A Texas developer with big ambitions of transforming the Atlanta Civic Center site into a mixed-use utopia is instead walking away — and City of Atlanta officials probably aren’t crushed by the news.
Weingarten Realty is bailing on plans that would have brought nearly a half-million square feet of office and retail space — plus a whopping 650 housing units and likely a Publix grocery — to the western edge of Old Fourth Ward. Developers hoped all of that would open by 2019, replacing the underused Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center site. Plans called for demolishing the performance venue.
Before Weingarten’s involvement, half-baked proposals for the land ranged from a new movie studio to a basketball arena for the Hawks.
But now all bets are off.
Weingarten briefly summed up the situation as part of a press release this week. The statement reads in full:
“[We] reached an impasse with the City of Atlanta and have stopped pursuing the Civic Center redevelopment project. It’s a good site with solid supermarket interest but the Company needed more time to make an adequately informed decision. While the Company hopes to rekindle some dialog, the prudent course of action was to write off the pursuit costs and focus elsewhere.”
As the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported, the deal (reportedly worth $30 million to the city) never seemed to be on solid ground. In May, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed called the transaction “a little shaky” and said he wasn’t thrilled with initial concepts (see below), adding, “It’s not what I want it to be,” per the ABC.
Which begs the question: Now what?