Major Developments Change Hands in Atlanta’s Intown Communities

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor Atlanta has seen a number of big properties change hands recently, although for different reasons. Notable sales include the St. Regis hotel in Buckhead and the famed mixed-use Atlantic Station complex. The St. Regis Atlanta—one of the three high-profile [...]

Atlanta has seen a number of big properties change hands recently, although for different reasons. Notable sales include the St. Regis hotel in Buckhead and the famed mixed-use Atlantic Station complex.

The St. Regis Atlanta—one of the three high-profile local luxury hotel and condo projects developed in Atlanta in the past decade—was purchased by Orlando-based Tavistock Group but had not been up for sale when the offer was made, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Tavistock acquired the 151-room hotel and 30 luxury condos to launch a new line of hotels; it would not disclose the price it paid, but industry observers estimated it at around $54 million, according to the Chronicle, as much as $350,000 a room.

The hotel, opened in April 2009, was developed by SR Hotel Development Co. and is located at 88 West Paces Ferry, a desirable address, according to Tavistock managing director Douglas McMahon.

The property will remain under the management of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., but will be carefully overseen by the new owner, which expressed confidence in the future prosperity of the new asset.

Three miles away in Midtown, portions of Atlantic Station have been changing hands for a different reason. Developed by Jim Jacoby in joint venture with AIG Global Real Estate, the master-planned mixed-use property fell victim to the insurance group’s financial difficulties, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and has consequently not been adequately maintained in recent years. In January, CB Richard Ellis Investors purchased AIG’s ownership interests in the 534,000-square-foot  271 17th St. office building—a LEED Gold-certified property—as well as a parking garage and 14.3 acres of land, making it the majority owner in the properties. That followed its acquisition of two apartment properties within the complex late last year.

North American Properties joined CBRE Investors in the acquisition of Atlantic Town Center, a 586,000-square-foot retail space that includes a Publix, a movie theater and various stores. North American has relocated its Atlanta office to the retail property’s second floor, as it will now be the operating partner in charge of leasing and management.

Atlantic Station was developed on the site of the former Atlantic Steel plant and has long been a national example of a sustainable mixed-use community. Although plans for its future are not yet final, the overriding course of action will be to focus on the needs of the area population. The retail and restaurant line-up are likely to see some major changes, the Atlanta Business Journal reported, as will the 7,000-car parking garage, which will be equipped with new lighting and certain technological upgrades, making it more user-friendly. Security measures will also be enhanced. As for the office building, currently about 40 percent leased, the new owner plans to introduce its proprietary 5-Star building enhancement program; create a large, technically advanced conference room; and include a concierge service, a fitness room and a café with Wi-Fi.