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Philips Arena overhaul could include The ‘Gulch’

Rendering of new Philips Arena

Rendering of how the revamped Philips Arena will look in the fall of 2018 (Special: Atlanta Hawks)

Original Story on WABE by Maria Saporta

The $192.5 million renovation plan for Philips Arena could also include upgrades to land between Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Underground Atlanta and Centennial Olympic Park. According to this week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle, that includes what some call the “gulch.”

The gulch is the property under the Georgia World Congress Center and Philips Arena crisscrossed by railroad tracks.

During a Nov. 1 press conference, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta Hawks principal owner, Tony Ressler, expressed interest in developing beyond the stadium.

It’s even possible that Ressler’s brother — Richard Ressler, founder of Dallas-based development company CIM Group — could end up being the developer of the area around Philips.

“You’ve got Richard Ressler, who has expressed interest in developing the gulch,” Reed said during the press conference.

Tony Ressler elaborated, “As we said from the first day we took over (the NBA franchise), we were committed to rebuilding … the Atlanta Hawks foundation to help develop the downtown area to be the best center it can be.”

“My brother’s CIM Group is probably the largest urban developer in America today,” Ressler continued. “He has been spending time in Atlanta looking to figure out ways they can help. We have tried our best to participate in the redevelopment of a worldclass franchise here for the next 35 years.”

The $192.5 million renovation of Philips includes an 18-year lease extension for the Atlanta Hawks to remain in the downtown Atlanta arena through 2046.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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