Martin Sinderman, Atlanta Business Chronicle
A redevelopment deal has the potential to reshape downtown Atlanta by finally transforming a long-existing eyesore into a mini-city of office buildings, residential units, hotels, shops and restaurants.
The efforts by CIM Group and Colliers International in pulling together the land necessary for CIM to begin redevelopment of Atlanta's "Gulch" is the Land Deal of the Year in Atlanta Business Chronicle's Best in Atlanta Real Estate Awards honoring the significant deals of 2018.
The Gulch is a bleak, roughly 40-acre field of parking lots and rail lines below viaducts — about half of it owned by Norfolk Southern Corp. and the rest by a multiplicity of private and public entities — where Atlanta was born in 1837 as the terminus of the Western & Atlantic railroad line,
Located in close proximity to iconic Atlanta structures like Mercedes-Benz Stadium, State Farm Arena, CNN Center, Centennial Olympic Park, and other well-known attractions, the underutilized Gulch has led to many ideas about how to make it a productive part of the city’s landscape, a lot of them focused on assembling its component parcels and making it home to something like an intermodal transportation station.
The site is challenging in a number of ways for anyone wanting to do something with it, notes Colliers International Senior Vice President Rob Jordan.
“Its shape and configuration makes things difficult, while the fact that it sits about 40 feet below Centennial Olympic Park makes elevation a significant factor,” he said. Also, any buyer would have to keep in mind, even after the sale, “that Norfolk Southern will continue some freight rail operations in certain areas of the Gulch, and they have to keep certain engineering and design guidelines in place to continue to function.”
All this hasn’t scared off real estate investment firm and property manager CIM Group. Los Angeles-based CIM says that it “employs a holistic approach to creating value and enhancing communities through real estate and infrastructure.”
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