A Texas development team has embarked on an ambitious project to transform one of Atlanta’s oldest office buildings into modern homes for downtown residents.

The WD Grant Building, a historic 10-story building off Broad Street, will undergo an extensive renovation by Wolfe Investments and Bluelofts Inc. to create 165 apartments, making it one of downtown Atlanta’s most significant adaptive reuse projects. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Constructed in 1898, the 125-year-old building is an iconic example of Chicago-style architectural design and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979.

The developers say they recognize the value of preserving the city’s history while meeting the need for additional housing in downtown areas.

Kenny Wolfe, owner of Wolfe Investments, praised the meticulous craftsmanship of the building, which showcased the architectural skills of the time.

Wolfe said the renovation involved removing the existing offices to studs, but the aim was to attract future residents by preserving its historic appearance and character.

David Mitchell, executive director of the Atlanta Conservation Center, mentioned the importance of protecting the cultural and artistic integrity of residents.

“In general, a lot of the amenities today are modern — gyms, pools, things like that,” Mitchell told the outlet. “However, culture, beauty, art, integrity, and identity are also amenities. When you walk into that hall, you kind of define who and what you are by supporting the beauty of that space.”

The project is part of a broader trend to convert outdated office space into much-needed housing, responding to changing office market dynamics caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many developers are turning to adaptive reuse projects like this one to revitalize urban spaces and create vibrant neighborhoods.

The 165 residential units at Grant Towers will consist primarily of studios and one-bedroom apartments, and are designed to provide tenants with a hotel-like experience.

The conversion process is expected to take around 18 months and all units will be leased at market rates.

Residents also have access to modern amenities including a clubhouse, business center, fitness center, private spa, and retreat spaces.

As the building was constructed in a time when motor vehicles were not as common, additional parking will be added on the adjacent lot.

Cities and developers across the country are looking for opportunities to convert office buildings into homes. In New York, officials have considered ways to incentivize shifts outside the financial district. A task force recommended last year that the city rezoned parts of Midtown to create more opportunities for renovation.

Ted Glazer

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