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Baggage car making big move for The Chair Factory’s big plans
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A crew prepares to move a baggage car located next to Engine 209 at Engine 209 park in downtown Gainesville. - photo by Shannon Casas

An early 20th-century Southern Railway baggage car and longtime downtown Gainesville fixture is about to get a new home.

Alpharetta lawyer Bob Cheeley plans to move the car Saturday, May 22, from Engine 209 Park at 312 Jesse Jewell Parkway to The Chair Factory, an event and entertainment venue he’s developing on 13 acres at 456 Industrial Blvd

Workers jacked up the car earlier this week for the move, which is set to begin at 8 a.m. and last about 45 minutes, Cheeley said.

Gainesville Police will be helping with the effort, spokesman Lt. Kevin Holbrook said.

The move is taking place early Saturday so “as to not impact traffic during peak times,” he said.

Still, downtown motorists will need to be aware of road closures as the car is moved.

The effort will be similar to a house being moved, with the route involving Jesse Jewell Parkway, Queen City Parkway and Davis Street. The old chair factory sits on a block bounded by Davis, Grove Street, Industrial Boulevard and Pine Street.

Baggage car social

What: Jekyll Brewing on site for event celebrating baggage car’s move

When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 22

Where: The Chair Factory and future Midland Social, 456 Industrial Blvd., Gainesville

The Chair Factory venue is already in place, but Cheeley has added property at the old Georgia Chair Co. site. The baggage car, when fully restored, will basically become a dining car with a platform overlooking the city’s Midland Greenway, as part of an overall development that will be called “Midland Social.”

Saturday, Cheeley said he plans to lead the way in the baggage car caravan, driving a wood-paneled 1948 Jeep Willys, or “Woody,” which “is going to be the mascot” at his development.

Later, at the end of the route, Alpharetta-based Jekyll Brewing will provide free Smash Burgers, a popular item off its menu, and beer to the first 100 people who show at The Chair Factory between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., said Michael Lundmark, Jekyll’s founder/CEO.

“We want people to come there and interact with (each other) and socialize,” Cheeley said. “We’re going to have beautiful grounds and sodded grass, and the rail car is going to be a central gathering place.”

He is hoping to open Midland Social later this year.