ATLANTA-Rental loft apartments over a French restaurant in a 1926 ice house building in a tight, trendy market. What more could a developer ask?

The 1926 Atlantic Ice & Coal Co. building in Decatur just cried out for conversion. Braden Feldman Group finally had the answer with its loft apartments project.

The old two-acre industrial site, a few miles east of Downtown Atlanta, has found new life as the Ice House. In a $10-million development, the company remodeled the original sturdy ice house to create eight lofts above a French restaurant, the Atlantic Star Brasserie.

Braden Feldman built a five-story addition to the original ice house with 63 loft apartments, plus parking. The firm also constructed a 27-unit, four-story loft structure on the tract, which it dubbed the Flatiron Building.

The name comes from its triangular shape, reminiscent of urban commercial buildings built in the early decades of the 1900s. The units will be ready for move-in by January 2001.

The lofts are 600 sf to 1,650 sf and will rent for $700 to $2,000 per month. At an average of $1.23 per sf, the rates are some 15 cents to 18 cents higher than the norm for rental rates in Decatur.

However, the small urban city on the doorstep of Atlanta has become a much-sought-after location in the last five years for both office and residential development. Apartment space is at a premium.

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