Fred and Donna Duncan outside their townhome at the Water Tower Stacks in the Old Fourth Ward.
Fred and Donna Duncan outside their townhome at the Water Tower Stacks in the Old Fourth Ward.

The water tower at the corner of Irwin Street and Auburn Avenue in the Old Fourth Ward is a landmark. Built in 1906 to store water for the cotton mill next door (which is now known as the mixed-use Studioplex) the concrete cylinder rises 100 feet in the air casting a historic shadow over this bustling neighborhood. The tower also has new neighbors – a row of townhomes called, appropriately enough, the Water Tower Stacks.
When Epic Development first announced plans to build a row of a dozen townhomes literally underneath the historic water tower, concern rippled through the O4W. The water tower and its surrounding greenspace have long been a gathering spot for events, dog walking, picnics, Frisbee playing and photo shoots. What would happen when homes were built on the tower’s western perimeter?
The Water Tower at Auburn Avenue and Irwin Street is a landmark in the O4W.

Surprisingly, in a city full of pedestrian and uninspired developments, the Water Tower Stacks are actually cool – inside and out. The water tower keeps its place of prominence rather than being overpowered by the townhomes. The modern, four-story brownstone style (the units have elevators and stairs) fits organically onto the property and the view of the tower from the expansive windows in each home keeps the icon front and center. And the other big plus: the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail is, basically, just across the street.
In mid-March, after a year of construction, the first residents began moving into their townhomes. When INtown interviewed the three homeowners, they were still arranging (and buying) furniture and figuring out where to hang photos and artwork. But they were all excited about their neighborhood and in awe of the property and its history.
Susan Levy inside her new kitchen at the Water Tower Stacks.

Susan and David Levy
The Levy’s downsized from East Cobb after their children left the nest. “We weren’t looking at this area,” Susan recalled. “Some of our friends moved down here and invited us for dinner. We loved the positive vibe, the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood and the BeltLine. The Levy’s have been enjoying walking to Ponce City Market for shopping and dinner and all the way to Piedmont Park on the BeltLine.
Bob and Bunny Leonard enjoy their rooftop deck at the Water Tower Stacks.

Bunny and Bob Lenhard
The Lenhard’s lived in Sandy Springs for 37 years, but grew bored of suburbia. “We were always coming to the city for shopping and dining, and I’d always wanted to move Intown. The Lenhard’s said moving into the modern, contemporary townhome was a bit of a shock after living in a traditional home, but they’ve already fallen in love with the windows and light. The rooftop patio also offers a stunning view of the Downtown and Midtown skyline. They also love being able to walk “everywhere,” including Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market. Bunny is also an avid runner and enjoys the flat expanse of the BeltLine trail.
The views from the roof decks of the Water Tower Stacks.

Fred and Donna Duncan
The Duncan’s moved from Dunwoody a decade ago to another up-and-coming community, Glenwood Park, before buying their new townhome. “We fell in love with the BeltLine because we like to ride our bikes and with the neighborhood itself,” Donna said. They’ve also been enjoying Irwin Street Market, dining at Rathbun’s Steak and Serpas Restaurant — all outside their front door. “The windows are amazing,” Fred commented. “We love watching all the activity outside and knowing its right at our doorstep.”
 

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.