What Makes the Downtown Development Cycle Different?

By Jennifer LeClaire

ATLANTA—What’s the development cycle look like in Downtown Atlanta? It’s a broad question, but one that Michael Warner is well-equipped to answer.

Warner works with David Horne and Kay Younglove at JLL as the exclusive leasing agent for Peachtree Center. Peachtree Center is located at 225 Peachtree Street NE.

GlobeSt.com caught up with Warner to get his take on the topic. He tells us is seems like every block of downtown Atlanta reveals new construction.

“The existing development cycle in downtown looks much different from other submarkets in the metro Atlanta area,” Warner says. “It is primarily driven by four key factors: the adaptive reuse of abandoned, old buildings; Georgia State University’s growth; the technology sector and innovation labs opening in downtown; and other attractions, driving the hospitality/tourism industry to further innovate and develop.”

Warner pointed to Paces Properties’ conversion of 250 Piedmont from office to multifamily and John Portman’s conversion of 230 Peachtree to a hotel as two of the most notable current redevelopment projects spurring further conversions. Also, he adds, many would argue the Candler Building converting to a hotel is the result of the energy in downtown and the success of the Paces and Portman conversion projects.

“As it has been for the last several years, Georgia State is extremely active, having recently acquired 55 Park Place, a former office building, for administrative and classroom space,” Warner says. “Additionally, the university is about the complete the new law school, a welcome addition for the school and for downtown.”

Of course, the development of the new Atlanta Falcons stadium leads a long list of current or recent developments of new or expanding attractions downtown. Warner points to the College Football Hall of Fame and Center for Civil and Human Rights are recent additions, along with the expansion of the Georgia Aquarium and continued expansion of the Georgia World Congress Center and AmericasMart.

“With all of the development happening downtown, perhaps one of the most exciting and important new developments is the addition of Innovation Centers and technology start-up communities,” he says. “The Microsoft Innovation Hub and the Deloitte Innovation Center, along with Michael Tavani’s ‘Switchyards’ and the business incubator for women entrepreneurs coming to the top floor of downtown Atlanta's historic Flatiron building, all illustrate downtown is a dynamo and is back. It’s a place that is authentic and appealing to America’s retreat to ‘Main Street.’”