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Briarcliff property to become senior living community

Emory plans to enter into a long-term ground lease with Galerie Living to develop and operate a senior living community on about 32 acres of the 42-acre Briarcliff property (1260 Briarcliff Road NE). As part of the agreement, Galerie will restore the historic Candler Mansion.  

A virtual community meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 28, at 6:30 p.m. to give more details about the project. Registration is required, and a unique link will be sent to each registrant.  

There will also be an in-person community meeting on Wednesday, June 29, from 5:30 -7:30 p.m. in the eighth-floor conference room of the Claudia Nance Rollins building, which is part of the Rollins School of Public Health complex (1518 Clifton Road). Free parking will be available in the Michael Street parking deck located off Houston Mill Road and Rollins Way.      

“The restoration of the mansion will be extensive,” says David C. Payne, associate vice president of planning and engagement at Emory. “Once it is restored, we are hopeful that there will be opportunity for campus and community use.”  

Following the community meetings, Galerie Living will make its filings with DeKalb County in the hope of breaking ground by 2023 or 2024.  

Once upon a ‘fairyland’ 

The Candler Mansion has a storied history at Emory and in the surrounding community. The home was built in the 1920s by Coca-Cola heir Asa “Buddie” G. Candler Jr. It took more than a decade to build, but by its completion it was considered one of the finest estates in the region.  

In 1921, the Atlanta Constitution (now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) published an article titled “Forty Acres of Fairyland.” In it, the reporter writes, “As one enters, the grounds resemble a great park.... A popular spot is the swimming pool, which is enjoyed by Mr. Candler, his family and friends. Below the swimming pool is located the bath house, built of cream brick, with marble partitions and tile floors, eight dressing rooms, two showers, dressing tables, mirrors and other conveniences.” 

Over the years, Candler and his wife, Helen, added onto the property, which ultimately included 40 rooms, several greenhouses, two solariums, a ballroom and even a zoo. It is on the National Registry of Historic Properties.  

By 1998, when Emory University purchased the Briarcliff property, the once-palatial estate had seen better days. In the ensuing time, there have been many plans about what to do with the Candler Mansion, including a boutique hotel and event center, most recently.   

In addition to the restored mansion, the Library Service Center, a joint library archival facility for Emory and Georgia Tech, will remain on the land.  

This new agreement with Galerie Living represents a chance to imbue new life into the property.  

“The Candler Mansion was truly elegant in its heyday and should be restored to its grandeur. This plan will do that,” says Payne. 

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