It sounds like the Atlanta Hawks are trying to keep up with the Chipper and Andruw Joneses of the Atlanta sports scene with hopes of creating a major mixed-use entertainment district adjacent to Philips Arena in downtown.
Following revelations this week, it's hard to argue that the team isn't eyeing the Braves' Battery with a bit of envy. Plans for a major renovation of Philips Arena have been circulating for six months — finally quashing speculation the Hawks could move to the Civic Center or out to the suburbs — but now the AJC reports that plans extend well beyond the facility's walls.
Preliminary information indicates that the team is hoping to create a vibrant neighborhood around the arena by bringing retail space, restaurants, and possibly even offices and residences to lots on the west side of downtown. According to multiple sources, the Hawks are even exploring purchasing property surrounding Philips Arena including space in the Gulch.
The renovation of the arena alone could cost between $200 million and $300 million, with up to half the money coming from public coffers. (Let's hope that sort of public contribution would spell affordable housing for, well, the public). According to the AJC, if plans move forward with the entire district, it could be one of the largest injections of capital for development in downtown in generations. And it's just one piece of a substantial (but still unrealized, for the most part) development puzzle in that immediate area, with new hotels, apartments, and a football colosseum from outer space in the works.