825 Warner Street
Building a New Home for Trees Atlanta
As we start the new year, demolition and brown field remediation is complete, and grading is in progress. When vertical construction begins, we’ll start to see our new home emerge from the ground up. We anticipate completion by the end of year 2022.
Scroll below to see the progress to date for our future home in Oakland City.
Images below L-R: Architectural rendering of Trees Atlanta’s future Headquarters at 825 Warner Street, credit Lord Aeck Sargent; map of current and new locations.
Where We Began
Since our founding in 1985, Trees Atlanta has had two homes. Our original office was a small space in a red brick building on Poplar Street in downtown Atlanta. The original staff of one (the indomitable Marcia Bansley) grew to four. Employee number 5 was Greg Levine, currently our Co-Executive Director and Chief Program Officer. We moved into our second and current home at 225 Chester Avenue in Reynoldstown in 2008. The former warehouse was reused and renovated into a modern, energy efficient facility that earned a Platinum LEED certification. The grounds were planted with young trees that have grown to tower over the building.
Images below L-R: Undated photos in the Poplar Street office; Trees Atlanta’s first logo version hanging on a work truck; former existing warehouse at 225 Chester Avenue 2007; Kendeda Center at 225 Chester Avenue 2009.
We Grew and Grew
After Marcia’s retirement in 2011, Greg and Connie Veates, our Co-Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, formed a highly effective dual Executive Director team.
Trees Atlanta grew exponentially at 225 Chester Avenue, known as the Kendeda Center. What began as fewer than one project a week expanded to three or more projects every weekend year-round, plus Weekday Guardian projects. Education programs expanded so much so that a satellite education center was created in 2015 at 112 Krog Street in Old Fourth Ward. From this location, our education programs grew to facilitating over 22,000 education interactions each year for youth and adults, including our very popular summer camp! Our Forest Restoration teams also continued to make greater impact throughout metro Atlanta. Our staff and volunteers work in over 500 acres of forested areas each year. This expanded scale required us to lease another facility at Murphy Crossing on the Westside as our operations facility.
Bringing the Team Back Under One Roof
We had outgrown the space and were spread out across town. While striving for the reach of our work to continue expanding across metro Atlanta, we knew we wanted to bring all our employees back together under one roof.
The search for the right location lead us to 825 Warner Street. Located in Oakland City, the property connects to the Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail with Adair Park on the other side. The heavy industrial space presented an opportunity to return concrete to greenspace, as well as allow us to build a structure that could house all our staff, materials, tools, and vehicles. The space is designed for indoor and outdoor education, events, program operations, and administration. It will also be open to our new neighbors and other environmental nonprofit organizations. (Stay tuned for more exciting news about the latter!)
The property was acquired in 2019 with an anticipated construction start of Summer 2020. Well, folks, 2020 had different plans. Despite the unprecedented uncertainty of the pandemic, Trees Atlanta adjusted and continued to focus on our mission — with new safety protocols in place.
Permitting, paperwork, funding, and construction delays were inevitable during the first months of the pandemic — and likely remain so. It was August 2021 before city permits were received to start demolition. All of the old structure was removed, except for the large steel cylinder that still stands. The structure was once a grain silo; for most of its history, the building had been used by various baking companies. It was also temporarily used as an art space cleverly called The Bakery.
Before grading and preparing the land for a new foundation, brownfield remediation was conducted to remove soil contaminants, which is typical of previous industrial properties. The next stage is construction of the buildings. The final steps will include extensive landscape installation, including the planting of approximately 150 native trees and thousands of plants.
Images below L-R are from the following dates: August 4, 2020; preparing and protecting the root zone of the mature Southern red oak prior to construction start June 19, 2021; August 18, 2021; September 1, 2021; November 22, 2021 JB.
Our plan is to move in by the end of the year, but we know that plans have a way of changing. What we do know for certain is that our staff is resilient and amazing, our volunteers are tireless and reliable, and our supporters and funders are genuine. The benefits of trees to people and our communities is clear, and the need for protecting and improving our urban forest is urgent.
We have exciting times ahead of us, and we are grateful and excited to have you join us in the journey.
Images above L-R: Sign posted on site; construction progress December 30, 2021 JB; “The ConNectar” by Kaylin Broussard and Chris Bartlett was funded by Trees Atlanta and is an educational art installation designed to celebrate and focus attention on protecting pollinator habitats in our urban ecosystem; “The ConNectar” is located on the Westside Trail near the future Trees Atlanta Headquarters.
All historical photos, credit Trees Atlanta; photos indicated “JB” courtesy of John Becker.
- Concept Drawings of Our New Oakland City Home (9/18/20)
- The ConNectar: Pollinator Art for the Arboretum (10/4/21)
Posted January 5, 2022