South Downtown project moves forward
German real estate company Newport US RE is moving forward with ambitions to redevelop portions of eight blocks and up to 750,000 square feet of South Downtown’s historic buildings.
Newport has filed plans with the Eastside Tax Allocation District, where it will seek up to $12 million in public funding for the project — one of the largest ever proposed for downtown.
The project is scheduled for review before Invest Atlanta, the economic development arm for the city, at a July 20 board meeting.
The company wants to begin construction on the development, a mix of street level retail with offices and residential units above that, by the first half of 2018. The first spaces could deliver about a year later. For now, plans include the redevelopment of 25 buildings that Newport owns south of the Five Points MARTA station. Those areas include properties along Peachtree, Forsyth, Mitchell and Broad streets, with roots dating back to the commercial beginning of the city in the mid 1800s.
Newport has another dozen South Downtown buildings and properties under contract between Underground Atlanta and Castleberry Hill. That includes 222 Mitchell Street, a hulking building that has been eyed by other developers over the years.
Newport is also closely watching progress on a potential sale of the nearby Norfolk Southern building on Spring Street. An unidentified investor has sought to put the project under contract. So far, a deal has not closed for the more than 100-year-old building.
Newport declined to elaborate on its interest.
Its master plan of up to eight blocks could knit together up to $4 billion in new downtown developments such as Underground Atlanta; a $1 billion mixed-use project around Philips Arena; and the $1.5-billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“We have been excited about connecting it all to the developments to the west,” said Newport US RE Executive Vice President Katharine Kelley.
Kelley called Mercedes-Benz Stadium a wonderful terminating point for the district, offering the chance for a contiguous pedestrian experience from the sports venues to the Five Points MARTA station.
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