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Hard Rock Hotel on high-profile Castleberry Hill plans: crickets

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Six months after groundbreaking, chirp ... chirp ... chirp ...

A rendering of a proposed Hard Rock Hotel in downtown Atlanta.
Someday? A rendering of the proposed hotel component, with residences behind.
TSW via The Zimmerman Agency

It’s been six months since Mayor Kasim Reed and other Atlanta dignitaries joined developers in Castleberry Hill to shovel ceremonial dirt where a mixed-use project, anchored by a glistening Hard Rock Hotel, has been promised to rise.

In the months following that ceremony, swarms of heavy equipment turned the former raucous tailgating lot into a construction site, lending hope that the long-hyped Hard Rock venture (alongside an affordable housing component) would materialize. The $90-million plans would the mark the most significant investment in the neighborhood in ages.

But now the lot is empty. Except for crickets.

With the unveiling of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, buzz for the immediate area has reached a fever pitch, and naturally people are wondering what’s going on across the street.

Repeated inquiries with Hard Rock reps have been fruitless. The company sent word this week that there’s essentially no update to give right now.

Plagued by delays, the project was supposed to have launched in 2016. In March, project leaders were still predicting the hotel’s rooftop oasis, heated outdoor pool, and live music venues would be rocking by the time Super Bowl LIII kicks off in Atlanta in 2019—in about a year and 12 from now.

Searches of recent permitting records reveal no mention of Hard Rock or their parent company, save work at the Peachtree Street restaurant downtown.

The fenced-off site in question in February.
Google Maps

It’s worth nothing that, back in March, developer Frank Chen told CBS46 the project was in early permitting and soil-remediation phases—and that final plans could significantly change the look of the concept.

Site work in April.
Google Maps

At last check, plans called for the 200-room hotel to be part of a larger mixed-used complex known as Castleberry Point.

Along with the Hard Rock, the development was planned to include 130 apartment units, 20,000 square feet of retail space, a community park, and 400 parking spaces.

Officials had previously said 20 percent of the apartments will be made available to residents making less than 80 percent of the area’s median income, thanks to a $4.2-million grant from the Westside Tax Allocation District.