Hot Projects and Trends for Metro Atlanta in 2017

If you haven’t noticed already, Atlanta is on fire with new stadiums, restaurants and developments galore. Here are just some of the biggies that will hit our city this year.
New stadiums coming soon
The Braves open Sun Trust Park and its adjacent Battery mixed-use development in the spring. The Battery will include high-end apartments, shops, bars, restaurants, concert hall, office tower and even a luxury hotel. With the $550 million dollar price tag on the Battery, you can bet the performance of this development will be watched closely.
The 1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium downtown is expected to open this summer in time for the Falcons pre-season and part of the United pro soccer team’s inaugural campaign. Upon completion of the demolition of the Georgia Dome, a convention hotel and park will be built on this site. 
Georgia State University is set to play football at Turner Field in the fall and plans are in the work for substantial renovations in the next few years. The multi-year process renovation includes a blend of student housing, apartments, homes, shops, restaurants, a grocery store and other GSU facilities. 
The Atlanta Hawks’, along with the city, have a 192.5 million plan in place to overhaul Phillips Arena which is slated to begin during their offseason. 
In Gwinnett County, leaders are exploring a live-work-play community adjacent to the Infinite Energy Center, located off Sugarloaf Parkway near I-85. 
Midtown is booming
Literally thousands of apartment units are under construction or are in the development stages in Midtown. Several new luxury rental towers will be opening including Miami-based developer Related Group’s Apogee Midtown project which will include a Whole Foods market. 
Colony Square will be given a facelift with new retailers and restaurants. Coda, the second phase of Technology Square, which broke round in December, will open sometime this year. The tower, to be anchored by Georgia Tech and included retail and office space for the private sector, will be closely watched locally and all over the country for it’s high-tech and computing research capabilities. 
 Enterprises, the longtime Atlanta real estate investment firm, plans to break ground this year on a $400 million project to include an office tower, hotel and high-rise condos. 
Underground Atlanta
South Carolina developer WRS Real Estate Investments has said it is still on board with the purchase of Underground Atlanta although the sale has dragged on for over two years now. An executive with Underground buyer WRS Real Estate Investments said the firm plans to hold a community engagement meeting with downtown groups Jan. 14 and a sale will not be completed before that time, but WRS executives also their  firm will meet the January deadline and that will start an 18 month planning process. 
The company has pitched a $300 million project with new shops, a grocery store, apartments and student housing. But, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported recently, other groups are interested in acquiring Underground if WRS isn’t able to complete a deal. 
Developers look west
From the Beltline to planned development of parks near the Falcons stadium to a recent decision by the YMCA to put its metro headquarters in Vine City, much is happening in neighborhoods to the south and west of Centennial Olympic Park.
A community planning effort is looking at ways to improve disjointed streets and make the area more walkable and accessible to its existing transit stations.
The Beltline’s Westside Trail is under construction. Neighbors want to see revitalization, but also don’t want to cause displacement caused by rising property values and other aspects of gentrification.
Selling deck parks
Can downtown and Buckhead booster groups sell the public and policymakers to help them build “deck parks’ to cap gaping freeways with parks and public spaces?
Last year, Central Atlanta Progress proposed “The Stich, a $300 million plan to cap three-quarters mile stretch of the Downtown Connector that could open up land for development and create a new street grid and parks. The Buckhead Community Improvement District, meanwhile, offered up its own $195 million to $245 million vision for public spaces, trails and a new gateway to MARTA over Ga. 400 between Lenox Road and Atlanta Financial Center.
These intriguing projects so far don’t have funding, but other cities such as Dallas have financed similar deck parks with a mix of private, local, state and federal dollars.
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
The world’s busiest airport is launching the initial projects in its $6 billion, 20-year master plan. One of the most noticeable will be the installation of massive new canopies over the curbside areas-which could cause some occasional traffic issues as the work is done.
Makeovers of concourse gate areas also will get underway, and plans for a new InterContinental Hotel adjacent to the domestic terminal will become clearer, though work isn’t expected to start before 2018.
Nearby Hapeville will soon see its first luxury hotel and developers are eyeing underused tracts near the airport.
*Source -J. Scott Trubey-The Atlanta Journal-Constitution-1/12/2017
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