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First look: Peachtree Center’s ‘The Hub’ nears completion downtown

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A glass staircase—the “architectural centerpiece”—pulls patrons in from Peachtree Street

a picture of the new glass staircase
Designed by the Beck Group, the new glass staircase aims to woo pedestrians into The Hub from Peachtree Street.
Photos: Sean Keenan, Curbed Atlanta; unless noted

Peachtree Center’s subterranean food court and shopping center is nearing the end of its transformation.

The downtown retail space—now called “The Hub”—has been undergoing renovations as part of the John Portman-designed, mixed-use destination’s makeover.

The results, officials say, should welcome more foot traffic to the already bustling hive of office workers, tourists, and commuters.

Ryan Horne, an architect with The Beck Group, which spearheaded design and construction of the reimagined Hub, told Curbed Atlanta during a tour that one of the most exciting additions at the mall isn’t one of the new eateries, but rather the nearly complete pedestrian plaza overhead.

The glass staircase is tilted at the same angle as The Hub’s atrium, which was designed by John Portman decades ago.

For years, the main Peachtree Street entrance to the mall, now owned by Banyan Street Capital, was little more than a bland escalator in front of a plaza largely comprised of massive skylights for the spaces below ground.

Now, however, The Hub features a glass staircase—the “architectural centerpiece”—that draws in passersby and a pedestrian plaza replete with fresh greenery, seating, and water fixtures.

“A lot of the original intent of this is to bring people back into the space, whether that’s pushing people into the mall or pushing people back toward the atrium,” Horne said.

Behind the glass staircase, which features a water fountain of its own, another fountain is being tweaked to act as a reflecting pool amid the pedestrian plaza.

Horne said the redesigned plaza also features a new canopy “just under the size of a football field” that provides a sort of boundary or ceiling between the pedestrian experience and the Peachtree Center towers looming above.

“While it’s pretty breathtaking to look up at these two big forms above’s kind of imposing to walk in here and have these two massive towers above you,” he said.

The rear of the glass staircase features a waterfall.
A rendering of the modernized courtyard, which is aiming for a “town square” feel off Peachtree Street.
Beck Group rendering courtesy of Banyan Street Capital

Once the final kinks are ironed out—testing the water features, installing a new facade on the CVS downstairs, and other last-minute changes—the plaza will be ready to host concerts and other public events, Horne said.

Heavy machinery is still roaring at the downtown site, but the mall has remained open throughout construction, and The Beck Group’s upgrades have given it a brighter, quieter, more inviting feel.

Take a peek below at the renovated space.

The view of the glass staircase from the underground CVS.
The Beck Group
The view from the bottom of the glass staircase. At left, the CVS facade is soon to be installed.
The mall has been updated with fresh paint, new ceilings and lighting fixtures, and a few new tenants.
The Beck Group
A rendering of the interior of a shopping center (Peachtree Center). There is a glass skylight with colorful lights. There are people walking on the ground floor.
Compare the above photo to the project rendering.
Beck Group renderings courtesy of Banyan Street Capital