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Could Atlanta Hawks owner and Arthur Blank be teaming up to transform The Gulch?

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Hawks’ head honcho Tony Ressler has “very aggressive” redevelopment plans, says Falcons owner.

Bordered by two stadiums, The Gulch is little more than sunken parking and railways today.
Bordered by two stadiums, The Gulch is little more than sunken parking and railways today.
Curbed Atlanta

Seasoned developers will tell you Atlanta has been known for decades as something of an anomaly in the business world, in that top executives are often friendly competitors—if not actual friends—who collaborate on larger issues.

Now, it sounds like two of the city’s most powerful business captains could work collaboratively to see one of Atlanta’s urban low-points—The Gulch—take flight.

According to the Saporta Report, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank and Hawks owner Tony Ressler made presentations Friday regarding transformative developments around their respective stadiums during a closed-door meeting of the Atlanta Committee for Progress.

The powwow was attended by many of the region’s top business leaders.

Word around the campfire is that Blank and Ressler are developing a relationship centered on making better use of The Gulch, thereby benefiting both Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Philips Arena.

The Saporta Report caught up with Blank after the meeting, who said: “Tony [Ressler] and I talked about a week or so ago, and I look forward to more ... He has a very aggressive plan. And we will help him in any way we can.”

Back in June, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed let the proverbial hawk out of the cage in saying that Ressler has plans for a whopping $1-billion, mixed-use project that would transform The Gulch—to be led by his brother Richard’s company, CIM Group from Los Angeles.

CIM is a respected, heavyweight firm whose urban redevelopment investments span from Santa Monica to SOHO and Brooklyn.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s massive steel falcon, which overlooks The Gulch, prior to Sunday’s Atlanta United match.
Josh Green, Curbed Atlanta

Beyond sports franchise magnates, the audience on Friday was comprised of the crème de la crème of Atlanta executive movers-and-shakers, including Reed, Cousins Properties’ Larry Gellerstedt III, Chick-fil-A’s Dan Cathy, Mercedes-Benz’s Dietmar Exler, ICE/NYSE’s Jeff Sprecher, and the presidents of Emory University and Georgia Tech.

Ressler was reportedly blown away to be in a room with so many CEOs focused on collaboratively lifting up Atlanta—something, he said, that would never happen in his home base of Los Angeles.

During the meeting, Reed mentioned efforts to woo Amazon’s second headquarters to Atlanta, the website reports. And the executives promised to give their all to make HQ2 in ATL a reality, though Home Depot’s CEO sounded less than enthused.

Philips Arena (marked with arrow) surrounded by parking and the sunken gash that is The Gulch.
Google Earth