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Buckhead Low-Rise Bucks Trend, Delivers on Looks

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While single-story retail may not be hot right now, FCA brings style to what was a major bore

A dated, depressing strip center on Peachtree Road between The Shops Buckhead Atlanta and Lenox Square is officially no longer. But the revamped property bucks the density trend and is really just a reincarnation of the former buildings.

Buckhead Exchange formerly housed low-end retailers that didn't quite fit into the high-end nature of Peachtree Road in Buckhead. But FCA Partners out of Charlotte is wrapping up a complete overhaul of the center, which started life in the 1940s as a Ford dealership, to give the retail spaces a new lease on life.

The old center is looking sharp with rebuilt interiors, a recladding job, and a bit of slice-and-dice, with a new exterior passage providing outdoor seating for a potential new cafe and easier access to parking.

Meanwhile, the parking lot has been spruced up with bioswales, which will help reduce runoff. Hopes are that the billboard looming over the parking lot — simply too lucrative to remove — will gain approval to be converted to LED, allowing it to have a much thinner presence. And with a new sign set to be delivered in a few weeks, the Peachtree Road frontage will be greatly improved.

The design itself is sleek and minimal, along the lines of the Shops Around Lenox just down the road. And while many may question why the low-density strip mall was kept, rather than replaced by a high-rise development like so many other sites in Buckhead, representatives from developer FCA had a simple answer: the economics work as is.

Even still, there are plans for the distant future.

Tenant leases are in place for 10 years, with the expectation that the land will be really ripe for density sometime after that. According to construction manager Tammy Bullard, the site is already approved for high-rise development when the market dictates.

Work should wrap up on the exterior in the next few weeks, with a slew of new tenants fitting out their spaces in preparation for openings through the summer and fall. Stay tuned ...