As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 20, 2017
Underground Atlanta’s first permanent tenant will be long-time Atlanta music venue The Masquerade.
The concert venue known for its three stages – Heaven, Hell and Purgatory – has signed a lease to stay at least 10 years at the downtown project.
The Masquerade had first moved to Underground last November. At the time, it was pegged as a temporary location after the venue had to leave its long-time home on North Avenue when that property was bought for redevelopment.
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 20, 2017
Since buying Underground Atlanta last April, WRS Inc. has been moving forward with development plans for the property.
WRS is partnering with Peak Campus, a student housing developer, to build a 700-bed building across from Georgia State University. The building also will have about 25,000 square feet of retail at street level. The student housing development should be open by the fall of 2020 for that school year.
Looking at photographs of downtown Atlanta in the late 1800’s one cannot help but be impressed with the number of railroad tracks that populated the area we now call The Gulch. By some accounts, at the height of Atlanta’s railroad history there were over 350 trains a day that traveled through the city
Atlanta was indeed a “railroad town.” But for pedestrians and horse drawn carts, all those railroad tracks that meant so much to the economy and the growth of Atlanta presented major challenges for transportation around the city.
Atlanta has closed the deal to sell Underground Atlanta to a developer who plans to construct a mixed-use project. The sale will put the property back on the tax roll, end the city’s annual expense of about $8 million, and may quiet some restless members of the Atlanta City Council.
There is no denying that having the right connections can make a world of difference in achieving one’s goals. As is so often said, it’s not what you know but who you know. This applies not only to people but organizations as well. We all need a little help from time to time. Such was […]
The Atlanta City Council voted Monday for a plan that enables the sale of Underground Atlanta to a developer. The plan calls for the city to deed over to the state of Georgia the Bobby Jones Golf Course.
Atlanta city officials plan to meet one final time with residents, on Friday, before the Atlanta City Council’s slated vote on June 6 on the proposed transfer of Bobby Jones Golf Course to the state. The deal involves multiple transactions, including one that will end Atlanta’s interests in the old World of Coke building.
By Maria Saporta and Amy Wenk As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on February 5, 2016
Despite another delay in the closing of the Underground Atlanta sale to WRS Realty, both the city and the developer said they are committed to the deal.
The transaction has gotten held up over a proposed land swap between the City of Atlanta and the State of Georgia.
The city has committed to the developer that the sale would include a state-owned parking facility located in between Underground and Georgia State University. And the state is interested in swapping that for the Bobby Jones Golf Course in Buckhead.
The Peach Drop – the New Year’s Eve celebration at Underground Atlanta – almost didn’t happen this year because the property is being sold.
Maria believes Atlanta needs to keep an annual New Year’s celebration for the public. (Photo by Amy Wenk)
It was not clear who should put on the Peach Drop – the city or the developer who is buying the property. At the 11th hour, the city decided to take it on, and thousands of people showed up, as they have for years.
Over the years, Atlanta has held a variety of public New Year’s Eve celebrations. We used to welcome the New Year at the Coca-Cola sign next to what is now the Georgia Pacific Building, until the sign came down in the early 1980s.
In the 90s, the Midtown Alliance organized the family-oriented First Night with a number of arts and cultural events along with a fireworks display at midnight.
Then came the Peach Drop – a gathering place where Atlanta’s diverse population could enjoy the uplifting feeling of starting a new year.
With redevelopment plans for Underground, it’s unclear if the Peach Drop will continue.
But Atlanta needs to keep an annual celebration for the public.
We could ring in the new year at the new neon Coca-Cola sign, overlooking Woodruff Park.
Centennial Olympic Park would be a good place to bid farewell to one year, while ushering in a new one.
Or we could recreate First Night in downtown or Midtown – closing off Peachtree – and creating an Atlanta Streets Alive experience.
A New Year’s Eve celebration is important, because it’s the one day of the year when we can remove our fears and reach out to people we do not know – to simply wish them well.
We also can show off our hospitality to out-of-town football fans here for the Chick-fil-A bowl.
It’s moments like these that bring out the best in us.
Developer T. Scott Smith is willing to invest up to $400 million to revitalize Underground Atlanta and its surrounding area. (Photo by Maria Saporta)
Intro: The city of Atlanta’s sale of Underground Atlanta to a developer from South Carolina for $25.75 million was supposed to have closed on Sept. 30. Instead, both parties delayed the closing until Jan. 15 because the complicated real estate deal has run into some hurdles.Mayor Kasim Reed describes them as “solvable.”
Developer T. Scott Smith is willing to invest up to $400 million to revitalize Underground Atlanta and its surrounding area.
And he is anxious to take ownership of the property. Right now his company is managing the Underground retail center for the city but receiving no fees for the work. That’s only one reason he wants the deal to close.
Smith also wants to begin developing high-rise residential towers, a grocery store and other retail on the above ground area while revitalizing the historic storefronts and old city that we know as Underground.
But the state of Georgia owns a parking lot that sits between Underground and Georgia State University ─ a key bridge for the project. The city promised it would acquire the parking lot from the state so it could be incorporated in the overall development.
But securing that parking lot has proven to be more difficult than the mayor originally thought.
Underground is one of several signature projects that Mayor Reed wants to get completed during his term.
It should be the first to get done. The retail and entertainment complex has been a drag on the city’s books for years. And it sits at what is the most significant intersection in Atlanta ─ where MARTA’s two main lines cross. It is the heart of Atlanta.
Because of long-held perceptions by Atlantans against the Five Points MARTA Station and Underground Atlanta, it took an out-of-town developer to see the opportunity of this nexus.
If this deal were to fall through, there’s no telling how long that would set us back as a city or as a downtown.
Mayor Reed does have a lot on his plate, with redevelopment of Turner Field and the Atlanta Civic Center. But the city would be well-served if he focused on solving the problems related to the Underground deal before he moves on to anything else.
Looking at photographs of downtown Atlanta in the late 1800’s one cannot help but be impressed with the number of railroad tracks that populated the area we now call The Gulch. By some accounts, at the height of Atlanta’s railroad history there were over 350 trains a day that traveled through the city. Atlanta was […]
The question of who’s tending the public chicken coop is arising as Atlanta moves with all deliberate speed to promote private development around the Falcons stadium and several publicly owned properties in or near downtown Atlanta – including Fort McPherson, the shuttered Army base.
The general public isn’t alone in raising questions. Atlanta City Councilmember Joyce Sheperd made this comment about the potential sale of most of Fort McPherson to filmmaker Tyler Perry: “I’m a little concerned about the fact that I first heard it on the news.”