May 3, 2024 - News

The Goat Farm opens new apartments and studio spaces

A photo from the top of a terraced seating area in a mixed-use development with a large gravel- and landscaped central area

The Goat Farm's new apartments and studio spaces (left) and historic buildings. The new MOCA museum will be in the vacant parcel along the property's edge. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

The Goat Farm Arts Center, Atlanta's most eclectic arts outpost, has entered its next phase by adding housing and dining options on top of galleries and creative space.

Why it matters: The 12-acre property has long been an outlier among Atlanta real estate: a tucked-away creative space in a city increasingly overrun with anonymous apartments.

State of play: Residents have started moving into the expanded Goat Farm's first phase. Plans call for a coffee shop and bookstore, performance and arts venues, and a restaurant/bar.

  • Contemporary arts museum MOCA GA could begin constructing its new home later this year.

Catch up quick: Countless photographers, painters, and digital artists, along with upstart and indie creative companies, have occupied spaces in the collection of 19th-century brick buildings that made up an old cotton-gin factory.

  • Part of the magic was founder Anthony Harper's novel business model: use a cut of studio rents to fund events, artists and performances, build word of mouth and create a vibrant place to visit, and they would never see a studio sit vacant.

Threat level: By 2019, West Midtown was in full boom, and property taxes had nearly doubled in five years. The historic buildings were also showing their age, Harper told Axios.

  • After talks with several developers, Harper partnered with TriBridge, an Atlanta development firm whose managing partner Lee Walker was involved in the Atlanta arts community and attended Goat Farm events.

Zoom in: Artist studios and workshops line the ground floor of the new apartment buildings designed by Bureau V Architecture. Studio tenants also have full access to amenities like a rooftop pool overlooking West Midtown, a fitness center and an art-filled clubhouse.

  • Gathering spaces include a breezy covered indoor/outdoor lounge, plus terrace seating and steps that can double as an amphitheater.
  • Goat Farm-commissioned art displays prominently throughout the property landscaped with native plants and trees. The team is currently accepting artists' programming proposals, Harper said.

What they're saying: "The arts funding model is still there," Harper said. "It's just now will have more space for people to create things, will have more venue space, will be able to fit more creative companies and creative practitioners."

Intrigue: The property's iconic water tower remains, although it's in a new location.

  • The namesake resident goats moved to an animal sanctuary prior to the pandemic. (Kids were throwing rocks at the animals and feeding them Snickers bars, Harper said.)
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