Like the upstart redo of Underground Atlanta downtown, some of the first occupants of Echo Street West’s mixed-use village in English Avenue have been local artists who’ve turned dusty, forlorn spaces into colorful studios.

The project’s developer, Lincoln Property Company, will soon double down on efforts to create a thriving “artist colony” for creative Atlantans seeking space and a sense of community along the Westside BeltLine Connector trail, officials recently said.

Lincoln has invested about $4 million to revive two industrial buildings at the northeast edge of the 19-acre site that had been idle for decades. One opened earlier this year as 18,000-square-foot event space Guardian Works, the other as Guardian Studios, a former warehouse with 14 studios.

The latter project now plans to open 17 more artist spaces and one of Atlanta’s largest ceramics studios in January, more than doubling capacity for local artisans, as Lincoln reps announced this month.

The adaptive-reuse Guardian Studios (background) and the neighboring events space. Courtesy of Lincoln Property Company/Novare Events

All previously opened studios—ranging from 200 to 250 square feet, with a 3,000-square-foot courtyard outside—have been leased. Mediums practiced in those spaces include photography, custom upholstery, fine arts, and mural-painting.

Phase two studios will range in size from 240 to more than 1,000 square feet. Elsewhere, the ceramics studio is expected to feature kilns and pottery wheels—not always the easiest find for artists just starting their careers.

The developer expects to partner with local minority and women-led arts advocacy group Black Women in Visual Art to manage studio rentals and curate exhibits.

Courtesy of Lincoln Property Company

In June, Lincoln broke ground on the Westside project’s $265-million first phase, in hopes of capturing momentum and investment dollars similar to what’s happened along the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail.  

A Texas-style entertainment and tailgating component called the Westside Motor Lounge is scheduled to be the second section to open early next year along Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway.  

Beyond that, 292 apartments and 23,000 square feet of retail are planned to deliver in late 2022 at Echo Street West, followed by 300,000 square feet of spec offices with mass-timber construction in May 2023.

• Photo tour: How Echo Street West aims to bridge English Avenue's past, future (Urbanize Atlanta)