On Thursday, November 18th, the real estate industry gathered at Park Tavern to discuss all things Downtown Atlanta. The program featured Invest Atlanta President and CEO Dr. Eloisa Klemenitch, CEO of the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena Steve Koonin, Legacy Ventures Founder and President David Marvin, Centennial Yards Company President Brian McGowan, and H. Jerome Russell, Jr., President of H.J. Russel & Company.
The panel, moderated by Senior Editor Doug Sams, highlighted the extent to which the Centennial Yards project will change the Downtown landscape. The Gulch, described by Ambassador Young as a gaping hole in the heart of the city, has long been a troubled redevelopment site in Downtown Atlanta due to the sheer size of the area and the infrastructure needed to support development. The latest attempt by CIM, lead by Brian McGowan, holds promise of 9 million sf of office, residential, and creative retail space. The project is set to not only transform The Gulch but the entirety of Downtown, sparking development interest which has long been dormant.
Koonin spoke on what this means for the area as an entertainment district with future visions of Atlantans enjoying a Hawks game in a dynamic, mixed use community. The breadth of this investment, however, isn’t insular. David Marvin noted the tourism benefit of the project and the ability of Centennial Yards to drive hospitality in Downtown. The momentum of Centennial Yards has the propensity to fuel demand for the Georgia World Congress Center and Centennial Park District. Russel Jr. shared similar sentiments noting the proximity to the well established and beloved Castleberry Hill neighborhood.
Dr. Klemenitch spoke on the success of this redevelopment attempt praising the efforts on the local and State side. She also highlighted the community benefits of the project which totals $42 million in community investments, with $28 million planned for affordable housing, $12 million in citywide economic development, and $2 million for workforce training.
In the last decade Midtown Atlanta has experienced explosive growth, and the momentum is quickly moving into Downtown Atlanta.