In late 2015, while touring a mostly abandoned street in south downtown Atlanta, Michael Garber and Benjamin McLoughlin shared a passion for historic real estate and urban revitalization. Over the next five years they worked on various intown Atlanta multifamily and commercial development projects with a focus on the redevelopment of existing properties in up-and-coming neighborhoods.
In search of a dream project, a well-located historic boutique hotel with roots in Atlanta culture, in January of 2020 they merged their respective companies to form Canvas Companies, the goal of which is to create spaces that respond, cultivate and reflect the community.
While reading local real estate news during the summer of 2020, the Canvas partners became aware of the historic Highland Inn, comprised of a 112-key boutique hotel, the Highland Inn Ballroom, a restaurant space and an adjacent 30,000-square-foot commercial building made up of local retailers and office space. They soon saw an opportunity to preserve the property for the neighborhood, while creating an enticing offer for the current owner to sell the property. Over several months, McLoughlin built a relationship with the owner, and in February, Canvas closed on the transaction to purchase the property.
The inn will soon morph into a flexible living concept – part boutique hotel, European hostel, and apartment – that offers a variety of housing accommodations: from a nightly hotel stay for those intown attending an event, fully furnished three- to six-month leases for those new to Atlanta or here for a work project, or full-time traditional rental housing for those looking for a walkable intown apartment with the feel of a boutique hotel.
Canvas plans to start renovations toward the end of the year with completion 10 to 12 months later.