Documents hint at massive downtown Atlanta project near Philips Arena


Could a mixed-use project, with more office space than Amazon needs for its planned massive second headquarters, be in the offing for downtown Atlanta?

An unnamed group filed documents this week with the city of Atlanta suggesting a project of mammoth scope — more than 10 million square feet of total development. It would rise on 9-acres near Philips Arena in undeveloped swath of parking lots and rail beds known as the Gulch. 

That size of a project would equal the square footage of Atlanta’s tallest tower — Bank of America Plaza — eight times over.

A likely candidate for the developer behind the proposal would be CIM Group of Los Angeles. The company is pursuing a massive redevelopment near Philips Arena that would bring hotels, apartments, offices and retail, but the group behind the filing with the city was not identified.

CIM was co-founded by Richard Ressler, brother of Atlanta Hawks lead owner Tony Ressler. A Hawks spokesman declined to comment.

The Hawks have expressed desire in being part of a redevelopment of downtown, including the Gulch and surrounding land, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has said CIM could bring plans for a $1 billion development.

In March 2016, during negotiations between the franchise and the city about public financing for a Philips Arena overhaul, the Hawks first expressed interest in an entertainment district downtown.

In June, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported the Hawks and its development partners were in negotiations for land and development rights near Philips Arena.

In August, the AJC first reported an affiliated of CIM had the former Norfolk Southern office complex near the federal courthouse under contract. The property is seen as a vital piece in future redevelopment of south downtown, and sits about a mile south of Philips Arena, signaling the vast scope of potential development by CIM and its partners.

The filing, known as an impact fee assessment, described the project as having more than 9 million square feet of office space, 1 million square feet of commercial space, 1,500 hotel rooms and 2,100 apartments or condos. The filing was first reported by real estate publication Bisnow.

The property is a 9-acre parcel that is currently parking across Centennial Olympic Park Drive from Philips. The land is owned by the city. A Reed spokeswoman declined to comment. 

Tonight, the  Hawks will honor Reed by retiring a jersey in his honor. 

Reed led months-long negotiations with the team for a $192.5 million deal – including $142 million in taxpayer dollars – to overhaul Philips Arena.

The deal also extended the team’s lease at the arena through 2046.

Last month, the state of Georgia delivered its bid for Amazon’s North American headquarters project. The complex, called HQ2, is a 50,000 jobs bonanza that could total more than $5 billion in new investment.

Amazon has said it requires up to 8 million square feet of office space on property with direct transit connections that also is within 45 minutes of an airport.

The Gulch property would fulfill all those requirements.

Georgia’s bid still remains shrouded in secrecy, and state law allows Georgia’s recruiters to keep details of the bid under wraps. But it is known that the state included the Gulch as part of a menu of dozens of metro Atlanta sites proposed to Amazon.

The state said this week local developers and communities offered more than 70 sites for the state to pitch the e-commerce giant.

On Monday, state economic development officials said Amazon indicated it needs 500,000 square feet to 750,000 square feet immediately, and about that much in additional space every 18 months through 2027. Those needs could be fulfilled by both existing buildings or new ones.

State officials expect Amazon’s site selection team to begin visiting prospect cities this month.

Related coverage

Georgia officials expect Amazon to start HQ2 site visits soon

Hawks in talks on mixed-use complex near Philips Arena

Philips Arena to get $192.5 million facelift

MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT.

AJC Business reporter J. Scott Trubey keeps you updated on the latest news about economic development and commercial real estate in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in local business news. Subscribe to myAJC.com.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Your eggs probably aren't cage-free
Your eggs probably aren't cage-free

For some time, it seemed like the plight of egg-laying hens-confined to cages so small they can't even spread their wings-was ending. Restaurants, retailers, hotels and manufacturers, as well as food service and hospitality groups, suddenly recognized that consumer revulsion might cost them real money. So they rushed to announce self-imposed deadlines...
Troubled Georgia nuclear project faces another fateful moment
Troubled Georgia nuclear project faces another fateful moment

The future is again in question for a multi-billion expansion of Plant Vogtle in Georgia. But consumers are likely to pay for the nuclear power project even if it’s never completed. By the end of day Monday, energy organizations from around the state are supposed to vote on whether the expansion should be kept alive despite repeated delays and...
Atlanta home sales down again, prices rise
Atlanta home sales down again, prices rise

A supply-demand mismatch has continued to chill housing sales in metro Atlanta, according to a report from Re/Max of Georgia. The number of home sales last month was down 7.1 percent from the level of a year ago, with the worst plunge coming in Clayton, where sales fell 17 percent. That compares with a national decline of 1.1 percent during the same...
Top 10 holiday toys of 2018: Predictions on what toys are expected to sell out
Top 10 holiday toys of 2018: Predictions on what toys are expected to sell out

Parents, this is your public service announcement. Target, Walmart and Amazon have released their hot toy lists for the 2018 holiday season, and they include many of the toys expected to top kids' wish lists and sell out quickly.           BlackFriday.com looked at the three retailers' ...
More Stories