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Project Leader Swears Buckhead 'Spaceship' Still Viable

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Not so fast, says the guy who really matters

The driving force behind a new hotel-condo concept in Buckhead Village concedes the project, at this stage, is merely an elaborate spitball that might not stick to the walls of reality, but he insists that a major hotel flag is interested and that the vision is absolutely viable.

Which is all news to the Atlanta business leader who actually owns the majority of the property in question.

Here's the backstory, in a nutshell:

For the past couple of years, Josh Reeves, an Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby's International real estate agent, has been collaborating with well-capitalized developers and architect Steve Holland, of Atlanta-based Holland Architects, to try to pull together a deal in Buckhead Village near the newly renovated Charlie Loudermilk Park. The Loudermilk family controls a good deal of real estate in the area, and Reeves (like many others) has been pitching ideas to Robin Loudermilk, president and CEO of The Loudermilk Companies.

Reeves said he's met with Loudermilk as recently as last year about his hotel-condo proposal, which, in Reeves’s perfect world, would serve as a glassy, triangular backdrop to the park on land owned by Loudermilk and a corner piece. The secondary piece is owned by another group and includes retailer Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.

Meanwhile, Loudermilk has listened to so many pitches, he’s all but forgotten about Reeves. After Reeves unveiled his spitball vision this week in the form of renderings published on these pages, Loudermilk said it was the first he’d heard of the major proposal, leading some to wonder if Reeves’s project was fake — a ruse, even.

Reeves acknowledges his proposal is as tentative as tentative gets, but he tells Curbed that OMNI Hotels has "extreme interest" in the hotel component, and an Australia group could be a player to build the condos.

"There is a good possibility of this happening — I guess that’s still the confusion," Reeves said Wednesday. "OMNI Hotels is operating off these plans."

About those plans …

In an interview with Bisnow, Loudermilk likened the other party’s proposal to a "spaceship" that would never pass muster with the governing Buckhead Development Review Committee. That description qualifies as flattering against the opinions of some Curbed commenters, who called the proposal a squatty version of Panama City architecture, a second-rate Las Vegas hotel, and a structure that never outgrew its "Flock of Seagulls" phase. Others, however, applauded the vision.

Reeves concedes that "the renderings are not sexy at all" but says a finished product would more closely resemble Buckhead’s Sovereign tower (only shorter), with façades that recall The Shops Buckhead Atlanta. "We got some drone shots," Reeves added, excitedly, "and some of the skyline views looking south down Peachtree are absolutely incredible."

But then there’s the little issue of Loudermilk’s own plans for the site.

Loudermilk tells Curbed he’s been accommodating to all of the many ideas he’s heard to date, though he hasn’t "seen one that makes sense to me, being the one who assembled the land over the past years." Rather, he’s in the planning stages of his own residential project on the land that would include more than 25,000 square feet of retail, adequate parking, and 86 units. The market would dictate whether those are condos or apartments, he said.

Loudermilk added that outside groups, thus far, have wanted him "to ‘throw’ our land in a development deal, taking no risk themselves, all the while collecting development fees, hoping the deal pans out." But as the actual landowner and a "developer in training," with no interest in brokering the land to an outside developer, Loudermilk says, "I would hope I would have the best chance to pull it off."

And now, for what it's worth, behold these additional renderings from the non-Loudermilk group — with a hypothetical Tesla dealership!

For further reading, enjoy the following reverse-chron recap of this fiasco ...