As if the western flank of Midtown wasn’t booming already, a major project spearheaded by property management company Hines is soon to overhaul Atlantic Station’s Central Park.
The park’s revamp, designed by HGOR architects, entails the razing of a few buildings that once held Atlantic Station eateries and retail. Demolition is expected this month.
Soon, the lawn bisecting the retail options in front of the Regal Cinemas movie theater, between 18th and 19th streets, will be expanded in hopes of creating a more pronounced central green space for the mini-city.
The project, which is anticipated to finish by Thanksgiving 2019, is expected to nearly double the size of that green space, as well as introduce a HOBNOB Southern Tavern on the north side and two new “jewel box” retail and restaurant buildings to the south. Tenants for the smaller spaces have yet to be announced.
Also in the offing is a new video screen for outdoor movie viewings, as well as a new valet and a rideshare pickup and drop-off point.
Around Atlanta, HGOR also designed the public areas at SunTrust Park’s The Battery, Grant Park’s forthcoming zoo parking deck, and the first phase of Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry, among other projects.
Devon Barnwell, executive director at investor Morgan Stanley, said developers could have just as easily refilled the vacant restaurant buildings at Central Park.
“When faced with shuttered restaurants flanking the park, we could have plugged in new concepts to replace the income stream, but we recognized a unique opportunity,” she said. “When the idea was floated to tear down the buildings, the management team did not run or call me crazy.
“They saw the potential for an expanded living room—a place to gather and continue to hold events that are so important to this community,” she continued, adding that East and West District avenues, which run north-south on each side of the park, “will be closed and brought up to curb height, creating a pedestrian-only experience between 18th and 19th streets.”
City of Atlanta Planning Commissioner Tim Keane praised the green space expansion, saying it helps put Atlanta on the map in the global competition of urbanism.
“Every city in this country is competing in this matter,” he said. “It’s like this competition in global relevance: What cities are interesting and have a lot of depth to them and are unique? Atlanta’s competing in that way ... and any chance we have to improve a public realm of the city through architecture, public spaces, activity, and vibrancy is a step in the right direction.”
The Central Park revamp is one of several development projects underway at Atlantic Station. Changes could impact the function, look, and overall feel of the district, which is nearing its 15th birthday and isn’t close to being finished.
The T3 West Midtown office building is going vertical now, and new hotels and an AMLI apartment building are planned, too.
A Hines representative also told Curbed Atlanta the Connector-facing Atlantic Yards office development is now fully designed and has secured a general contractor.
Construction is slated to kick off on Atlantic Yards by the end of 2018.