The property surrounding the Spruill Gallery is back on the market.
The nonprofit Spruill Center for the Arts is hoping to attract a developer to build a mixed-use project on the approximately 5 acres fronting Ashford Dunwoody Road.
“The Spruill family donated the property to us in 2001 along with the farmhouse that’s now the gallery,” said Bob Kinsey, CEO of the Spruill Center for the Arts. “There are some deed restrictions on how they donated the property. It has to be used for the arts and the farmhouse has to be maintained.”
But the farmhouse, where the gallery is located, only occupies about a quarter of an acre.
The Spruill center would like to offer the remaining property to a developer on a long-term lease that would provide a consistent revenue stream to support the mission of the arts organization. Kinsey said the money would be used for general operations as well as capital expansions.
He said revenue for the organization has been uncertain over the past several years. Funding for the Georgia Council for the Arts has been cut, and a lot of corporate funding has dried up since the recession hit.
“Every day is a struggle for money in the arts,” Kinsey said. “It’s tough times out there for all companies, but certainly non-profits and arts organizations. Having some dependable source of revenue would certainly be ideal.”
This is not the first time the group has marketed the property. In 2007, a developer had plans for a mixed-use project on the property. But Kinsey said the bank backing the project pulled out amid the economic uncertainty that ushered in the recession.
“It went all the way up to permitting. We had complete architectural drawings,” Kinsey said.
Bill Butler, president of JWB Reality Services, the group marketing the property for Spruill, said he expects developers to propose mixed-use projects, including retail on the ground floor and several floors of residential units above.
“We’re really looking for a mixed use development, very similar to what was proposed earlier,” Butler said. “An urban-oriented design concept as opposed to a suburban-oriented design concept.”
The previous building proposed at the Spruill property was seven stories, Butler said.
“The development that was proposed there a few years ago, in my opinion, was a little too dense for that property,” Butler said. “I envision more along the five- story line than the seven-story.”
But, he said they are still in the process of taking proposals and talking to developers about what they envision at the property.
“The market will ultimately answer that question,” Butler said. “We have a lot of good interest in the property from quality and experienced developers.”
Kinsey said the property is really the last prime piece of undeveloped real estate along Ashford Dunwoody Road.
“We would like something that’s really good and beneficial for Dunwoody that fits with what’s in the city,” Kinsey said.
Michael Starling, Dunwoody’s economic development director, said a good development on the Spruill property could really set the tone for that area of the city.
“We’re excited that it’s on the market now,” Starling said.