A year after site plans and initial prices were unveiled, a unique infill project that bills itself as “a new page” in Atlanta history is aiming to start delivering this year.
Continuing Atlanta’s appetite for remaking church properties, the Downing Park project is replacing the razed Jackson Hill Baptist Church and repurposing a historic Tudor mansion on a property collectively known as Pinebloom, located where Druid Hills’ southern border meets Candler Park.
Demolition work around the property has been ongoing for a couple of years, but an official groundbreaking wasn’t held until May.
The most noticeable construction progress to date has come at the circa-1914 mansion and a historically protected carriage house behind it.
According to Engel & Völkers Atlanta, the mansion is being converted to five sizable condos, priced from the high $500,000s, with initial deliveries expected in late 2023.
The priciest, largest condo option listed to date is asking $1.75 million for three bedrooms and three and ½ bathrooms in 2,730 square feet.
Overall, the project is described as a blend of Tudor design and sophisticated, modern updates. Another way of putting it, per marketing blasts on social media: “Step into a realm of eternal allure as you cross the threshold of Downing Park, where timeless architecture beckons.”
Eventually, the project will offer four varieties of upscale home plans at 1585 South Ponce de Leon Avenue, ranging from the five condos and 11 attached villas to two manor houses and the repurposed carriage house—now under contract—described as one-of-a-kind in Atlanta.
Prices for villas start at $1.3 million, and $2.3 million for manor houses.
The villas will offer either three or four bedrooms and sizes between 2,754 and 3,616 square feet, project officials previously told Urbanize Atlanta.
Positioned away from Ponce de Leon Avenue, near Candler Park and the PATH Foundation’s Freedom Park Trail next door, the manor homes will each have six bedrooms and relatively huge interior volumes of about 5,000 square feet.
Plans call for the Downing Park community to be gated, with access points on South Ponce and Clifton Terrace. Amenities will include a saltwater pool, sunbathing terrace, and lush gardens.
Quick history: Designed by architect Walter T. Downing, the Tudor home and its carriage house were built in 1914 for Georgia Railway and Power Company president Preston S. Arkwright, while the neighboring Jackson Hill Baptist Church was erected later.
The Pinebloom property had been up for sale for more than a decade, but concerns about the decaying church building next to the mansion and other circumstances prevented a deal from being struck.
Records indicate the property sold to Joel Reed of Reed and Company—the current developer and a longtime Candler Park resident—for $3.06 million in March 2021.
According to the Atlanta Urban Design Commission, the original home and carriage house are considered contributing structures to the Druid Hills Landmark District, while the church was not. Reed’s plans for razing the church and repurposing the mansion were approved by both the Druid Hills Civic Association and the church congregation, which will be allowed to worship at a facility on site once construction is complete, as The Christian Index has reported.
The project marks the second repurposing of a historic church property in Druid Hills’ Ponce de Leon Avenue corridor in recent years, following Minerva’s conversion of Druid Hills United Methodist Church into condos called 1200 Ponce.
Another adaptive-reuse project with adjacent new-construction—a pocket neighborhood called Frederick Trust—now stands next door to Pinebloom/Downing Park, to the east.
Monte Hewett Homes is building all new residences at Downing Park, while Hammertime Construction is restoring and converting the carriage house and mansion condos. Atlanta-based TSW architect firm master-planned the Downing Park site and is serving as both architect and landscape architect for the development.
Find a closer look at the property today—and a preview of what’s to come—in the gallery above.
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• Unique pocket of new Druid Hills homes revives marketing push (Urbanize Atlanta)