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First look: Vision for Underground Atlanta’s Block 3, now under construction

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Retail, office, and communal component of downtown complex should be finished in about a year, developers say

A rendering of people walking in a retail corridor with glassy storefronts and blue sky overhead.
The planned look of what developer WRS is calling Block 3 at Underground Atlanta.
Renderings courtesy of S9 Architecture

The rebirth of Underground Atlanta has begun, and fresh renderings provide the most detailed glimpses to date of what an initial phase will bring.

Developer WRS has shared new images with Curbed Atlanta that detail the southwestern corner of the four-block downtown redevelopment, the Kenny’s Alley section near Alabama Street and Central Avenue. It’s called Block 3.

Construction launched last month—four months ahead of schedule, per WRS officials—and is expected to wrap up within a year to 14 months. Expect 150,000 square feet of retail, offices, and communal areas.

Existing uses at Block 3 include the now-permanent home of The Masquerade (where cosmetic renovations were recently completed) and the coworking pop-up Post-Office Cowork and coffee shop at 86 Pryor Street.

Developers say mall-like touches that harken the 1980s (think: escalators and metal screening) will be swapped for street art and murals throughout. Along Central Avenue, the former Underground Atlanta food court will be removed to open up the alley level to the street, as illustrated in this rendering:

Another facet of the project’s southwestern corner.

As outlined by WRS, other design and architectural highlights in the works include:

  • The “Exchange” building will be opened up to Upper Alabama Street, providing more of an open-air, connected corridor to Kenny’s Alley;
  • All retail windows will be swapped with customized, modern/industrial office storefronts;
  • Repair is underway of the circa-1882 Block Candy Co. building (86 Pryor Street), also replacing its 1980s storm windows with historically accurate and energy-efficient ones.

“It’s important for us to modernize this footprint while restoring and keeping as much of the charm as we can of this iconic area,” WRS CEO Scott Smith said in a press release.

Added designer John Clifford, cofounding partner of S9 Architecture, a firm with credits that include Ponce City Market, 725 Ponce, and multiple projects around Manhattan and Brooklyn:

“Our [Underground Atlanta] design emphasizes the intangible yet important qualities of how people perceive and use space, and we hope this holistic approach will make the new ... project a memorable experience for residents and visitors alike.”

Block 3 at street level.
The Masquerade’s permanent home is seen at left.

The Masquerade

695 North Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308 (404) 577-8178 Visit Website

Underground Atlanta

50 Upper Alabama Street, , GA 30303 Visit Website