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Memory Lane: 'The Streets of Buckhead' Debacle

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Even by Atlanta standards, the $1.5 billion "Rodeo Drive of the South" vision was a pretty fantastical dream on the part of developer Ben Carter, who was raised in Buckhead and yearned to swap a raucous party district for pearl retailers and five-star hotels on his boyhood stomping grounds. But the Great Recession stopped the ill-fated "Streets of Buckhead" in its tracks. The project stalled in 2009, leaving unfinished parking decks and an unsightly bowl of rebar and dirt where revelers once danced. California developer OliverMcMillan took control of the eight-acre site, and Carter's ambitions were reined in. Work began in earnest last August.

Now, five cranes and an army of laborers are piecing together the scaled-back "Buckhead Atlanta" project, which plans to open the first handful of retailers before the holidays this year. OliverMcMillan told 11Alive earlier this month that the build is on schedule, and most of the project should be complete by the end of 2014.

Eventually, the project will included about 80 retailers and restaurants, ranging from cafes to fine dining, spread across 300,000 square feet of retail space. Expect some cobbled streets, and a decidedly pedestrian-friendly layout, the developer promises. The roughly $1 billion project will eventually include 370 apartments and about 100,000 square feet of "boutique" office space.

But what about parking, that life-or-death accouterment of Atlanta development? Roughly 2,400 spaces are planned. For context, Atlantic Station has about 7,000 spaces.

Two cents: The Buckhead Village, in its heyday, was special, but all goods things (in Atlanta) must pass, and any project with admirable tact beats a gnarly hole in the ground.

· Work resumes on scaled-back Buckhead project [AJC]
· Slow but steady progress for Buckhead Atlanta [11 Alive]

[Streets of Buckhead/Buckhead Atlanta images via Atlanta Skyrise Blog and bizjournals.com]

Buckhead Atlanta

Peachtree Road at Buckhead Avenue, Atlanta, GA