Following a lengthy dispute between the Atlanta Public Schools and the city of Atlanta, a forgotten architectural treasure will be preserved and repurposed by our client, 711 Catherine Developers.
The George W. Adair Elementary School was designed by Edward Dougherty, one of Atlanta’s most memorable architects of the early 20th Century. Dougherty designed many of Atlanta’s notable structures including the Druid Hills Baptist Church on Ponce de Leon, Druid Hills Golf Club, Imperial Hotel in 1911 and the Highland School
The school was constructed in 1911 and opened to the public the following year. Located on Catherine St. in the center of the Adair Park neighborhood, Adair Elementary was a gathering point for the community and added an annex to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 1937. By the early 1970s, many local residents had migrated to the suburbs and enrollment dwindled. In 1973 the struggling elementary school closed for good.
APS split from the city of Atlanta around the same time and the deed for the empty school remained with the city. Adair Elementary became one of the dozens of former school properties at the center of a property dispute lasting 40 years. Following a 2018 settlement, APS and the city of Atlanta agreed to sell the school. Significant construction would be required to salvage the historic building after decades of neglect. Were it not for the vision of the 711 Catherine Developers, the Adair school would likely be replaced with luxury condominiums. The purchase was capitalized in part by the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program and the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program.
The structure will be preserved but will resemble a school in appearance alone. The interior will be fully repurposed as Academy Lofts at Adair Park – a place for residents to live, work, and create. This multifunctional establishment will include rental micro-units and commercial space for lease conveniently located near the Atlanta Beltline Westside Trail.
This project represents a major victory for the residents of Adair Park neighborhood as a forgotten resource has the opportunity to bring value back to the community.
About the author
Kevin Caiaccio, founder of Caiaccio Law Firm, has more than 25 years of experience practicing commercial real estate law.