Cartel Properties, founded by George Rohrig, is a recognized and respected leader of urban development in Atlanta, Georgia — focusing on the revitalization of under-utilized areas and transforming them into vibrant neighborhoods.
Cartel has been a major contributor in the redevelopment of Atlanta’s most desirable districts — Buckhead, Midtown, West Midtown and Decatur. With the establishment of restaurants, retail shops and housing, Cartel Properties has helped to transform these districts into lively pedestrian urban destinations.
In the late 1970’s, Cartel took a long term lease at 265 East Paces Ferry Road and opened a restaurant and yogurt shop. The restaurant was the first in the city to serve salad by the ounce, offering a wide array of gourmet toppings. By having a popular restaurant in the neighborhood, Cartel recognized how once sleepy sidewalks could become pedestrian friendly and full of life.
From this modest beginning, Cartel acquired additional properties in Buckhead and within ten years, opened six restaurants (Peachtree Cafe, Otto’s, East Village Grille, The Lodge, Nikiemoto’s & Azio) and owned a number of retail spaces in a two-block area. Buckhead soon became recognized by the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau as the premier entertainment district in Atlanta. With the revitalization of Buckhead Village, Cartel Properties was vaulted into the urban development business. Our story continues today with ownership of approximately one hundred properties throughout Atlanta.
Cartel’s method of operation is identifying in-town districts that are in need of revitalization or lack identity, acquiring groups of underutilized buildings and property within these districts and transforming them into unique and appealing environments.
Each district has its own personality, but our goal is to bring life to the streets with projects that feature great restaurants, quality shopping and creative places for people to live and work.
“I go into a neighborhood that needs attention and liven it up with street life and reposition the neighborhood. I like to think that I’ve had a positive effect on each neighborhood and its street life.”
Working with its partners, Cartel Properties made its commitment to Midtown Atlanta in 1995 with the acquisition of a former service station property on the southwest corner of the intersection of Piedmont and Tenth Street.
The dilapidated structure on the property was redesigned and converted into an award winning building wherein Cartel located one of its premier restaurants, Nickiemoto’s. In addition, the building provided space for two other restaurants and three retail tenants. In a very short time, the property became a destination and gathering place for residents of the community who were seeking good food in a cozy and fun-filled environment, along with the opportunity to shop for quality merchandise offered by the retail tenants.
As a result of their efforts, this successful Midtwon project received a prestigious Award of Excellence from the Atlanta Urban Design Commission in 1998.
Based on the success of this project, Cartel and its partners recognized the vast potential of the area and began acquiring property along Peachtree Street, and assembled ten consecutive corners from Fifth Street to Eighth Street. Within this area there was, among other things, an all-night dance club, a delapidated hotel frequented by transients, the site of a long-closed fast food restaurant and other vacant structures, parking lots in various states of disrepair and the six story SunCoast office building at 805 Peachtree with only a few tenants, including the Pardons and Parole offices.
An ambitious program for the renovation of the acquired properties commenced with the addition of a Starbucks coffee at Seventh Street and Peachtree and the conversion of the SunCoast office building into 118 luxury residential loft condominiums. In just a few short years, one of Atlanta’s most prominently recognized destinations with restaurants, coffee shops, high-end designer retail and loft condos became a reality.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle recognized the overall acquisition and redevelopment project as one of Atlanta’s real estate “Deals of the Year”.
The revitalization of this area by Cartel and its partners became the catalyst for the formation of what is now known as the Midtown Mile which was awarded the Blue Print Midtown Award in 2002. In a few short years, this area became a vibrant pedestrian center where people could live, work and play. Recognizing the necessity of providing the right mix of tenants in the area, George Rohrig personally selected and strategically placed each tenant in their development.
At the time, no other area in the South had more people living, working, playing and enjoying the amenities afforded by the relatively condensed area known as the Midtown Mile.
The development of West Ponce de Leon in Decatur was similar to that of Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta. The town square was being renovated by the entrance to the Decatur Marta station and the synergy was beginning. In 1999, Cartel purchased 431 Ponce de Leon Avenue, a camper dealership located at the entrance of Decatur. At the time, this strip was more auto-oriented with gas stations, car lots and bank drive-ups. Cartel quickly commenced with a plan to urbanize this stretch of the downtown Decatur area with coffee shops, restaurants, retail stores and condominiums. This gateway strip in Decatur is now full of vibrancy, with people sitting on outside patios, pedestrians shopping and people living within walking distance of the downtown square and mass transit. Cartel has worked closely with the City of Decatur planning department to bring change to the neighborhood where street life exists and people and businesses flourish.
Howell Mill Road connects one of Atlanta’s wealthiest neighborhoods with downtown Atlanta. The street attracted Cartel because of its vast potential, with underutilized warehouse buildings and vacant structures. Cartel partnered with the Martin Family, and the formation of the new Midtown West district began. Our team brought in some of the leading names in the restaurant business, as well as coffee shops, designer home furnishing stores, boutique office space, apartments and a performing arts theater. Once an industrial wasteland, West Midtown has been transformed into one of the most vibrant real estate destinations in the city of Atlanta. Cartel put pedestrians on the streets by installing quality spaces in renovated buildings and by creating tremendous value in this once blighted area. When you visit the Optimist, Miller Union, Bartaco, Flip Burger, Bocado, 8 Sushi, Urban Tree Cidery or Octane Coffee among others, you become a vital part of the overall synergy that breeds the success of this new district. Cartel and the Martin family manage more properties than any other developer in the area and are the driving force behind its resurgence.