The largest tract of land in historic downtown Norcross, a bustling city center located about five miles Outside The Perimeter, is set to be transformed into an entertainment destination called South End, according to project officials.

Construction has begun at a roughly 1-acre site in the 100 block of South Peachtree Street, near downtown Norcross’ existing restaurants and greenspaces, to create a mix of event space, new buildings, and adaptively reused structures suited for a food hall, brewery, and variety of other uses, per the development team.

Veteran historic preservationists TileTech Renewal Co. have brought on terra alma, a boutique real estate advisory, to help lead the South End redevelopment. It aims to be the newest hot gathering place among Gwinnett County’s roster of growing, historic downtowns.

Buildings on site now include downtown Norcross’ first gas station, which has stood along South Peachtree Street for nearly a century, and two other structures that date back more than 70 years, previously used for manufacturing and warehousing.

The site plan for South End, as arranged around The Yard space. Courtesy of terra alma

But South End’s main feature is expected to be centralized gathering space The Yard, with everything from a coffee shop and live music stage to a brewery and tapas joint dotted around it, project officials say. (Other notably cool features: A water tower similar to one that used to loom over downtown Norcross will soon be erected at The Yard as a unique focal point. Nearby, a 1971 Airstream trailer, currently an office, and a 1962 Shasta trailer will be converted to Yard bars.)  

In the short term, South End openings are scheduled to start next month.

The former gas station, now home to CBD store Rose & Hemp, will see the third location of Decatur-based ice cream concept Butter & Cream open next door. And Refuge Coffee Co. is putting final touches on its fourth metro Atlanta outpost next to that. Both businesses are expected to open in September.

The planned look of frontage along South Peachtree Street, with the new water tower looming above. Courtesy of terra alma

Deeper into the property, a section of a former tile shop has been removed to extend Skin Alley—a mural-bedecked connection to the northern blocks of downtown—into the South End project. A restaurant or wine bar is expected to take that space, according to Edie Weintraub, terra alma’s founder and chief community builder.

A former engine building with a barrel-shaped roof and recognizable “Love, Norcross” mural is intended to possibly house a food hall soon, Weintraub said.

Roughly 4,500 square feet of new construction around the property is intended to allow for a brewery or distillery’s production with high ceilings and a speakeasy space in the basement.

South End’s owners bought the property amid COVID-19 pandemic struggles and have overcome obstacles related to environmental, design, and legal challenges before the recent groundbreaking, according to project officials.

“Our goal is to gather the right mix of local and regional tenants to create a very special place where people want to linger, slow down, and make real life connections with neighbors in their community,” Weintraub said in a project announcement. “We envision visitors enjoying a craft cocktail at one place, dining at the next, and ending the night playing darts or listening to live music at the South End Stage.”

The South End project location (at bottom, in red) in relation to Norcross eateries, Lilian Webb Park, and the railroad that initially gave rise to the Gwinnett County city. Google Maps

Weintraub said developers are in conversations with several breweries, distillers, retailers, and restaurants and plan to make more announcements soon.

The stage is scheduled to start hosting live music, comedy shows, movies, and story time for kiddos in fall 2023.

“We own and develop properties in small towns across the metro Atlanta area, but this one is particularly significant,” TileTech Renewal Co. principal Mason Zimmerman said. “It’s rare to have the opportunity to complete a block in a historic area and to create a destination within an existing destination.”

Have a closer look at what’s on tap for this historic OTP downtown in the gallery above.

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