A developer is planning to turn an old warehouse and factory building into a new, creative office space with an unusual name: The Gama Goat Building.
New York-based ATCO announced plans for the building at 1701 North Graham Street on Monday. The site is just north of uptown, part of the planned Camp North End development taking shape on the sprawling 80-acre former distribution center and munitions plant.
Renovations will go beyond the 140,000 square-foot building. The developers plan to put new passageways through the building to connect with cross streets in the Lockwood neighborhood, breaking up what had long been a huge, blank wall separated from the area with a chain link fence and inviting pedestrians inside.
Those buildings will be lined with ground-floor spaces for shops and restaurants, with outdoor patios. But the bulk of the building will be occupied by office space.
“We view the Gama Goat Building as a unique opportunity for companies to work in inspiring industrial space, just a mile from Trade & Tryon,” said Damon Hemmerdinger, ATCO Properties co-president. “Renovating this building is the first big step towards realizing our long-term plan for Camp North End.”
The company is seeking office tenants, and plans to have the building ready for occupancy in late 2018. Features inside include exposed brick, wooden trusses, high ceilings and large windows.
The unusual name is a callback to the site’s history. The “Gama Goat” was a nickname for a U.S. Army truck built in the late 1960s and early 1970s, which ATCO says was assembled in the building.
New York-based S9 Architecture and Charlotte-based BB+M Architecture are working on the project, which Cushman & Wakefield is leasing.
Elsewhere on the site, a boiler and factory buildings – which date to the 1920s and were designed by architect Albert Kahn, who built famed automotive factories in Detroit – are currently idle. Over the decades, Camp North End has been home to a Ford Model T factory, a missile assembly plant, a munitions dump and warehouse operations.
ATCO paid more than $15.6 million for the site, and plans to renovate four other old warehouses and factories between North Graham Street and Statesville Avenue, as well as add new buildings. Eventually, the site will include up to 1.5 million square feet of office space, as well as up to 1,500 new apartments and a hotel.
Early retail tenants and some smaller users are already in place, as ATCO tries to build the area’s vibe and buzz. Those tenants include a coffee roaster, a custom motorcycle builder, a nonprofit fostering black tech workers and entrepreneurs, a hair salon and Goodyear Arts.