A year and a half after officially beginning its search, Atlanta BeltLine Inc. has picked a development concept it considers the best use of a vacant but historic property abutting a section of popular trail in Southwest Atlanta.
BeltLine officials announced today they’ve chosen a finalist to redevelop 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.
The BeltLine’s pick is Arizona-based real estate development company Culdesac, which describes itself as a builder of “neighborhoods that embrace community, open space, and mobility.”
Partnering with Culdesac on mixed-use development at the 1050 Murphy Avenue site will be Urban Oasis Development, Kronberg Urbanists + Architects, LDG Consulting, and T. Dallas Smith and Co., according to a BeltLine press release today. The team includes members of surrounding neighborhoods, officials noted.
Culdesac’s plan will include a mix of housing and offices in new and revived buildings, a grocery store, dining and retail options, a farmers’ market (in homage to the land’s historical use), and arts and culture programming. Overall, according to the BeltLine, the firm’s plan “has prioritized high-density, transit-oriented development focused on preserving land for pedestrians and bicyclists in outdoor spaces protected from cars.”
It’ll be called "Murphy Crossing by Culdesac."
BeltLine leaders say the project will contribute to the 22-mile loop’s affordable housing goal by designating 25 percent of residential units "permanently affordable," with another 5 percent remaining affordable for the next 30 years at least. Culdesac hopes to cap affordability rates for residents at 60 to 80 percent of the area’s median income, with 30 percent of all retail and light industrial spaces offered at unspecified rates meant to be affordable for small businesses in Southwest Atlanta.
Located near West End and Oakland City MARTA stations, 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. The BeltLine managed to acquire the bulk of the long-coveted site—16 acres—in 2014.
In 2018, the BeltLine 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 in 2020 “due in part to the impacts of COVID,” the agency said early last year.
South Carolina developer WRS Realty, which had recently sold Underground Atlanta after years of development delays, was 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 in summer 2020.
In its search for a new developer, as announced via a Request for Proposals in April 2021, BeltLine leadership said it placed an emphasis on ideas “that included support for neighborhood-based minority entrepreneurs and businesses as well as the preservation of commercial affordability for qualifying area businesses.”
BeltLine leaders stress the Murphy Crossing project is in the early phases of design and will be refined following community input. A public meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday to discuss the project, to be held virtually on Zoom (details for joining here) and broadcast via the BeltLine’s Facebook page.
BeltLine officials estimate that, including Murphy Crossing, $800 million of private investment is taking place or is planned within a mile of the Oakland City site. That figure includes the nearby Lee + White warehouse redevelopment, Pittsburgh Yards, the MET redo in Adair Pair, and the eventual redevelopment of The Mall West End.
• BeltLine tour guide: Why Murphy Crossing redevelopment is crucial (Urbanize Atlanta)