Atlantic Station’s $500M Reboot Takes Root

Hines and Morgan Stanley plan to add office, retail, residential and green space to the Atlanta mixed-use destination.

Hines and an affiliate of Morgan Stanley Real Estate have plans ready for the transformation and expansion of Atlantic Station, a premier destination for office, retail and entertainment in Atlanta. The project will feature more prominent green space in the area’s Central Park.

“Atlantic Station is a mixed-use project with a scale that nobody in the market can really match,” Nick Garzia, Hines director of retail leasing, told Commercial Property Executive. “The needs of that market have evolved, placing greater value on things like open space, scale and amenities. Both office and retail tenants are demanding better public spaces. To stay current, we needed to evolve along with the base of tenants and users.”

The mixed-use environment features more than 450,000 rentable square feet of retail, including more than a dozen restaurants, 2 million rentable square feet of premium office and more than 3,000 multifamily units within the development. In October, KBS Commercial Real Estate signed a lease with Jackson Lewis P.C. to occupy 17,291 square feet in the investor’s 510,000-square-foot Class A office tower at 171 17th St. in Atlanta, part of the Atlantic Station neighborhood. In May, Hines and Invesco Real Estate broke ground on T3 West Midtown, an office development also in the Atlantic Station neighborhood.

Green space on the rise

The transformation will begin with a $500 million expansion for the park remodel, and the addition of two office buildings, a  residential building, two flagship retail stores, five new restaurants and many other smaller changes.

Inside Central Park, plans call for the green space to almost double its current size, creating more flexibility for the numerous special events that take place there annually. A new interactive water feature will be added at the southern end of the park, as well as shade canopies and a giant LED video screen to show movies.

“The park remodel is really the unifying feature common to all of those,” Garzia said. “Atlantic Station’s overall development program came to a halt after the 2008 financial crisis. We are delivering on the original vision that the city approved and believed in, making a more attractive destination for residents and visitors alike.”

By design

According to Garzia, Hines has been very deliberate in how it approached the park redesign and how it will impact all other parts of the project. “The central park has always been the ‘living room’ of Atlantic Station. But it had become tired and dated,” Garzia said. “The new layout, which incorporates street closures to create a pedestrian-only environment between 18th and 19th streets, make the living room larger and function better. It will be de-massified and more human-scaled, and the arrival experience will make a much different statement to visitors than the current design.”

Atlantic Station is between two great and rapidly changing neighborhoods, Home Park and Loring Heights. “The residents in both places have been vocal about the types of experiences they want to see here,” Garzia said. “HGOR, the landscape architect for the remodel, has done a great job incorporating an overall design and amenities that will make it more user-friendly than the original design and layout. We challenged them with creating the best public space in Midtown, and I think we are well on our way to delivering it.”

Atlantic Station is seeing a lot of activity of late. H&M is scheduled to open its new expanded location with a new Porcelanosa and stainless-steel facade by Black Friday. Forever 21 is currently in design-development stages and is scheduled to open its doors by the third quarter of 2019. Construction will start soon on Bowlero, a new entertainment/bowling venue, with a scheduled opening sometime in the third quarter of next year. Additionally, four new restaurants—Naan Stop, Poke Bar, Pho-24 and Gyu-Kaku—are expected to open their doors before the conclusion of 2018.

Images courtesy of Hines