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Old 12-16-2014, 12:23 PM
 
9,918 posts, read 6,906,853 times
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Underground Atlanta under contract with new owner | www.ajc.com

Quote:
Underground Atlanta, the at-times revered and reviled shopping mall in the heart of downtown, has a new owner, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is expected to announce Wednesday that a developer from South Carolina is under contract to purchase the nearly 12-acre property for $25.75 million, and plans to convert the multi-tiered subterranean shopping complex into mixed-use development with a grocery store and above-ground apartments.

T. Scott Smith, President and CEO of Mount Pleasant-based WRS Inc. Real Estate Investments, has confirmed to The AJC that he expects to close on the deal in mid-2015 with hopes to begin construction by 2016 at the latest.

Reed’s office also confirmed the news on Tuesday.

Smith, whose work in the Southeast has largely consisted of suburban commercial development, said he was attracted to Underground because of its proximity to MARTA, Georgia State University, new development and government offices filled with potential tenants.

“We’re right at ground zero of Atlanta,” he said, rattling off the following figures: “We’re at a MARTA station which brings 70,000 people a day. Next to a university that has 32,000 students. You have 110,000 people who work downtown everyday.”

And that, he hopes, will give new retailers and residents reason to give Atlanta’s urban core a second look. “I just don’t think there’s a better location in Atlanta right now (for people) to get where they want to go.”

Smith said he’s still in talks with a residential development partner, and estimates a total investment of $150 million to $200 million in the revamped property.

The news comes after months of speculation of what would become of Underground after Reed announced in March plans to sell Atlanta’s most notorious shopping mall.

Selling the land is key to Reed’s plans to ask voters to approve an infrastructure bond worth up to $250 million in March. The mayor plans to apply the savings from the sale towards paying the debt on the bonds, pending voter approval.

Underground has gone through multiple reincarnations, but at its heyday, was best known as a hub for Atlanta nightlife in the late 1960s. But it’s also earned a reputation for petty crime and panhandling.

Smith said he’s well aware of the stigma. Still, he believes that overhauling Underground with a facelift, new apartments and fresh retailers will attract people eager seeking an urban environment.

“We think that we can change a part of downtown Atlanta that badly needs to be changed, and we’re putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to be successful,” he said. “We think it’s a win-win-win absolutely for everybody after we get this done.”

Bids on the embattled property were due mid-July, just months after the Atlanta City Council approved legislation in March to buy out the $8.8 million rights of CV Underground, the real estate company that manages the site.
Edit: More Coverage: Mayor Kasim Reed to make announcement about Underground Atlanta sale

Last edited by jsvh; 12-16-2014 at 12:39 PM..
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Old 12-16-2014, 12:30 PM
 
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Sounds interesting.

How much above ground space are they getting?
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Old 12-16-2014, 12:37 PM
 
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This is awesome! I think South Downtown is getting ready for an explosion of new apartments and condos. It already has the bones with the grid street system and MARTA rail and bus. A grocery store would cap things off. And with GSU exploding as well I see a really bright future for downtown. We may not see anymore huge skyscrapers in that part of downtown but the street life is going to be crazy with some 5-10 story condo/apt buildings. Even some old style 2-3 story buildings with street level retail would be super cool for the area.
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Old 12-16-2014, 01:07 PM
 
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2 story buildings are great for urban density.
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Old 12-16-2014, 01:14 PM
 
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I'm concerned that the developer is an entity from the middle of nowhere in South Carolina with what sounds like no real experience in urban development.
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Old 12-16-2014, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Georgia
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Sweet!! Underground Atlanta has been a white elephant for the city for decades. Perhaps this will let them do something decent with it. And, more middle-class residents downtown is a big win.
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Old 12-16-2014, 01:32 PM
 
Location: City of Atlanta
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WRS appears to specialize in suburban big box developments.
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Old 12-16-2014, 02:04 PM
 
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I bet there will be more details at the official announcement tomorrow.
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Old 12-16-2014, 02:08 PM
 
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Looks like the developer has done a lot of suburban big-box. But looks like they already have one "urban development" in the works in Charleston:

WRS, Inc. Real Estate Investments Retail Sales Leasing Development

Quote:
The Horizon District is a master planned urban research district that will contain over 2.5 million square feet of mixed-use space. The emphasis of this project will be on developing innovative workspaces that will play a critical role in defining Charleston and the State of South Carolina as a global leader in quality job creation. The proposed Phase 1A will include up to 80,000 square feet of street-level retail, restaurant and office space, plus approximately 325 housing units which wrap around a 900-car parking deck. At least 15% of the housing units will be designated as workforce housing.
Edit: Looks like they also did the Chamblee Village Development.
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Old 12-16-2014, 02:18 PM
 
2,092 posts, read 2,560,941 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfarley30 View Post
This is awesome! I think South Downtown is getting ready for an explosion of new apartments and condos. It already has the bones with the grid street system and MARTA rail and bus. A grocery store would cap things off. And with GSU exploding as well I see a really bright future for downtown. We may not see anymore huge skyscrapers in that part of downtown but the street life is going to be crazy with some 5-10 story condo/apt buildings. Even some old style 2-3 story buildings with street level retail would be super cool for the area.

Totally agree!
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