Good Bones

Briarcliff Mansion to get a new lease on life

Preserving the Past: After seeing limited action as a backdrop for film and tv productions, Briarcliff Mansion will be restored as a boutique hotel and event location.
Courtesy Republic Property Company

It’s been nearly a century since Coca-Cola heir Asa Griggs “Buddie” Candler Jr. created a stately mansion on a forty-two-acre estate about amile from Emory’s leafy Druid Hills campus.

Long abandoned as a private residence, Briarcliff Mansion would see decades of wear—through various incarnations—before Emory purchased the property in 1998. Now in decline, the grand manor that sits along Briarcliff Road has been effectively mothballed, primarily used as a colorful backdrop for film and television projects.

But a proposal by an Atlanta developer is poised to breathe new life into the historic mansion, noted as much for its eccentric past as its wood-paneled walls, vaulted ceilings, and carved marble fireplaces.

Republic Property Company plans to rehabilitate the fading property into an upscale fifty-four-room boutique hotel and event venue. Under the proposal, Emory would enter into a long-term ground lease with RepublicProperty Company. The Georgia State Properties Commission approved theproposal in December, clearing the way for the project to begin.

The proposal calls for restoring the mansion, a large greenhouse, and a carriage house, as well as building seven new structures to support the property. They include separate guest cottages, an outdoor swimming pool and pool house, a full-scale restaurant and lounge, and indoor and outdoor event spaces—all inspired by the mansion’s original architecture, according to Rawson Daws, vice president of Republic Property Company.

“In Atlanta, you see a tendency to tear things down and build new,” Daws says. “But we think the Briarcliff Mansion has character and a great backstory, with the connections of the Candler family to Emory and Atlanta, to support a community-driven boutique hotel. Architecturally speaking, the bones are there.”

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