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Historic Atlanta Church Unveils Big New Development Plans

A historic Atlanta church is readying its property for a massive development that would include a new mixed-use church and retail building and two mixed-income housing towers overlooking Peachtree Street.

The Atlanta First United Methodist Church is moving forward on a massive redevelopment of its property that will preserve the historic sanctuary.

Atlanta First United Methodist Church is partnering with a Chicago developer to build new church offices, a parking garage and two housing towers with 300 units, 80% of which will be designated for affordable renters, the church told parishioners in its latest newsletter.

“The vision has come to fruition! We are ready to execute this agreement and bring affordable and attainable housing to Peachtree Street in Atlanta,” Atlanta First UMC Lead Pastor The Rev. Jasmine Smothers wrote in a letter to parishioners. “One of the things I’m most proud of is that our church leaders have continued to make progress on our property development initiative. People everywhere said that COVID-19 would kill this ministry opportunity; instead, COVID drove it forward!”

The church is hosting a Zoom meeting with parishioners Monday evening regarding the redevelopment. Church officials declined to comment until after the meeting.

Atlanta First UMC is working with the Chicago-based developer Evergreen Real Estate Group, it said in the newsletter. 

The new buildings, which will also include a renovated facility for the Midtown Assistance Center, will replace the church's current parking lot and its education building through a ground lease with the developer, leaving the historic sanctuary building at 360 Peachtree St. intact.

The church building was built by the Methodists in 1903, using granite from Stone Mountain, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.

Atlanta First UMC is the latest historic Atlanta church that is moving to allow development on its property as demand for land inside the city, especially in Midtown, remains strong.

Last year, Street Lights Residential secured a $72M loan to begin building a 26-story apartment tower on an acre parcel sold to it by the historic Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Midtown. Leaders of All Saints Episcopal Church off West Peachtree Street and Saint Luke's Episcopal Church off Peachtree Street previously told Bisnow that they were evaluating potential redevelopments of sections of their church land into mixed-use projects with private developers.

The church said the deal to ground lease the land to Evergreen would ensure "multiple streams of income" and help fund repairs to its 118-year-old sanctuary. 

CORRECTION, FEB. 15, 3 P.M. ET: A previous version of the story incorrectly described Evergreen Real Estate Group as a nonprofit developer. St. Marks also is located in Midtown, not Buckhead. The story has been updated.