A reader tip compelled us to check in on the old Executive Park complex on North Druid Hills at I-85, where some of the boxy, low-rise white office buildings so familiar to southbound drivers have begun to disappear.
A call to the folks at Taylor & Mathis (the firm tasked with redeveloping the 70-acre parcel for Boston-based owner CommonWealth REIT) revealed that redevelopment is still in the cards, but on "pause." But as leases expire in the low-rise buildings, they're being razed; the site's mid-rise office buildings will remain and be integrated into the future plan.
It's appropriate that Taylor & Mathis is the firm handling the redevelopment of the property, as it was back in the early 1970's that its principals kick-started the large mixed-use development. Fast forward 30 years to the heady days of the last real estate boom, and T&M got Executive Park re-zoned to allow for a new retail-heavy, mixed-use destination called The Park Druid Hills.
In a nod to the thin and rather antiquated existing retail in the area and proximity to the highway, their plan called for a healthy measure of big box'ish retail stores, as well as a collection of restaurants, a new hotel, medical office space and 500 units of multifamily housing.
But when the bottom fell out of the commercial real estate market, demand (and financing) for these types of large-scale retail projects evaporated. Now as the general economy and commercial real estate outlook improve, we'd bet this site gets activated sooner than later. With the growth of the Emory University and its hospitals and other healthcare assets, the CDC and the reverse migration to intown Atlanta sites that seems to be building, the value of this much land in this location only grows. -Thanks to C.U. for the tip.