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Underground Atlanta starts 'complete transformation'

July 13,2017

Source: Amy Wenk and Maria Saporta, Atlanta Business Chronicle

The development team charged with remaking Underground Atlanta includes the design firm that worked on Ponce City Market and one of the developers behind Krog Street Market.

It could be a recipe to emulate two of Atlanta’s most successful adaptive reuse projects.

WRS Inc., the new owner of Underground, held its first community meeting Thursday to introduce its development team and share with the public its first steps in redeveloping the languishing property in south downtown.

WRS closed on Underground from the city of Atlanta at the end of March.

The architect is New York-based S9 Architecture, the design firm that worked on Ponce City Market, helping to transform the former Sears, Roebuck & Co. warehouse into a bustling mixed-use development along the Atlanta Beltline.

Revel, a retail consulting and development firm led by George Banks and Kristi Rooks, is handling the merchandising and leasing for Underground Atlanta. Read more about Revel here.

Banks was formerly with Paces Properties, the company behind Krog Street Market, a hip food hall in Inman Park that brought top Atlanta chefs, including Chef Ford Fry, under one roof.

Rooks previously worked with WRS, and prior to that, downtown advocacy group Central Atlanta Progress, where she helped lead their pop-up retail program that brought temporary tenants to vacant storefronts along the Atlanta Streetcar line.

Other team members include Demetri Baches with Metrocology, who will serve as urban planning advisor, and Visual Soldiers, which will work on branding.

Tim Norton with WRS is the project manager.

“What we are working on here is a complete transformation,” said Steve Howe, chief operating officer of WRS. He said the focus will be to remake Underground Atlanta into four city blocks with a variety of uses.

That will include a mix of housing options, along with new retail and office space. A grocery store is likely to be part of the project.

Howe emphasized WRS has no plans to include a Walmart at Underground, a retailer the company has partnered with at some of its other projects.

Read the complete article at the link above.