Metro Atlanta may be sprawling to South Carolina and Tennessee with subdivisions that cover the land like cornfields, but we’re sprouting a city, block by block, in Midtown.
Two such pockets of progress are Peachtree Street between Fifth and Sixth streets and the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and 10th Street.
Backstreet, a disco that hosted the likes of Cher and Farrah Fawcett-Majors and was a landmark in metro Atlanta’s gay history, will fall under the wrecking ball and be replaced by at least one, and maybe two, 40-story condo towers.
Former Georgia Tech quarterback John Dewberry is running with plans for a large mixed-use development at the Midtown site where First Union once considered building a parking lot.
Dewberry’s preliminary plans call for the development of up to 2 million square feet of office, residential, retail and hotel space on the Peachtree block between 10th and 11th streets. The project, Midtown Square, will fit in with the area’s trophy buildings, including Promenade II and One Atlantic Center, he said.
Recent college grad Katie Sobush often peddles her bike to lunch in Piedmont Park because she doesn’t have or want a car. And Sobush, a transportation planner, is thrilled Atlanta’s urban masterminds have adopted a strategy to reshape the city to accommodate residents just like her.
The city of Atlanta is on the brink of adopting a revolutionary citywide zoning system that would create a new urbanism utopia. Everything people need —- from homes to restaurants to shopping to offices —- would be within walking distance, instead of a car trip away.
A third tower will rise in Midtown on the corner opposite One Atlantic Center.
A Dallas developer plans to start construction this fall on a 37- story, 420-foot apartment tower on the southwest corner of 14th and West Peachtree streets. Genesis Real Estate Group hopes to complete the apartment tower and a 1,001-car parking garage by March 2002.
Three Midtown condo projects all broke ground about the same time last summer at prime locations.
Luxe Midtown at 12th Street and Piedmont Avenue is slated to open in August, and 1010 Midtown at Peachtree and 12th streets is heading toward a fall 2008 finish.
But Onyx on 10th Street between Piedmont and Juniper Street —- well, it’s growing weeds and nurturing small aquatic creatures where the earth was gouged then abandoned.
In a perfect world, someone with deep pockets and deeper cultural sensitivity would step forward, buy the Peters House —- better known in Atlanta as the site of the Mansion Restaurant —- and establish a fund to keep this fine old Midtown landmark in good condition in perpetuity.
Set stage: Swedish developer assembled land, went bankrupt.
A dreamer known as “The Swede” helped lay the foundation for the current buzz of activity in Midtown.
“The Swede” assembled 50 prime acres in 1991 and trumpeted plans for a mega-development. The 15-year plan, with a price tag of up to $2.5 billion, envisioned the renovation of the historic Biltmore Hotel and massive construction along or near Peachtree Street —- two 60-story towers, a regional shopping mall and more than a dozen other mixed-use buildings.
Midtown’s position as Atlanta’s hottest office market is about to be tested.
Pope & Land Enterprises has secured financing for Atlantic Center Plaza, a $95 million, 23-floor office tower on the lawn in front of Veni Vidi Vici restaurant at West Peachtree and 14th streets. The Cobb County-based developer will begin construction this week, partner Harry Morgan said Tuesday. “We’ve closed the loans,” he said. “Now we’re moving ahead full steam.”