Atlanta -- Another industrial landmark is about to go under the knife (or hammer) to bring more retail and restaurants to the popular West Midtown neighborhood. Westside Ironworks, LLC; a partnership of Frank Buonanotte, founder and chairman emeritus, The Shopping Center Group, and Jeff Stein, founder and principal, SteinGroup; is set to acquire the much sought-after site of Ironworks International, Inc. situated across from White Provisions District and Westside Urban Market between 11th and 14th Streets along Howell Mill Road.
The Buonanotte/Stein team plans to invest more than $6 million to redevelop the 1.6-acre site, home to Ironworks since 1998. A rezoning application was filed with the City of Atlanta on June 11 seeking to modify zoning specifications from C2 Conditional (commercial service) to MRC (mixed residential commercial).
“West Midtown is the epicenter of Atlanta’s newest wave of urbanism. No other neighborhood matches the history and character of the industrial buildings that define this node – undeniably a significant component of the area’s energy and success,” explains Buonanotte. “Our team was not only fascinated by the sheer volume of the existing Ironworks structures with the amazingly high ceilings, exposed truss work and massive doors and windows, but we were also attracted to the uniqueness of the existing community and the opportunity to enhance what has become one of the magnet neighborhoods for foodies, fashionistas and those seeking a hip, modern lifestyle.”
“What was once a purely industrial corridor is fast becoming the most preferred zip code for not only young adults but also accomplished professionals who are filling the hundreds and hundreds of lofts, condos and apartments that exist or are under,” states Stein.
Appropriately renamed Westside Ironworks, the redevelopment will transform three industrial buildings into two commercial platforms, totaling 18,000 square feet, for retailers and restaurants that complement West Midtown’s existing blend of local and national tenants. Building One, immediately adjacent to Howell Mill Road, includes 14,400 square feet slated to house five to seven retail tenants along with a small casual food concept. Building Two, positioned in the northeast corner of the site, is designed for a 3,600-square foot, contemporary dining experience delivered by a chef-owner concept. An existing, third building will be demolished to allow for additional parking. Construction is expected to commence early 2014 with tenants opened by mid-year.
“The buildings are ideal for a mix of unique, local tenants and modern, national operators that seek to capitalize on Westside Ironworks’ one-of-a-kind space,” explains Buonanotte.
Exposed wood beams and immense steel trusses frame the nearly 35-foot ceilings and 20- to 25-foot tall windows to create a voluminous interior space. Exterior renovation plans create a distinctive storefront for each unit and/or building that blends with surrounding commercial elevations. The planned streetscape is designed to match the existing pedestrian connectivity established by White Provisions District and Westside Urban Market with landscaping, illuminated trees, pavers, seating areas and courtyards.
“This will not be a typical, plain vanilla shopping center,” continues Buonanotte. “West Midtown has become a collection of exclusive stores – many of them one-of-a-kind or with very limited presence in Atlanta,” explains Buonanotte. “Because of this, the trade area is expansive attracting patrons not only from Buckhead and Midtown, but also from Vinings, East Cobb, Dunwoody and as far north as Alpharetta. But we also must keep in mind to deliver a product that caters to the people who live here.”
The leasing plan includes apparel, soft goods and home furnishings in addition to several restaurant concepts. Additional West Midtown Real Estate Acquisitions Since its redevelopment of one of Buckhead’s most prominent intersections now known as Buckhead Pointe, the Stein/Buonanotte investment team has acquired over five acres, inclusive of approximately 75,000 square feet of commercial space, in West Midtown to become the second largest landowner in the block bordered by Northside Drive, Howell Mill Road and 14th and 11th Streets. In addition to Westside Ironworks, acquisitions include: • Progressive Lighting Building (650 14th Street; approximately 25,000 square feet on 1.5 acres) • 670 14th Street Building (immediately west of Progressive Lighting; renovations underway to house the future location of Switch Modern, a furniture retailer relocating from Westside Urban Market; approximately 27,000 square feet on 1.1 acres) • Former Wachovia Building (corner of Northside Drive and 14th Street, adjacent to Krystal; approximately 3,800 square feet on .9 acres; negotiations currently underway with a quick-serve restaurant concept) About Westside Ironworks, LLC Westside Ironworks, LLC was formed to acquire the current site of Ironworks International, Inc. Principals Frank Buonanotte and Jeff Stein wield decades of commercial real estate experience.
Buonanotte is the founder and chairman emeritus of The Shopping Center Group, the largest, privately held retail real estate advisory firm in the Southeast. He is also founder and principal of Metro Real Estate Investment Advisors, a real estate investment fund. Stein spent six years with Harbor Group International actively participating in the acquisition of more than $500 million in multi-family and commercial real estate properties. Subsequently, Stein was a founding principal of Fortress Capital Investors of Norfolk, Va., which acquired in excess of $200 million of real estate over a four-year period. In 2010, Stein founded Stein Investment Group, which has invested in and is actively acquiring prime real estate throughout metro Atlanta and the Southeast.