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Photos: Hard Rock hotel’s topping-out marks latest change in downtown landscape

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Owner of longstanding Castleberry Hill pub next door says the development isn’t a “force of gentrification”

a picture of the under-construction Hard Rock hotel
The 11-story boutique hotel.
Photos: Sean Keenan, Curbed Atlanta

Downtown’s next tourist trap has completed its ascent in the Castleberry Hill district.

Across the street from Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the under-construction Reverb by Hard Rock hotel stands 11 stories tall, the area’s most noticeable new construction since the stadium itself.

The project is now expected to deliver in February, just in time to house visitors in town for April’s NCAA Final Four basketball tournament.

The 200-key hotel, being built by construction firm Batson-Cook, is slated to feature a rooftop bar with an expansive view of the city skyline, as well as coworking space, a coffee bar, and something called the “Roadie Room” packed with queen-size bunk beds and hangout space.

The Gensler-designed hotel is one piece of developer Bolton’s planned mixed-use venture Castleberry Park, which could one day include 129 luxury apartments spread across three buildings and a 375-space parking deck.

A revised look at the Hard Rock hotel in Castleberry Hill.
The vision for the hotel.
Renderings: Reverb by Hard Rock

What this and other impending developments could mean for neighboring businesses, such as the 13-year-old Elliott Street Pub and Deli surviving in the shadow of the new stadium, is uncertain.

The front stoop of the celebrated dive offers an unobstructed view of downtown’s Gulch, the desolate 40-acre pit of parking spots and railroad tracks pending development, as well as the under-renovation Norfolk Southern Buildings. Which means bar owner Mike Jakob has a front row-seat to the neighborhood’s ongoing metamorphosis.

The Norfolk-Southern Buildings, as seen from Elliott Street.

But Jakob told Curbed Atlanta he doesn’t see the new hotel as a “force of gentrification.”

“We’ve gotta create density,” he said. “We’re a city of many events now, with the stadium, the Georgia World Congress Center, the [State Farm] arena redevelopment. We need to create new hotel rooms, for sure.”

A Hard Rock hotel, Jakob added, is a welcome addition to the fast-evolving area.

“Anytime we have a big brand like that, especially Hard Rock, it’s great for the city and the neighborhood, too,” he said. “It’ll be our first major hotel—our first boutique hotel—in Castleberry Hill.”

When it comes to the looming Gulch redevelopment project, though, “that’s a totally different conversation,” he said.

But for now, Jakob said, the bar is here to stay.

The Hard Rock hotel lords over the 13-year-old pub.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium makes the under-construction hotel look minuscule.
The hotel, as seen from the corner of Mitchell Street and Ted Turner Drive, where the Norfolk-Southern Buildings (at left) are being renovated.