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Historic Ponce Apartments Slated for Renovation

Construction set to begin this summer

A historic building on Ponce de Leon Avenue is slated to get a much-needed facelift.

After years of empty promises and lack of money, the nine-story building on the corner of Ponce de Leon Avenue and N. Highland Avenue will be purchased and renovated later this year by a Maine-based real estate company.

The brick building, formerly known as "The 750,” was constructed by a real estate firm owned by Asa G. Candler Jr. — the son of the Coca-Cola mogul Asa Candler Sr. — and opened in 1925 as a luxury apartment complex.

Years later it was converted into a 400-room hotel and renamed Briarcliff Hotel.

Today, the 200-unit apartment building known as provides Section 8 housing to the elderly.

The building is falling apart inside and out. Crime and drug use is a constant issue in the area and the apartment homes are outdated and in desperate need of repair.

But in just a few months, the chipped paint on the walls and odd smells in the hallways will be just another chapter in the history of the building.

Evergreen Partners Housing, a Portland, Maine-based real estate investment firm, plans to close on the deal in late May 2012, a company spokesman said. Renovations are set to begin in summer 2012.

Both the exterior and the interior of the building located at 1050 Ponce de Leon Ave. will be restored, but the historic components of the structure will be preserved. Plans to refurbish the facade of the building have already been approved by the Atlanta Preservation Group.

New flooring, appliances, cabinets, windows, lighting, doors and bathroom and kitchen fixtures will be installed in the apartments. More amenities including a wellness center, computer center, fitness center and an activity area will be added in the building, which will remain Section 8 housing after the renovation.

"I look upon this as a tremendous step forward in the public safety aspects of this area of VaHi as well as good news for the deserving tenants of this beleaguered building," John Wolfinger, Virginia-Highland Civic Association safety chair, said. "This renovation will just echo the rehab by Jamestown of Ponce City Market and helps to signal better days ahead for all of Ponce de Leon Avenue."

It's unclear what will happen to the current residents during the renovations.

Financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed but in 2009, the property was assessed at $8.16 million.

Evergreen tried to purchase the building last year, but failed to receive the tax credits from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs needed to complete the deal.

But earlier this month, the state awarded the tax credits to the real estate company and the deal will now officially move forward.

What do you think of the plan to renovate Briarcliff Summit? Tell us in the comments!

Steve January 25, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Who is the "Atlanta Preservation Group"? There is an Atlanta Preservation Center, a non-profit citizen advocacy organization and the Urban Design Commission, the City body in charge of historic preservation, but I'm not aware of another "Group".
Chris H January 25, 2012 at 04:28 PM
If crime and drug use is a constant issue in the building, keeping it Section 8 won't change that even if the place is fixed up. Will it be all Section 8? Will it just be all ederly? These are important factors as this could turn into another Bedford Pines and would be a nightmare for the Highlands. Also, I thought the city was trying to get rid of a 100% Section 8 complex in favor of mixed income communities?
Scott B January 26, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Drugs and crime are not a problem in the area, wtf is that comment about?
Socko frm Atlanta December 28, 2012 at 11:44 PM
This is a MAJOR renovation, the current residents are most deserving of this, they are fine people, friendly & have great stories they're willing to share.Improving the apartments are improving the residents lives,..two thumbs up to everyone involved in this project.....Socko from Atlanta
Sage Boucher December 29, 2012 at 05:37 AM
I live in the Briarcliff. We are a mix of elderly and disabled; about 10% are blind, for example; I have a disability and was in my 40s when I moved here in 2004. Most of the people who live in this building are good neighbors, always with a friendly greeting. And there is a minority element of bad apples. New management say they know how to deal with urban projects, trust us. The only way this building -- a "neighborhood" of around 250 people -- is going to get any better removing those bad apples is for it to have 24/7 security. There is no one to police entry into the building, and laughably insufficient and outdated video monitors. If VaHi really wants to clean up this building and the corridor where VaHi and Poncey Highlands meet, we need some help. The police get tired of coming here because it's hard for them to do anything, there are strict rules about what they can or cannot do on which parts of the building are private property or not.

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