Plans are becoming clearer for a unique Druid Hills infill project that continues Atlanta’s appetite for rebirthing church property into other uses.
Fresh renderings and site plans show how 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, at Druid Hills’ border with Candler Park.
The pocket neighborhood will offer four varieties of upscale home plans, ranging from condos to roomy manor houses and a carriage house described as one-of-a-kind, according to marketing materials.
The 1585 South Ponce de Leon construction site abuts the PATH Foundation’s Freedom Park Trail, with Shady Side Park across the street to the north. A new pocket neighborhood called Frederick Trust stands next door to Pinebloom, to the east.
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 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 developer Reed and Company 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.
According to a site plan, the project is repurposing the Tudor mansion on site into five condos with a large swimming pool and garage topped with a green roof behind them. Elsewhere will be five “villas” with either two or three units and a smaller carriage house. The largest offerings, located at the south end of the property, are two standalone manor houses.
The project marks the second repurposing of a historic church property recently in Druid Hills’ Ponce de Leon Avenue corridor, following Minerva’s conversion of Druid Hills United Methodist Church into condos called 1200 Ponce.
Atlanta’s trend of converting churches into condos, offices, and other purposes began with the redevelopment of a Poncey-Highland sanctuary into the 22-condo Providence on Ponce project nearly 20 years ago. It gathered steam following the Great Recession, and notable examples include Dad’s Garage’s comedy space in Old Fourth Ward, the upscale Lizzie Chapel Flats condos in Inman Park, and architecture firm Kronberg U+A’s offices in Reynoldstown. Numerous other church properties in places such as Edgewood and Kirkwood are following suit today.
We’ve asked Downing Park’s Engel & Völkers Atlanta marketing team for information on construction timelines, unit sizes, and pricing, and we’ll update this story with any further information that comes. [UPDATE: Prices in the first phase, to exclude condos, will range from $1.3 million to $2.45 million. Expect a detailed update story soon.] For now, have a look at what’s coming—and what’s gone—in the above gallery.
• Photos: Historic Druid Hills church's conversion to condos nearly complete (Urbanize Atlanta)