Midtown’s The Castle has weathered eras of neglect, being described as a hopeless pile by a civil rights icon, and more recently a bankruptcy saga. 

But the sturdy, eccentric, partly medieval property remains standing over 15th Street after more than a century. And now The Castle is looking, quite literally, for a new lease on life.

In more recent times, an LLC called MLAC Castle Atlanta bought the Victorian property (now shadowed by glassy high-rises) in 2013. A thorough renovation produced fine dining establishment Rose & Rye in 2017, but by late 2019, the ownership group was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In early 2020, the restaurant closed. 

watermark The Castle's east-facing walls and chimney. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

A marketing push last year produced no sale, and in December, The Castle headed to auction. 11Alive reported the winning bid was a cool $3.2 million. 

Midtown-based real estate investment firm The Simpson Organization is now marketing the 12,500-square-foot property for lease, angling for another restaurant or office uses. It comes equipped with a full-service kitchen, 125-seat dining room, and updated systems throughout the building, per signage at the 87 15th Street site. 

Second-floor restaurant and bar. LoopNet/The Simpson Organization

First-floor lounge. LoopNet/The Simpson Organization

A LoopNet listing indicates leasing terms are negotiable, and that floors could be subdivided.

The five-story, fortress-like house was designed and built in 1910 by Ferdinand Dallas McMillan, an eccentric businessman, Civil War veteran, and inventor. Originally, it was called “Fort Peace,” but Atlantans eventually bestowed another moniker.  

Aerial of the 1910 structure and additions. LoopNet/The Simpson Organization

The castle morphed into an arts hub for decades (famed writer Pat Conroy once rented out a room), but by the 1980s was so dilapidated that Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young called it “a hunk of junk.”

AT&T “stabilized” the property for use as an arts venue during the 1996 Olympic Games, according to a placard bolted to its façade. And it was placed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks in 2014, as renovations unfolded. 

Which begs the question: What should come next for Atlanta’s inimitable, perfectly out-of-place castle?  

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