It’s hard to ignore the swell of renewed interest in the City’s historic core of South Downtown. As the original “terminus” of Atlanta, South Downtown evokes the City’s beginnings and now its future. Fueled by several catalytic projects, South Downtown is poised to undergo enormous transformation in the coming years.
Newport US RE is underway with their plans to infuse more residents, small businesses, and employees into the district. The multi-phase project has begun on Mitchell Street and includes the mixed-use redevelopment of 222 Mitchell and renovation of Historic Hotel Row. Underground Atlanta planned redevelopment will include a mix of housing, creative office, and a restored “underground” retail and food hall. The location has showcased art exhibits, pop-up retail, and co-working space as the larger planning process gets underway. CIM Group’s reimagined 40+ acre redevelopment of “Centennial Yards” will reconnect much of the street grid and create a vibrant, urban walkable district. The Lofts at Centennial Yards South – the first phase of the development – recently opened adding 162 new residences to the neighborhood. On the southwest end of the neighborhood, Urbantec Development Partners are advancing a 10-acre, biotech anchored mixed use development called Forge Atlanta.
The South Downtown development pipeline alone represents over $5.4 billion in planned investment, with plans to add over 2,500 housing units and 14 million sq. ft. in commercial space. This private investment is coupled with planned public investment in MARTA’s Five Points Station and surrounding right-of-way to deliver a more walkable and vibrant historic district.
Listed on the National Register of Historic places, Castleberry Hill is a funky, historic, mixed-use district with a burgeoning artist population who occupy much of its residential lofts and galleries. It’s no surprise that this neighborhood continues to draw investment interest.
Castleberry Park, south of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, will include a 200-room Reverb Hotel by Hard Rock, along with 130 apartments. The Home Depot Backyard, the 13-acre area adjacent to Mercedes-Benz Stadium, features programs and experiences that bring together local residents and sports fans alike.
Smith & Porter Railside Flats is currently under construction and plans to deliver 115 multi-family apartment units along Atlanta’s historic rail line. Fulton Supply Lofts, an adaptive re-use project, is also bringing new residents to the area.
Located in the heart of Atlanta’s Central Business District, the historic Fairlie-Poplar district includes the largest concentrated collection of commercial and office buildings in Atlanta from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition, the neighborhood's compact street grid also makes it one of the most walkable areas in the whole city.
A few notable investments in the area include the Healey Building, which recently completed a $1.5 million renovation of the ground floor commercial spaces. The City of Atlanta’s premier pedestrian space, Broad Street Boardwalk, creates outdoor seating for the adjacent restaurants and spaces for special events. The boardwalk enhances the already well-loved lunch spot and provides for additional pedestrian-facing enhancements. The historic Candler Building recently underwent a significant restoration and reopened as a Hilton Curio hotel, with around 265 rooms.
Lastly, Woodruff Park – a destination for students, residents and office workers alike – has undergone a significant revitalization thanks largely in part to a $200,000 Heart of the Community Grant from Southwest Airlines. Recent upgrades to the Park include a Game Cart, Food Truck Fridays, and a host of seasonal programming.
A nod to its roots as a place where entrepreneurship flourishes, Sweet Auburn welcomes two community-oriented spaces to the neighborhood. Constellations, a civically and socially-minded co-working space, and the Awethu House, a co-living and collaborative space, have opened in restored, historic buildings along the Avenue. Georgia State University’s recently opened Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII) also provides industry collaboration and entrepreneurial training to students.
With Downtown’s student population growing (50,000 students and counting), demand for student housing is also on the rise. 120 Piedmont will deliver 685 beds of student housing in 2019. In total, there around over 2,000 student housing units under construction or in the pipeline for Downtown.
Driven by their student growth, Georgia State University has expanded their campus to Summerhill, a neighborhood just south of Downtown. Carter, in partnership with Oakwood Development and Healey Weatherholtz Properties, is redeveloping the old Turner Field site, a 72-acre mixed use project in downtown Atlanta with GSU as the premier anchor.
The neighborhood of “SoNo” has experienced a wave of new investment interest in both large and small projects just south of North Avenue. The Byron, one block north, added 65 housing units to the neighborhood.
Emory University is slated to build their Winship Cancer Institute Tower, thanks to a $400 million gift from the Robert Woodruff Foundation.
Investment in one of Atlanta’s most recognizable office assets has proven to pay dividends, as a number of companies and start-ups have decided to make Downtown’s Bank of America building home, including Gro Solutions (200 jobs), Flexport (350 jobs), and countless others.
Key sites such as the Atlanta Civic Center remain a significant opportunity for Downtown. The Atlanta Housing Authority purchased the site from the City of Atlanta in late 2017, and is in the early stages of master planning the site that will likely include a mix of uses. The long vacant and visible Medical Arts Building will be preserved and soon renovated as boutique hotel.
Home to many of Atlanta’s thriving tourism and hospitality assets, the Centennial Park District is slated to add a significant number of new residents over the next few years with the additions of Post Centennial (438 units) and Generations Atlanta (336 units).
The Georgia World Congress Center’s 2020 Vision calls for noteworthy upgrades to the GWCCA’s campus, including a new convention hotel, a contiguous exhibition facility, and other capital projects. The $25 million renovation of Centennial Olympic Park was recently completed.
To the southwest, the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks have completed a $200M renovation of State Farm Arena, with a focus on fan amenities and experience. The Georgia Aquarium has also announced a $100 million expansion for a state-of-the-art shark and marine predator exhibit.
With around 3 million hotel room nights demanded annually in Downtown Atlanta, hotel development is stronger than ever, with 4,000 new hotel rooms under construction or in the pipeline.
Since the 1996 Olympic Games, $2.4 billion has been invested in the area immediately adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park. An additional $1 billion is under construction or planned for the area.