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Coro, Miller Lowry To Revive Long-Dormant Hapeville Development

Rendering for Village Walk townhomes in Hapeville.

An Atlanta commercial real estate firm's next frontier for development is in the city that gave birth to Chick-fil-A.

Coro Realty has purchased 16 acres throughout Hapeville, a city 9 miles south of Downtown Atlanta that is home to the original Chick-fil-A Dwarf House and Porsche North America's headquarters, to eventually turn the parcels into residential-focused mixed-use.

Coro has partnered with Miller Lowry Developments with plans to transform the parcels scattered around Hapeville's downtown district into townhomes, apartments and single-family residences.

“We have been working diligently for two years to acquire this site because it offers tremendous upside and development potential,” Coro Managing Partner Robert Fransen said in a press release.

Coro's plans are the latest in a 16-year effort to develop the collection of old shops and offices and virgin land that's there now. In 2005, Main Street Partner Group — then headed by current Newmark Vice Chairman Neal Golden — purchased 35 acres around the city with plans to build a $500M mixed-use project. Those efforts stalled during the Great Recession and never quite revived.

Already, Coro and Miller Lowry are underway with The Clyde, an 18-unit townhome project in Downtown Hapeville that is set to deliver in February. The two companies also plan to break ground this year on another townhouse project called Village Walk at the corner of South Central and Colville avenues.

As Fransen was searching for other sites nearby, the two firms decided to just offer Main Street Properties to buy them out of their remaining assemblage, Fransen told Bisnow.

“It's a little bit of a bag of broken toys,” Fransen said of the parcels. “Some of what they bought … just lay there as fallow land for years.”

While Hapeville remains a small city by population — 6,500 residents as of 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, a 2.5% increase from 2010 — it's been gentrifying and growing more diverse thanks in large part to the expansion of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Porsche's presence.

While median family income in Hapeville is $20K less than the national average at just about $50K, the city has a strong workforce and projected future job growth of 46%, outstripping the U.S. average of 33.5%, according to Sperling's Best Places.

Fransen said Hapeville is no longer viewed as a sleepy outlier just outside the airport, and it is becoming more cosmopolitan and trendy like the metro cities of Chamblee or Glenwood Park.

“[Hapeville was] where you stopped off to get your rental car filled up before you got to the airport,” he said. “Now, it's actually fairly diverse. There's a lot more mix going on down there, which we kind of think is neat.”