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Hotel May Rise Where Calatrava's 'Icon' Never Did

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Back in 2005, when the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra unveiled its ultra-modern design for a $300 million symphony center by Spanish starchitect Santiago Calatrava, one official beamed: "The new design may well cause Symphony Hall to become an architectural icon like the Sydney Opera House or Atlanta's own High Museum of Art." The Great Recession essentially latched dynamite to those plans — and all requisite fundraising momentum — and blew them to smithereens. But hope is not lost for the valuable four-acre slice of Midtown at 14th and Peachtree streets. The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the property has drawn renewed interest as the economy turns a corner — including one plan that could infuse the area with life.

Where Calatrava's symphony center icon never materialized, developers have recently pitched a 400-room hotel — a project that would also include at least two residential towers, office spaces and retail along 14th Street, the newspaper reports. The heralded architects at Perkins+Will Inc. are reportedly part of a team that brought early plans for the project to the Midtown Alliance recently. Developers based in Houston and Boston have also been sniffing around the area of the site, which could fetch as much as $20 million, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile, the Woodruff Arts Center has adjusted plans to build a new symphony hall at the corner of 15th and Peachtree streets.

The proposal would be the most ambitious in Midtown since another failed project — the 70-story InterContinental Hotel that was unveiled to great hoopla in 2008 and quickly sputtered. Sources suggested to the newspaper a few brands that could make a good fit for the property, including J.W. Marriott, Fairmont and Westin. Ideally speaking, what would you like to see this important piece of Midtown become?

· Hotel project proposed for symphony center site [Atlanta Business Chronicle]
· ASO's new Symphony Center design unveiled [ABC, circa 2005]