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Evolution of downtown’s Department Building continues with new restaurant lease

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The Saito: Sushi, Steak, and Cocktails is the first tenant secured at the under-renovation 1920s building

a rendering of the incoming restaurant
Removable glass walls will create an open-air dining experience.
Renderings: ASD | SKY

Downtown’s maturation seems to be bringing a lot of new—and new-looking—attractions to the neighborhood.

Take, for example, the stunning new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the unnecessarily dazzling pedestrian bridge arched over Northside Drive, and the impending, multi-billion-dollar development of the desolate Gulch. Even downtown’s historic Central Atlanta Library—the last design by famed Brutalist architect Marcel Breuer—is due for a facelift.

Less common are the projects meant to preserve architecture that recalls Atlanta’s roots. (One notable, recent exception is the Flatiron Building’s repurposing as FlatironCity.)

But 207 Peachtree Street, a 1920s building that once served as the destination Regenstein’s Department Store, is undergoing a $10.5-million renovation that will preserve its historic aesthetic.

Today, the structure has been rebranded as “The Department Building,” and the interiors are being renovated to create nearly 50,000 square feet of creative loft office space.

The Art Deco facade, however, is staying put. And even the insides are being redesigned by architecture firm ASD | SKY to pay homage to the structure’s long history, developers say.

The planned rooftop amenity space near Hooters and Hard Rock Cafe downtown.
The rooftop amenity space will offer views from downtown to Stone Mountain.
Renderings courtesy of ASD|SKY

This week, owner Marx Realty announced the building had secured a ground-floor tenant, the first confirmed.

The Saito: Sushi, Steak, and Cocktails—named for renowned Master Chef Saito—just inked a lease for 2,200 square feet in the building’s lobby.

The restaurant promises “a dramatic outdoor terrace with removable glass walls to fit the historic aesthetic of The Department Building,” according to a news release.

Other elements of the building’s revival include “dramatic” 18-foot high ceilings, terra-cotta barrel vaulted ceilings, fluted columns, and original wood floors.

Also, incoming office and retail tenants can expect a rooftop “oasis” that boasts views of downtown destinations, as well as a sight line all the way to Stone Mountain.

A spokesperson for the developer told Curbed Atlanta that no other tenants have been secured, although interested parties include companies in the creative field, as well as the advertising and tech sectors.

Courtesy of ASD|SKY

Which would make sense, because, per the release, the area is becoming a more desirable place to do business by the day.

“The Downtown neighborhood is re-emerging as a premier live-work-play destination in Atlanta,” Marx Realty CEO Craig Deitelzweig said in a prepared statement. “We are beyond excited to bring a building as historic and impressive in character as The Department Building into the 21st century.”

Beyond FlatironCity, nearby adaptive-reuse projects in recent memory include the Switchyards project and Auburn Avenue’s Constellations.

The facade in recent years.
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