Has the rebirth of Underground Atlanta taken a baby-step toward reality? Maybe. The City of Atlanta is testing the waters for the possible reinvention of the beleaguered subterranean mall, and they want to hear very specific ideas from developers by Monday at the latest. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution spotted an interesting legal notice in their own pages which was placed by a brokerage service to solicit redevelopment concepts and proposals for Underground — with a deadline of July 14. The move might be more than the city simply covering legal bases.
By Monday, city officials want to see more than spitball ideas from developers. As the AJC notes: "The request [for proposals] comes with a laundry list of requirements, including a detailed redevelopment plan and financial statements of the interested parties." The report states the ad was placed recently, after the city paid $8.8 million for the rights to Underground in March, with hopes of selling the 12-acre facility on the open market. A spokesperson for Mayor Kasim Reed's office said the ad was placed in accordance with state law but wouldn't say whether the city has a buyer lined up. Previously, Reed has said he'd fancy a Ponce-City-Market-like redux of Underground, or a project with a university feel. But honchos at Georgia State University seem to have their sites set more on the Turner Field area.
In March, Reed's office said the offloading-Underground strategy called for fielding proposals from developers, and scoring those plans based on financial considerations and the strength of each vision. At that time, Atlanta developer Jeff Fuqua said his firm might be interested, especially if the city provides incentives. Fuqua hinted that he'd raze Underground and start over.