Frank Pendergast, 2014

Frank Pendergast
Milledgeville Developer Frank Pendergast has been selected as the recipient of the Georgia Cities Foundation’s 2014 Renaissance Award. Pendergast accepted his award during the Georgia Municipal Association’s Annual Convention in Savannah on Sunday, June 22.

The Renaissance Award recognizes an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to the revitalization of one or more of Georgia’s cities.

A true believer in downtown revitalization, Pendergast took a chance on struggling downtown Milledgeville when no one else would. In 1993 he opened his first restaurant The Brick, now an iconic downtown fixture.

After the success of The Brick, Pendergast, along with his business partners, opened Buffington’s Burger Lounge, Pendergast Properties real estate firm and Blackbird Coffee shop.

Pendergast’s revitalization efforts in downtown Milledgeville has sparked others to buy properties and open businesses in the historic downtown. Pendergast often serves as a mentor to Milledgeville entrepreneurs and is a supporter of BOOST, a Main Street program designed to assist downtown Milledgeville’s small business owners with funding needs.

Pendergast’s most ambitious project to date is his purchase and restoration of a dilapidated 30,000-square foot building built in 1903. A former department store with a storied past, Frank creatively and meticulously restored The Baldwin to house 15 loft apartments, two commercial spaces and an internal courtyard.

In May 2014, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation gave The Baldwin project its Excellence in Rehabilitation award.

Pendergast has also volunteered to serve in advisory roles for numerous Milledgeville organizations including the Main Street/ Downtown Development Authority since 2011. He is also the co-founder longtime chair of Milledgeville’s annual Deep Roots Festival. 

“The investments provided by Frank Pendergast have been key elements in the downtown revitalization of Milledgeville,” said Georgia Cities Foundation President Mike Starr, who presented Pendergast with the award. “Milledgeville was one of three cities in the nation to receive the 2014 Great American Main Street Award and Frank Pendergast has been an instrumental player in turning downtown Milledgeville in a vibrant place to live, work, dine and play.”