Site for LGBT shelter now has $4 million price tag

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The future Midtown home of a Lost N Found Youth shelter for homeless LGBT youth is up for sale by its owner – with a hefty $4 million per acre price tag.

The For Sale sign on the property at Juniper and 5th streets is the next step in an ambitious redevelopment plan launched last fall by Saint Mark United Methodist Church, which owns the parcels. It’s an effort that impacts Lost N Found, which agreed to give up its long-term lease on a three-story building on the site the organization was renovating into a shelter and expanded facilities.

In return for agreeing to drop its renovation plans, the church promised to provide space for Lost N Found in whatever development takes hold on the property and reimburse it for renovation costs it’s incurred since taking possession of the building in 2013.

The property is located in a bustling corridor of redevelopment in Midtown. Now, Saint Mark hopes to lure a developer and a high-rise that will include space for Lost N Found, some church functions and a parking deck. The price tag is high, but may still generate interest, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

The church believes its site could fetch up to $4 million per acre. If that seems high, consider that Southeast Capital Cos. one year ago paid $7.5 million for a less than two-acre surface parking lot next to the church at Juniper and 5th streets.

Although it’s late in the development cycle, Hanna said, “This is a dynamic market, and we still see a lot of opportunity. This is one of the last tremendous Peachtree Street addresses. It’s exciting and rare.”

What could the redevelopment look like? Think big. Via ABC:

The church’s property could contain a large mixed-use development, says Paul Hanna, with commercial real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., which is listing the site on behalf of St. Mark.

Atlanta’s CNNA Architects Inc. designed a proposal for a 27-story tower with office space, residential units and street-level retail. It’s one of several options for the church’s site, which has no height restrictions, Hanna said.

St. Mark’s decision may spur a larger assemblage on the block of Peachtree and 5th streets. Other adjacent property owners have expressed interest in putting their sites on the market, Hanna said. If so, a total of 2.9 acres could be wrapped into the St. Mark project.

Lost N Found and Saint Mark announced the change in course in September.

“Hopefully it would provide [Lost N Found] with better space than they could have had in a renovated 100-year-old structure,” Beth LaRocca-Pitts, the church’s senior pastor, said at the time.

“We want the property to be used for ministry. We are going to be talking to developers that build Section 8 housing. We are going to be talking with developers that do good,” she added.

In 2013, Lost N Found leased the property from Saint Mark for $1 per year, gutted it with the help of volunteers and launched a $1 million capital campaign to complete the renovation. IKEA even chipped in with a $10,000 grant in April. 

Lost N Found Board Chair Bruce Garner said that initially, the proposal from Saint Mark shocked him.

“I've gotten attached to that pile of bricks there,” Garner said in September. “We had the option to go ahead and exercise the lease we already had. But that would have been awful stewardship of our resources.”


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