Downtown community members recently got their first opportunity to hear directly from the development team that bought Underground Atlanta from the city back in March.
According to the Saporta Report, WRS Inc. is hoping to follow the success of similar adaptive-reuse projects, including Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market.
In order to transform the long-underutilized mall and array of historic buildings into a vibrant live-work-play district, WRS has tapped S9 Architecture from New York, which worked on Ponce City Market and 725 Ponce.
With them comes a team of retail experts, urban planners, and branding strategists, many with backgrounds working in downtown Atlanta and with PCM and Krog Street Market.
While plans are still in the works, WRS assured neighbors the development would not offer a Walmart or other big-box retailer. The four-block district will include housing, retail, office space, and likely a grocery store, developers said.
Plans call for historic buildings in the district to be reused in the new project, with infill buildings constructed in phases. The first phase could be complete in less than two years.
But the first step, which is expected to happen around mid-August, will be to relocate existing tenants (including Subway, Foot Locker, Pandora, Skillz, Best of Atlanta, and Kempani) from Lower Alabama Street to Upper Alabama Street.
The redevelopment may seem a tall order, given the not-so-successful past of the area. But with investment by many other firms in South downtown and skyrocketing costs in other parts of town, logic says the district could gain significant traction in coming years.
- Underground Atlanta starts ‘complete transformation’ [Saporta Report]