Perkins Eastman selected as master planner for Doraville GM site

By Maria Saporta and Doug Sams
Published on the Atlanta Business Chronicle website on Oct. 9, 2014

New York based architecture and design firm Perkins Eastman will be the master planner for the redevelopment of the former Doraville General Motors plant.

A development team led by Atlanta-based The Integral Group selected the firm. Integral recently purchased the 162-acre site just north of Atlanta along the Perimeter.

Perkins Eastman is known for its work on several landmark real estate projects, including Battery Park City in Manhattan, a 92-acre planned community that includes high-rise residential, a hotel and the headquarters of Goldman Sachs. The firm also designed Target Field Station in Minneapolis, a multimodal transit hub next to a historic warehouse district and Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins. The project was touted as the Grand Central Station of the Twin Cities.

Perkins Eastman has also worked with Integral on its projects.

“Perkins Eastman is a top-rated planning firm and leader in progressive design and architecture,” Integral chairman and CEO Egbert Perry said. ” We think their experience with large, high-density mixed-use projects aligns perfectly with our ultimate vision for the property to serve as a truly urban node that will connect a large, diverse and growing international population to regional employment centers and academic institutions, utilizing a regional mass transit system as a complement to other modes.”

Perkins Eastman was selected from a field of five finalists.

In September, Integral acquired the plant, with plans to eventually turn the site into into 20 blocks of office buildings, housing, stores and restaurants. Over time, Perry believes the GM redevelopment has the potential to knit Atlanta’s politically and geographically tattered region together, making it important not only for Doraville, but also for unifying the surrounding cities of Brookhaven, Chamblee, Dunwoody, Norcross, Peachtree Corners and Sandy Springs.

The General Motors site is potentially one of the state’s most important redevelopments, a nexus point for the metro region, with an ability to access both MARTA rail and the interstate. Few sites have more transportation access for the region’s auto or train commuters. The plant stands alongside Interstate 285 and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. MARTA’s Doraville Station is also next door. DeKalb Peachtree Airport is about two miles away.

Integral formed a joint venture with Houston-based Consolidated Asset Management Services, or CAMS, a company known for its work on large redevelopments involving environmental sites.

The redevelopment is also a huge turning point for Doraville. The GM plant shut down six years ago, causing the city to lose 10 percent of its tax revenue and 36 percent of its total employment. Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman said the project is important for the entire metro region.

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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