Developer David Marvin bet on downtown Atlanta when others wouldn’t
In the late 90s, after the heady days of the Summer Olympics had faded, downtown Atlanta was perceived by many in the development community as crime-ridden, dirty and overrun with homeless.
While most of the big warehouses that covered the landscape had been demolished to make way for Centennial Olympic Park, other low-slung buildings along Marietta Street remained empty after the Games. The gravel lots that had been temporarily covered with gleaming tents touting big sports brands during the Olympics returned to their original use parking for office workers and the occassional weekend concert.
The founder and president of Legacy Ventures, an Atlanta development company, opened Embassy Suites next to Centennial Olympic Park in 1999, a time when few stuck around downtown after 6 p.m.
He gambled that Centennial Olympic Park, with its acres of landscaped gardens, gushing fountain of rings and cascading waterfalls, would one day be a draw for development and he wanted to get in while land was cheap and available.
Now, nearly two decades later, Centennial is the epicenter of Atlanta’s tourism and convention business through attractions such as the Georgia Aquarium and the 20-story SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel and many credit the park with downtown’s burgeoning revival.
In a question-and-answer interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Marvin talks about the chance his company took building downtown and the impact the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium could have on the area’s future.