened in time for 2026 World Cup matches in downtown Atlanta).
The property's main building originally served as a carriage house for the central city and railroad industry. Between the early 1950s and 1982, it housed jazz club Dee’s Birdcage—Isaac Hayes, Gladys Knight, and Curtis Mayfield all performed there—and one of the first Black-owned real estate, loan, and insurance companies in Atlanta, according to marketing materials.
The property’s nucleus is the cozy, unpretentious pub of just 600 square feet that Vice declared in 2018 to be “Atlanta’s Best Bar.” When the 51 Elliott Street property came up for sale again last year (asking $2.3 million), it was offered as both a pub and an attached three-loft inn that sellers called successful. It’s been marketed as the closest bar and non-hotel lodge to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
According to previous listings, roughly 10 parking spaces come with the pub, and three outdoor areas include restaurant patios and decks, plus a 2,500-square-foot lot where future development could go. The finished basement has a small music venue, and the city has approved plans for a potential third-floor addition to the bar building, per 2021 marketing materials.
So it’s quite a palette for “Super Cam” and company to work with.
• Castleberry Hill news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)