The Atlanta BeltLine’s Business Façade pARTnership Grant Program Increases the Visibility of Three Local Businesses

Program stimulates business growth through capital improvements, uniting business owners and artists

The CreateATL parklet and participatory art installation by Tina Medico provide a warm and welcoming entrance to the neighborhood workspace. (Photo: The Sintoses).
The CreateATL parklet and participatory art installation by Tina Medico provide a warm and welcoming entrance to the neighborhood workspace. (Photo: The Sintoses).

Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. has completed two murals and a parklet as part of the Business Façade pARTnership Grant which aims to revitalize business districts along BeltLine.

The work was completed this fall with projects that promote the renewal of these commercial areas by giving artists work opportunities, creating visual interest in the businesses and highlighting the accessibility of these businesses from the BeltLine.

The BeltLine has invested more than $220,000 on façade improvements for local businesses as part of the Business Façade pARTnership Grant program since 2019.

“These façade improvements are a signal to the community that these spaces are open for business and nurturing their communities. We hope everyone will go visit the locations to support these local businesses on the BeltLine,” said Kelvin Collins, Atlanta BeltLine’s vice president of economic development.

The pARTnership grant invests in capital improvements to businesses façades by pairing local artists and makers with local businesses. The program is designed to catalyze economic growth within the BeltLine Tax Allocation District (TAD) that spans the 22-mile BeltLine corridor.

Throughout the program, the selected businesses had access to a slate of support services including local Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) general contractors, architects and structural engineers that aided in the improvements, including general contractor Level Construction Services, architecture firm McAfee3 Architects and engineering firm Shear Structural.

Some of the criteria used to select the businesses for the grants were the visibility of the locations, the potential for clustering other façade improvements and the corridor’s economic need.

People can see the completed projects at these locations:

  • CreateATL / Beam Imagination at 900 Murphy Avenue at the intersection of Adair Park and West End

About: CreateATL’s mission with Beam Imagination is to transform blighted industrial properties into collaboration spaces guided by community voices. Over the next decade the goal is to replicate this model across Atlanta neighborhoods that are important, but have yet to receive the least investment. Memberships give access to a shared work and event space for up to 100 people, a community workshop, a podcast studio, and a coworking/collaboration area. The community’s core tenets are equity, accessibility and optimism. As part of this project, the building’s exterior was painted and a deck was added.

“My passion for collaboration and visual storytelling has established the framework for CreateATL,” said Pouya Dianat, community organizer for CreateATL. “By focusing on fairness, accessibility, and optimism as core pillars, we’ve built entrepreneurial space for good.”

Artist: CreateATL partnered with Tina Hofer Medico to create a parklet and a participatory art installation. The welcoming parklet links residents, shoppers and merchants in two historic Atlanta districts, Adair Park and West End, which are connected by a popular bike path at this business. “My work fosters self-expression and allows individuals a creative avenue to share their art and their voice via the use of interactive art installations and engaging community spaces,” said Medico. “Through thoughtful, purposeful design, not only is this project improving the curb appeal of the space, but it’s also bringing people together.”

  • Carver Market / Community Grounds at 1297 McDonough Boulevard in South Atlanta

About: Carver Market set out to right a wrong: That in a community that used to have four grocery stores, there were none. The market and coffee shop, Community Grounds, opened and now serves an area that had turned into a food desert, bringing new life and vigor to the historic South Atlanta neighborhood.

“We understood through working in South Atlanta since 2001 that access to food was a big concern,” said Jeff Delp, economic development director for FCS, which owns Community Grounds and applied for the grant. “South Atlantans’ food insecurity has been addressed by Carver Market, and the area as a whole is experiencing renewed health and vibrancy as a result.”

Artist: George F. Baker III drew inspiration from the area’s history and his own whimsical, youthful spirit to appeal to the “inner kid” in all of us. He designed an eye-catching mural for the building’s façade to attract consumers and passers-by. The mural’s design was influenced by the community’s proud past and its present-day dedication to helping its neighbors. Said Baker: “Reviving this corner will foster community spirit and set the stage for economic growth.”

515 Ralph David Abernathy is a former auto parts warehouse dating to the

late 1890s that will be home to eight new enterprises once renovations are complete. The 3,000-square-foot westside warehouse compound has a restored cross-hatched wood floor and twenty-foot ceiling supported by square, wooden columns. Pegleg Studio, a woodworking studio, Eyedrum Inc., a ground breaking art gallery, and Moisture Love, a hair care products company, are just a few of the eco-friendly, women- and minority-owned companies and nonprofits currently located there.

“We imagined our 120-year-old woodworking factory would serve as a reflection of the world we want to live in. Beautiful, satisfying and curious,” said Stephen Evans, a woods craftsman at Pegleg Studio. “In addition to serving as an entrance to the neighborhood, our factory also generates a lot of wood waste, which we reuse as fuel, hobby material, and artistic inspiration, as well as a source of sawdust for farmers and gardeners.”

Artist: Lance Darden, a veteran illustrator, animator and character designer collaborated with Vera Zeigler, a seasoned muralist, to design and install the mural as an entrance to the neighborhood and commercial sector, wrapping the building from Ralph David Abernathy to Humphries Street. “I want this mural to inspire our community to strive to innovate, trail blaze and embody the extraordinary,” said Darden. “This mural celebrates black inventors and entrepreneurs. The purpose of the 515 RDA is to provide a safe space and community for small businesses in the area to succeed and flourish. This mural features black business owners and inventors that did the unthinkable during a time where all the odds were stacked up against them. It will help inspire the community to strive for greatness and not be held back by their circumstances.”

Media Images: Images of the façade improvement projects, before and after, can be seen here.

For more information on the façade improvement project, click here.

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