The parcel has about 76 acres of land, including the 15,000-square-foot Glenridge Hall, a Tudor revival mansion built in 1929. It is located west of Ga. 400 on Abernathy Road. It is split into two parts: one north of Abernathy and having 47 acres and the other the south side of Abernathy between Glenridge Drive and Barfield Road with nearly 29 acres.
The corporate headquarters for Newell Rubbermaid Inc. and United Parcel Service are nearby. The property could be used for another large company’s base of operations, and all of the potential buyers touring the grounds so far have been from major corporations, the names of which Rabalais could not disclose.
“I have spoken to several corporate entities looking at buying the property,” he said. “Some say, ‘The house is [in] a place we need [to develop] and it’s got to go.’ I have had several who have looked. Some have looked into ways we can incorporate it into our development.”
The home has been owned by the Glenn family for nearly a century. It was built for Thomas K. Glenn, who was president and chairman of Trust Company Bank, now SunTrust Bank, had Glenridge Hall built 14 years after purchasing the land. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places but that designation by the U.S. Department of Interior does not protect it from demolition.
Rabalais said he and the property owners looked at 20 to 25 other similar historic properties in the Southeast to research ways to possibly keep the mansion (another relative owns the rest of the land). Over the past four years they also talked to countless preservation organizations about ways to save the house. In the fall he started talks with the city of the family’s plans to sell the property.
“Everyone sees value in having a historic home like this, but the economics don’t add up, no matter how we face the problem,” Rabalais said. “Anyone we felt could approach [preserving] the property we have talked to. It’s not our first choice but it’s the choice we came down to after looking at other opportunities.
“With anything you own in your family, there's a sentimental component. But there’s also a rational component to it. It was a business decision. We have exhausted any opportunity we have looked at. If there were a 12th-hour buyer that we discover that could buy it and keep the property, we would take advantage it.”
The owner did not want to live on the property, Rabalais said.
“Frankly I lived in the house for three or four years and it’s not comfortable to live in,” he said. “Our question was: ‘How can we repurpose the house?’ We wanted to make it of value to the community but it also had to largely support itself.”
Thad Ellis, a senior vice president with downtown Atlanta-based Cousins Properties Inc., said he sees the property serving either as a corporation’s headquarters or as a developer’s major mixed-use project.
“It’s a fantastic two pieces of real estate in the heart of the largest submarket in all of Atlanta,” he said, referring to the central Perimeter one. “More importantly, [it’s] one with a lot of corporate demand for office space but also really for mixed-use space.”
The property is listed with CB Richard Ellis’ Scott McGregor. There is no list price, but the land could fetch as much as $1 million per acre based on previous sales of property nearby. It will be sold at auction in the fall to the highest bidder that meets the owner’s criteria, Rabalais said. The new owner likely will have to get the property rezoned before developing it.
Ellis, who has spent about 30 years in commercial real estate, focusing on office projects. He said he hopes whoever develops the Glenridge Hall property does so intelligently.
“We’re all hoping that serious thought and serious design to the overall project are factoring in traffic,” Ellis said. “It’s a heavily populated area. … It’s amazing that in 2014 there’s that kind of property that well located in the heart of the city.”