The squeeze is on for gay Atlanta's red light district as developers continue to do what the city couldn't – sterilize the adult-oriented strip with apartments, condos and quaint street-level retail.
Next on the chopping block is a 25,000-square-foot building on a four-acre lot, a spot that once held Fleur de Lis Restaurant but that has sat vacant for years (photo). It's about to be razed to make way for a $48 million, five-story development of 285 high-end apartments. Hey there, Cheshire Bridge Apartments.
The developers say the project will involve studio, one- and two-bedroom units averaging 870 SF each. And Bluerock, which is injecting $15M in preferred equity in the project (which can later be converted to joint ownership rights), offers a hint of how the JV could eventually exit the property. Aside from a resort-style pool, and fitness and media centers, Bluerock reports that the interiors will be condominium quality. While not expressly stated in company info, many multifamily developers design units to be able to be converted to condo ownership. Since starting, Catalyst has invested in and/or developed a number of local apartment projects, including ENSO Apartments in Glenwood Park.
We've certainly got a few ideas on sexing up that fancy pool.
That development would sit next to one that's even more transformative: Cheshire Vista. The ambitious project would scoop up all 75 parcels in the Lindridge subdivision, tear them down and replace them with a mixed-use project that ties into another five-acre parcel abutting Lenox Road and Buford Highway that's in the development cross-hairs.
On the top end of the strip, at Cheshire's intersection with Piedmont Avenue, is the remaking of the Rock Springs strip center into upscale shopping with residential units.
The change is already impacting the gloryholes, strip clubs and gay bars in-between that have called Cheshire home for years. One of its long-running sex spots, Inserection, thumbed its nose at the new developments with its renovations and ambitious plans to add bondage rooms and more to its gloryholes. A gay strip club closed. A gay doctor refurbished a long-vacant building to expand his practice. And attention keeps turning to the crime-blotter fave Cheshire Motor Inn, which sorta refurbished itself, and the gay and gray popular Colonnade restaurant.
Those spots, which sit next to one another, will see changes – it's just a matter of time.
The biggest game-changer for the corridor is likely still on the horizon.
Atlanta developer Selig Enterprises Inc. owns nearly 8 acres along Cheshire Bridge, including some of the antique shops and The Colonnade restaurant.
Selig has looked at developing a mixed-use project, but hasn’t found the right timing.
In recent years, financing was a challenge, especially as capital sources showed more confidence in financing residential and mixed-use projects in other areas of the city along Peachtree in Buckhead and Midtown.
Efforts to neuter Cheshire Bridge's sexy parts suffered a high-profile flop in 2013. But Botox by bulldozer seems to be taking over.