42 Main Street, Suite 3A, Senoia, Georgia
Please provide a brief overview of the project.
Just 35 miles south of Atlanta you will find the town of Senoia, GA, a town that time seem has to forgotten. Senoia’s Main street is lined with various shops and business in the picturesque buildings that reflect the town’s history in their late 1800’s and early 1900’s architecture. If you had ventured to Senoia in few years ago a you would have a found a much different place. Only 5 businesses were open and many of the towns buildings stood vacant, abandoned , or in need of extensive repair. The transformation of this small town was do to a 6-acre tract located at the end of the street referred to as the Gin Property
The Gin property had been a family owned business that had closed in the 1970’s and the owner an elderly man, Mr. Paul McKnight, that was a beloved member of the community. Mr. Mcknight unknowingly rented out the warehouse of the former Gin to a man that used it to store hazardous waste. The renter would be the first case in GA of a conviction under environmental laws. EPA investigators prompted an emergency removal action that Mr. Mcknight was to responsible for the 1.6 million dollar cost of removal. It would be ten years before the McKnight family and federal government are able to come to settlement agreement. One that would require the property sold.
Senoia was also the location of a Riverwood Studios that had located to the area in the late 80’s. The studio was booked with productions up until the 1997 when Riverwood founder passes away suddenly from a short illness. The studio set idle and filming productions were going to states that offered tax incentives and lower costs. In 2004, nephew of the studio’s founder, Scott Tigchelarr, takes over the studio and approaches local state legislature for help in getting tax incentives to bring filming back to GA. In 2005 GA introduced the Entertainment Industry Act (updated 2008).
The Mcknight family being forced to sell the property caught the interest of a big box retail chain. Tigchelarr not wanting to see the McKnight family being cheated out of the fair market value of the property and have the town change by big box retail approached Mr Paul McKnight. The two men struck a deal that each would have the property appraised and split the difference. The purchase of the McKnight family garnered the respect of the citizens of Senoia and opened the door for the studio to acquire empty lots and buildings along main street from life long residents. Note the studio did not purchase property that was in use. The studio enlisted the local renowned arcitural firm to design infill and redevelopment that was true to the existing architectural. http://www.historicsenoia.com
The buildings on the former Gin Property were demolished and the property was entered into the GA Voluntary Brownfield Program . The soils on the property tested to make sure they were in compliance with residential risk reduction standards in exchange for limitation of liability from groundwater contamination from the state of Georgia. Two homes on the property, a new construction brownstone townhome and a historic farm home , would become Southern Living’s 2010 and 2011 Show homes.
The studio would acquire a total of 22 properties along and off of Main Street. The town went from 5 businesses to over 47 today with a waiting list for the space. In order to accommodate the need for additional parking an empty lot off Main Street was installed with impervious pavers.
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Atlanta, Georgia
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