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National Players Are Getting to Work on Buckhead Atlanta (aka Streets of Buckhead 2.0)

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The end of the saga that was the Streets of Buckhead and is now Buckhead Atlanta will be written by heavy-hitters largely based outside of Atlanta. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. For those that have not followed the recent history of the giant mixed-use project in the heart of Buckhead, after Ben Carter Properties lost the project, San Diego-based developer Oliver McMillan bought it with financial partner The Baupost Group, a Boston-based hedge fund. The new owners then hired Hunter Richardson, a veteran D.C.-based development consultant (and former Turner exec) with a history of working on high-profile projects in Atlanta and elsewhere, including Phillips Arena and the Georgia Aquarium / World of Coke / Pemberton Park triumvirate adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park (check out BuckheadView's great piece on Richardson). As Oliver McMillan prepares to seek approval for its site plan, they've selected noted Chicago landscape architecture firm Hoerr Schaudt and its principal/architect Douglas Hoerr to handle landscape and streetscape design; Hoerr is perhaps best known for his work on Chicago's Michigan Avenue "Miracle Mile." The initial renderings show various modifications to Ben Carter's original designs, and Hoerr has detailed plans to focus heavily on the pedestrian experience and the liberal use of horticulture (both on the ground and infused with the building's architecture) to create an environment that blends into the neighborhood and takes heed of Atlanta's climate. While many would likely prefer a hometown team finishing this signature project for the city, and the end-result is yet to be seen, it's tough to argue with the talent and resources Oliver McMillan is bringing to bear. Construction is set to resume in April of 2012 with a hopeful completion date in the fall of 2013.