Like Underground Atlanta, the Atlanta Civic Center is poised for a total overhaul, one that would remove a money drain from the city's books and offer the Old Fourth Ward a bustling … something. Officials send word of a town hall meeting this evening where neighbors will be encouraged to give their 2 cents about future redevelopment at the Civic Center site. The right project could inject life into a substantial chunk of what's called Fourth Ward West; the redevelopment would consume more than 20 acres, stretching from Ralph McGill Boulevard to sketchy-but-trying Renaissance Park. Big ideas thus far have included talk of retail, residential, hotel and office spaces — and a large dose of film and television studios. It should be interesting to hear what Old Fourth Ward residents (O4Warders? O4Wardians?) feel is in their best interests.
Tonight's meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the north side of the Civic Center site (241 Pine St.) Expect an Invest Atlanta presentation, followed by a Q&A session. Organizers include the Fourth Ward West neighborhood association, Invest Atlanta and council members Kwanza Hall and Natalyn Archibong. The topic du jour: the pending Request For Proposals ("RFP") for the Civic Center site.
In August, officials told the Atlanta Business Chronicle the RFPs were expected to be released within 60 days (i.e., right about now). Mayor Kasim Reed described interest in the site back then as being "off the charts." One interested party is Atlanta-based Carter, a leading real estate developer, who envisions a film/television compound surrounded by a performing arts center, hotel and all other components of a true mixed-use center.
One city official told the AJC in August that developers will be asked to include enhancements to Renaissance Park as part of their proposals. Long considered a haven for nefarious characters, the park scored a victory last year by opening Atlanta's third dog park.
While the Civic Center property may have seen better days, officials are still hoping to fetch at least $42 million, which is significantly cheaper than Atlanta's priciest for-sale house at the moment. Opened in 1967, the 4,600-seat venue underwent a $2 million renovation in 2001 but now needs significant (and pricey) repairs. As is, it's projected to lose $400,000 annually through 2017. Which sounds a lot worse than making $42 million for the city.
· Be Gone, Money Drains! Council Agrees To Sell Civic Center [Curbed Atlanta]
· Big entertainment project eyed for Civic Center site [ABC; subscriber]