As you've likely heard by now, Atlanta is hoping to rid itself of Underground Atlanta. The city council has approved an $8.8-million buyout for the long-struggling downtown "attraction," and it hopes to sell the property to private developers.
Mayor Kasim Reed says he has no specific suitors in mind. Taking that last sentence into consideration, we'll ignore the follow-up question (for now) and offer a few possible answers to the original: What in the world might be coming to Underground Atlanta?
- A casino, part deux?
In 2009, current Underground Atlanta operating partner Dan O'Leary proposed a half-billion casino and hotel for the site. That obviously never came to fruition, and, given the state's recent pushback against gambling, probably wouldn't any time soon.
- An artist colony?
Something like this has been rumored in the past, and it would make sense in at least one sense: Artists like cool, repurposed spaces and UA could certainly be that. Then again, why would a developer have any interest in such a project?
- SCUBA diving?
It's underground, so why couldn't it be … under water?
- A Panther invasion?
Another longstanding rumor has involved a takeover by Georgia State University, which is in the process of expanding its physical presence all over downtown. But what exactly would the school make of UA? Classes? Giant food court?
- A better mall?
In case you've forgotten, Underground Atlanta is technically a mall, with shops and businesses and such. Perhaps an interested party might try a more high-end type of retail center? Perhaps that would flop.
- Ponce City Market, Downtown Edition?
Or maybe not. Cannibalism isn't generally a good business practice.
- Spanx Museum?
- Bill Corey's Underground Spectacular!!!
Would be the greatest thing this side of Paris. Poor sight-lines, though.
With all that being said, here's the real question: With so much happening elsewhere around town, does it even matter right now? Will anything bring people back?
— By Curbed Atlanta contributor Tyler Estep
· Reed given green light to pursue Underground Atlanta deal (Update) [CL]
· City wants to sell Underground Atlanta to developers [Atlanta Business Chronicle]
· Random Glimpses Of Underground Atlanta, At Lunchtime [Curbed Atlanta]