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First look: Downtown landmark Peachtree Center to be reborn as ‘The Hub’

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Redevelopment project has launched to “massively transform three-story retail center and outdoor courtyard,” officials announce.

A rendering of the opened-up courtyard, which is aiming for a “town square” feel off Peachtree Street.
A rendering of the modernized courtyard, which is aiming for a “town square” feel off Peachtree Street.
Beck Group renderings courtesy of Banyan Street Capital

At one of Atlanta’s original and most recognizable transit-oriented centers, a redevelopment project has launched that leaders say will do nothing short of “transform the heart of downtown Atlanta.”

John Portman’s midcentury Peachtree Center complex will see its plaza and retail core remade into an airy, brighter place called “The Hub” by the spring of 2019, officials announced today.

Expect a more inviting interaction with Peachtree Street and modernized shopping, dining, and entertainment experiences throughout—all meant to cater to a burgeoning downtown population, plus the 6,000 office tenants and guests at 4,000 hotel rooms currently connected to Peachtree Center.

Property owners Banyan Street Capital have worked to build Peachtree Center’s profile in recent years via weekly Green Markets and the addition of a Relay Bike Share station. The Atlanta Regional Commission, among other tenants, has recently moved in.

Now, the company has partnered with commercial architects Beck Group to incorporate the center’s “iconic midcentury modern architecture into the fabric of a next-generation, urban hub,” with the existing courtyard meant to function as a “town square” off Peachtree.

That piece will incorporate “a show-stopping glass-enclosed staircase connecting directly to the retail center, reflective pools with seating, and art displayed throughout.” Above that, expect a suspended canopy of linear lighting elements designed to electrify the space day and night, officials said.

Meanwhile, deeper inside, developers sent this description of what to expect:

“Barriers that impede pedestrian flow will be removed, all finishes and furnishes will be upgraded, and updated lighting will brighten the space.

All entrances will be modernized with backlit glass panels and steel canopies to increase their prominence and make them more inviting for the 12 million people annually arriving at The Hub, whether on foot, in their car, on their bike, or on MARTA.”

Beyond the facelift, officials said, The Hub will be reinvigorated with “foodie-focused eateries, unique entertainment experiences, and boutique services like fitness and grocery” that will all be “tailored to blossoming downtown Atlanta and inspired by great urban mixed-use centers like Rockefeller Center.”

The atrium interior.

No restaurant or retail names were specified, but developers did mention that leasing work is underway. At first blush, it sounds a lot like redevelopment plans for Colony Square (only with a grocery instead of a theater), another midcentury retooling a couple of miles north on Peachtree.

“John Portman, Jr.’s original vision for Peachtree Center was revolutionary at the time—a central hub with a mix of uses for office workers, out-of-town visitors, and Atlanta locals to experience the heartbeat of the city,” Rudy Prio Touzet, Banyan Street Capital CEO, said in a press release. “We’re excited to honor his pioneering vision with this new renovation and bring Peachtree Center into the 21st Century, in step with the renaissance of downtown Atlanta as a whole.”

Elsewhere in the city, Banyan Street Capital plans to build an apartment tower atop a downtown parking garage on Peachtree Center Avenue, and they’re revamping a MARTA-connected building in Buckhead near Lenox Square as well.

A broader view of the envisioned plaza.
From Peachtree Street.
The fountain and planned surroundings.