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Buckhead’s Ga. Highway 400-capping park: Developers psyched, but cost concerns emerge

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Park could “change the course of Buckhead forever,” opines one

A park concept revealed as part of a study in September.
ROGERS PARTNERS Architect+Urban Designers/Buckhead CID

The potential of a centralized, highly attractive, and property-value-boosting green space in the heart of commercial Buckhead has (most) developers understandably pumped.

The potential price tag for such a signature amenity, however, could be a buzzkill.

The topic of Park over GA 400—a 9-acre, highway-capping concept that backers envision as being one of America’s gleaming urban parks—emerged this week at a Bisnow panel discussion attended by community leaders, active developers, and brokers in the area.

At the meeting, a Coro Realty Advisors head (the developer most notably behind a large-scale project near Disco Kroger) seemed skeptical that Buckhead’s dearth of green space couldn’t be addressed in another way, Bisnow reported. “The question is how do we pay for it,” said John Lundeen, also vice chairman of the Buckhead CID, the self-taxing district that’s driving the park plans. “And there's no answer for that yet.”

Previous estimates have pegged the park’s cost somewhere between $195 and $245 million. Even for large urban green spaces, that’s not cheap. Consider that flood-solving Historic Fourth Ward Park—hardly a mere lawn—cost $23 million. In Dallas, the famed Klyde Warren Park that capped a downtown interstate cost $105 million, but it’s half the size of what Buckhead wants.

Still, pre-construction planning for Park over GA 400 is barreling forward.

Renderings: Buckhead CID

Buckhead CID’s executive director Jim Durrett told the Bisnow meeting the feasibility study for this “central gathering place of significance” will wrap up this summer, before officials decide how to proceed with plans outlined in reports.

The park vision cleared a hurdle in October when the CID green-lighted $340,000 for the ongoing study that’s analyzing traffic impact, legal implications, engineering, and funding strategies, among other facets.

Other developers sounded positively optimistic at the Bisnow meeting.

Herbert Ames, vice president of real estate developer Edens, opined that the project could “change the course of Buckhead forever.”

Chris Ahrenkiel, Tishman Speyer managing director, recently spent time on the Beltline and observed that Buckhead “has one of the least amount of park space per capita in the country” and therefore lacks “that kind of [Beltline] feel.”

So, denizens of Buckhead: Who’s chipping in?

A recent aerial of the district in question—and its highway gash.
Buckhead CID
The possible “after.”
Buckhead CID