The Murphy Developer Ditches Office Plan For Loft Apartments In Oakland City

The neighborhood's historic Cut Rate Box industrial buildings would hold more than 150 apartments instead of office space
The Murphy Rendering
Rendering: Official | A rendering of plans for The Murphy in 2019.
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In a change of plans, The Murphy developer Urban Realty Partners and investment firm RAF Capital are moving forward with a proposal to build a 264-unit mixed-use project at a 6-acre site between Murphy Avenue and Sylvan Road, What Now Atlanta has confirmed.

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Under the new plan, the site’s roughly 100-year-old Cut Rate Box buildings would be adaptively reused to hold a mix of studio through two-bedroom apartments, transforming alongside a mix of one- through three-bedroom townhomes, according to plans on file with the city. Announced in 2019, initial plans had called for the historic warehouse buildings to hold about 115,000 square feet of creative office space at the site, which includes a spur to the Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail

As a result of “the impacts of COVID on the marketplace,” the company has shifted its initial phase of development from an all-office and surface parking plan to an all-residential plan, Urban Realty Partners Development Partner Sean Donahue told What Now Atlanta over email.

“We’ll still be saving the historic Cut Rate Box buildings, but will be converting them into loft apartment units, rather than office space,” he said.

The developer is currently going through the city’s rezoning process for the plan, which also now includes new construction in the form of the planned townhomes, which would be for rent, Donahue said.

The triangular project site would hold 156 apartments and 108 townhomes, according to plans on file with the city. The northern of the two industrial buildings, 1088 Murphy Ave., would have 11 studios, 55 one-bedrooms, and six two-bedrooms, while 1100 Murphy Ave. would contain 35 studios, 40 one-bedrooms, and nine two-bedrooms, plans show.

Most of the project’s townhomes would be concentrated just south of the two redeveloped warehouse buildings, with parking and some additional townhomes found to the north along both Murphy Avenue and Sylvan Road, a conceptual site plan for the project shows.

Per BeltLine inclusionary zoning requirements, the project would set aside at least 15 percent of its units at below market rate. Plans currently call for 26 apartments and 17 townhomes to be reserved for households at 80 percent of area median income or below.

At that level, the development’s townhomes are expected to cost between $1,294 per month for the ones and $1,793 for the threes, while its apartments would cost $1,208 a month for the studios and $1,552 for the twos, plans show.

Urban Realty Partners’ proposal for the site also calls for an unspecified amount of office and retail space amid the townhome portions of the site.

“We anticipate that a future phase will include office space at the corner of Murphy and Sylvan,” Donahue said. “The initial residential phase will focus on bringing the historic buildings back to life, and on using new construction to engage the streets (Murphy and Sylvan) and the BeltLine spur that runs through the site.”

“Together, this development will activate the BeltLine, Sylvan Rd. and Murphy Ave. with a high-quality public realm that increases connectivity and walkability,” the rezoning application for the project site reads. “The ultimate goal of this redevelopment effort is to reposition a dilapidated former industrial area into a vibrant, mixed-use place.”

Application documents show an expected completion for the project of late December 2023.

The project architect is Kronberg Urbanists + Architects.

Dean Boerner

Dean Boerner is a California-based writer previously with Bisnow and the San Francisco Business Times. He received his bachelor's degree in economics and business from Saint Mary's College of California, where he also served as the editor-in-chief of The Collegian, the school's campus newspaper. Before that, he spent two years as the publication's sports editor, and he remains a committed fan, for better or worse, of his Sacramento Kings, San Francisco Giants, and Saint Mary's Gaels.

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