Lincoln Property Company, the real estate firm leading the mixed-use redevelopment of Echo Street West, announced Thursday that renovations are now underway to transform a former warehouse into a mix of “makerspaces,” artists studios, and a ceramics studio on the 19-acre site in West Midtown — a new hub for Atlanta artists called “Guardian Studios.”
The development team has tapped Atlanta-based nonprofit arts organization Mint to advise on design plans for the studio space in order to best serve the needs of emerging artists and well as manage rentals for up to 35 studios, event programming, gallery exhibitions, community partnerships, and outreach to artists and art enthusiasts.
“As we work towards bringing our vision for Echo Street West to life, we understand the value of collaborating with local partners who share our aspirations for Atlanta as a hub for innovation and community engagement,” Tony Bartlett, executive vice president of Lincoln Property Company, said in a press release. “Guardian Studios at Echo Street West will combine MINT’s expertise in supporting local artists of diverse backgrounds and mediums with the inspired environment at Echo Street West — natural woodlands, historic buildings, compelling design and the BeltLine — to form an artful destination unlike anything else in Atlanta.”
Mint was founded in 2006 by a group of university students with a mission to create a thriving arts community in Atlanta. In the past 15 years, the organization has presented more than 1,000 contemporary and experimental artists through its curated programs and exhibitions across the city. Mint’s role at Echo Street West advances this mission as well as presents the opportunity to introduce new offerings while connecting directly to the organization’s current home base at The Met via the Atlanta BeltLine.
Based on Mint’s recommendation, Guardian Studios at Echo Street West will include a ceramics studio with communal kiln and pottery wheels — a “much-needed addition for local ceramic artists who are lacking access to spaces with adequate technology, ventilation and square footage to pursue this medium.” The exterior walls of Guardian Studios and outdoor public spaces at Echo Street West will also serve as canvases for future murals and sculptures.
“Our primary goals are to help place today’s local artists in environments where they can thrive without constraints and in turn, to encourage the next generation of artists to dream even bigger,” Jessica Helfrecht, interim executive director at Mint, said. “Due to the pandemic, many makers have lost their studios or are working in places without the tools and conditions needed to create. With high quality yet approachable spaces, Guardian Studios at Echo Street West couldn’t come at a better time for Atlanta’s arts community. We can’t wait to see the creativity, talent, and collaboration that grows here.”
Guardian Studios at Echo Street West are located adjacent to the forthcoming Guardian Works event venue, which is housed in a brick-and-beam building dating back to the early 1900s. The names are a nod to the buildings’ history as the former Guardian Chemical Company complex, and the adaptive reuse design is maintaining the architecture and gritty character. The buildings are separated by a nearly 5,000-square-foot covered, open-air patio and an additional 23,000-square-foot green space. Managed by Novare Events, bookings at Guardian Works are now available for spring 2021 and later.
The restoration for Guardian Studios at Echo Street West is also scheduled for completion in spring 2021 in conjunction with several other community activations, including outdoor gathering areas and an open-air bar and dining experience. When complete, Echo Street West could span 2.4 million square feet of mixed-use space encompassing creative office, retail, and apartments.