ATLANTA NOW: BIG CITY

ATLANTA, the un-abashed southern center of “big-city-ism”

has reached it’s oh-so-transparent target.

Since the 1960’s, and even many decades before, Atlanta has professed its plan to grow beyond being the capital of the south, as America’s next international city– and global city.

Midtown Atlanta, currently being rebuilt, in large-style.

For years, nay-sayers complained Atlanta was the capital of sprawl– and they weren’t so wrong– about its unbridled super-growth nature. Still, Atlanta has been, for decades, the largest and most important arts center in the southeast, as well as being the continually-growing nexus of all-things-business.

Today a city of almost 6 million citizens, Atlanta is expected to be the 5th largest technology center in the US (Forbes) and is already the 3rd largest film/television capital– in addition to it’s being the capital of financial technology and international logistics.

Currently, Midtown is exploding with everything high-tech as world-acclaimed Georgia Institute of Technology jumped the I-75/I-85 connector. Scores of tech companies have relocated here, including the international headquarters of NCR, bringing with them, many thousands of high-paying jobs.

NCR World Headquarters, Midtown Atlanta

The population of Midtown is exploding with 17,000 new luxury apartments built in 2015 and 2016, and many more under construction. And, that’s only in Midtown, not to mention Atlanta’s other sub-markets, which are cities unto their own–Downtown, Buckhead, Perimeter, Cumberland, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, and other population core areas which are being rebuilt into walkable nouveau urban areas.

The US census estimates the Downtown Atlanta growth to be more than 10%, while New York and Chicago are experiencing reducing populations. Recent studies have verified that New Yorkers and Chicagoans have been moving to the Atlanta metropolitan area for decades.

View of Downtown, Midtown and Atlantic Station, Atlanta.

Also, international Atlantans have increased to 14%, with the largest Japanese population in the US.

Neighborhoods all over the metropolitan area are being rebuilt in the urban mixed-use style. Many Atlantans can now walk to restaurants, shops, as well as, their offices.

Millinneum Arch at West Midtown

The other urban-design trend that has taken Atlanta by storm is the proliferation of urban trails that criss-cross the city. The internationally-acclaimed Atlanta BeltLine, an under-construction 22-mile trail and transit line which will encircle the inner city, has been so loved, that it has spawned trails all over the huge 8,376 sq. mile metropolitan area which has over-grown northern Georgia, and has almost connected to Chattanooga, TN.

“Atlanta is an “alpha-” or “world city” that exerts a significant impact upon commerce, finance, research, technology, education, media, art, and entertainment. It ranks 40th among world cities and 8th in the nation with a gross domestic product of $270 billion”

according to Wikipedia and other sources.

Atlanta BeltLine at Old 4th Ward Park
Midtown Atlanta, with part of Buckhead in the distance
Eastern Midtown looking toward the Midtown and Downtown skylines.
One of the planned parks to be built over Atlanta highways, this one in Buckhead’s central business district.
Sandy Springs, already urbanized, is being re-built as a walkable area.
Ponce City Market rooftop
Buckhead village, Atlanta
Planned re-build of Dunwoody, Atlanta into a walkable, Georgetown-like place.

 

View from Westside Midtown, an exploding center for design.

 

Inman Park new urbanism
Avalon, recently built in Alpharetta
Atlanta Beltline, Midtown Atlanta
Decatur Square
Memorial Drive, Eastside Atlanta
Downtown Atlanta, during the Women’s March
Existing Heavy Rail and Approved Plans for Light Rail Atlanta transit
High Street, planned for Perimeter Dunwoody
State Farm headquarters, Perimeter Dunwoody
New urban Sandy Springs neighborhood, across from Mercedes-Benz North America headquarters.
SLS Hotel and Residences, Midtown Atlanta
Atlanta Beltline Kroger and office building at North Avenue
West Peachtree Street, Midtown

 

The pinnacle of innovation in Atlanta’s Tech Square:

CODA will be unlike anywhere built before:

“A premier mixed-use development with 645,000 square feet of office space, Coda will serve as the core of collaboration and pinnacle of innovation in Midtown Atlanta’s Tech Square. With a first-of-its-kind Class T office environment, Coda is designed to facilitate interactions between start-ups, Fortune 500 companies, university affiliates, researchers and students. The project combines creative workplace design with cutting-edge research labs, comfortable communal spaces, industry event space, as well as unique retail concepts and restaurants/bars.

Delivering in 2019, Coda will provide companies the rare opportunity to co-locate with others who are embedded in the Georgia Tech innovation ecosystem — home to some of the top engineering and computer science programs in the world. Technology pioneers and enthusiasts alike will intermingle on Coda’s campus, evoking an undeniable vitality.”

From Ga Tech Codatechsquare.com

ATLANTA has already exceeded any expectations, yet is a city with a positive attitude for growth and continual improvement.

ATLANTA’S JAZZ-AGE ART DECO ARCHITECTURE

A global high point of 1925,

was the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, held in Paris. Art Nouveau was a style popular in Europe for a few years before the Expo, but afterwards, the style became popular all over the world– anywhere people wanted to exhibit optimism and luxurious style. Thus the style of Art Deco was born.

The style fit Atlanta’s exuberant and aspirational nature perfectly, so it was quite popular here from 1925 to 1940.

As a center for commerce, we will first take a look at Atlanta’s Art Deco commercial architecture.

In 1928, construction began on the Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph building, now the AT&T Communications Building. First designed to be 25 floors, the Depression delayed it to several construction periods to bring it  up to its final 14 floors. The building’s limestone and stepped forms are reminiscent of New York skyscrapers of the period.

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Around 1961, courtesy Georgia State Library
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Originally on Ivy Street, the name of one of Atlanta’s first settlers, it is now on Peachtree Center Ave. Note the bronze lanterns and detailed carving.

 

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This fine photo, from History Atlanta, shows the carved limestone details.
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The Rhodes Haverty Building
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Rhodes Haverty interior by Architecture Tourist

Regenstein’s was a ladies fine fashions department store. The building remains on the corner of Peachtree and Andrew Young International Blvd., downtown.

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A good view of its limestone details, courtesy of Places To Go

Further south along Peachtree, at Five Points, The William-Oliver Building was built in 1930 by architect Francis Palmer Smith.

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Photo by Places To Go

 

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Originally an office building, it now houses apartments.

 

 

 

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William-Oliver bronze canopy.

 

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William-Olver Art deco window details ( photo by Places To Go)

 

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Limestone 33 Park Place is soon to be renovated, pic by Wendy Darling

 

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The old Atlanta Constitution building, in the Art Moderne or Streamlined style, just barely hangs on today, at the Gulch.

 

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One of Atlanta’s Art Deco Kress Stores (the other at 10th and Peachtree, Midtown) still stands on South Peachtree, waiting to be restored. Photo by Wayne Anderson

 

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The Art Deco Lerner Shop awaits renovation, perhaps soon, by the new Underground Atlanta Developer/owner.

 

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The striking atrium of the elegant twin towers of the Healy Building.

 

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The elegant Nabisco Building still exists, I believe, south of Downtown along I-75.

 

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The Troy-Peerless building, houses lofts.

 

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The White Provisions Building is now a successful upscale retail center, on Midtown’s Westside. by Wiebkefesch

 

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The Olympia Building has just been completely restored, at Five Points.

 

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This mountain of a beautiful building was never constructed.

 

Many of Atlanta’s civic and government buildings were constructed in Art Deco’s various styles. The most monumental of them all is the Atlanta City Hall.

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Art deco entrance of City Hall. Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Art deco entrance of Atlanta City Hall, with bronze doors and terra-cotta details.

 

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This is the current Georgia Supreme Court– which will get a new $110 million home soon. This 1930’s building is likely to remain, though repurposed.

 

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Built as the Central Post Office, this Georgia granite Deco structure has been reborn as the MLK, Jr. Federal Office Building.

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Art Deco Municipal Auditorium is now part of Georgia State University. Atlanta Founder Joel Hurt Fountain is being restored.

 

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Sparks Hall, a GSU Georgia granite deco building.

 

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The third, and growing, Atlanta Airport of 1940.

 

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The Annex to the Carnegie Library was a pared-down Art Deco structure built from Georgia granite.
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Beautiful sculpture were an integral part of the granite Deco government buildings of south Downtown

 

 

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Some residential buildings were built in the Art Deco styles, and some were quite amazing– like this home on Peachtree Battle Drive.

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A Deco apartment building on Briarcliff (pic by Craig Bromley)

 

 

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Buckhead mansion by Reid & Schutze, Atlanta architects.

Perhaps the most extravagant Art Deco buildings were the film palaces, and Atlanta had more than it’s share of them.

Most were clustered at the old theatre district, where Margaret Mitchell Square and Peachtree Center are today. They are almost all gone, including the Lowe’s Grand Theatre, where Gone With The Wind premiered in 1939. The Lowe’s Grand Theatre was originally the DeGive’s Opera House. Also lost were the Erlanger Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Palace Theatre, Bijou Theatre, and Roxy Theatre.

But, thanks to the work of many 1970 Atlantans, the

Fabulous Fox Theatre

still thrives today.

2300dd662b11731f1e7ac57e05bc39d9 54e36bd30b041-atlanta-s-fox-theatre-tour-review-glimpse-the-city-s-soul-in-a-historic-landmark-building-2

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The proscenium, looking toward the audience, starry skies and canopies above.
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The Fox, prior to restoration.

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Also, the Buckhead Theatre, and Plaza Theatre

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The Buckhead Teatre on Loudermilk Square, Buckhead Village
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Plaza Theatre on Ponce de Leon

And, of course , the Art Deco Diners:

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The Varsity is the most famous and still serving.

 

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Leb’s is long gone…

 

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The Majestic still survives, right next door to the Plaza Theatre, still showing films.

 

In the 1980’s through today, Atlanta has experienced a resurgence of buildings that have some of the qualities of, or could be considered as, neo-Art Deco, and are exceptionally notable:

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First came, The Buckhead Diner

 

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Richard Meier’s late modernist masterpiece, the High Museum of Art, has references to the Streamlined or Art Moderne styles, arguably.

 

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The Promenade or AT&T Building seems to reference Art Deco aspirationalism.

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The Four Seasons Atlanta, references NewYork’s art deco skyscrapers.
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The lobby of The Four Seasons could have sported Flapper girls doing The Charleston.
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I’m not sure how to categorize the Grady Hospital Addition, but it looks vaguely Deco to me….
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A recent office design for Alston & Byrd Law in Midtown.
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The Livingston Restaurant at The Georgian Terrace inspires Art Deco jazz-age feelings.
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Even the modern design of the Lowe’s Hotel Midtown…
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And, most definitely, Robert Stern’s Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Midtown.

 

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Finally, Roche & Dinkeloo’s Bank of America Plaza captures the uplifting, soaring spirit of the Empire State Building for the capital of the South.

 

 

2016 + Georgia Globe + Atlanta Design Awards

Georgia Globe Design News

presents

extra_large_atlanta

The 3rd Annual Georgia Globe – Atlanta Design Awards

2016 was another awe-inspiring year for design, development, and construction in metropolitan Atlanta.

The city is exploding with new skyscrapers, culinary attractions, and residential towers; their designs have been heightened, and are pace-setting.

Atlanta has so many scores of important and very expensive projects proposed, in design development phases, and under construction, this process of highlighting ‘the best’, is increasingly difficult (happily).

The following projects were selected for their excellence in design, civic importance, and/or exhibition of the aspirational Atlanta Spirit.

They were chosen, painfully, by my team of one. Please feel free to comment… maybe, one day, this will be a more democratic process. In the mean time, enjoy some great Atlanta projects– all nominees are winners!

The categories are:

10. Top New Project Announcement Award

9. Top Historic Reuse Project

8. Top Project Under Construction

7. Top Transportation Project

6. Top Project Most Likely to Remain Unbuilt

5. Demolition of the Year

4. Top Retail Project

3. Top Restaurant Design

2. Icon for Generations Award

1. all leading up to… the 2016

Georgia Globe Design News – Atlanta Project of the Year

 


10

Top New Project Announcement Award

Last year’s winner of the Top Project Announcement 2015 was JPX Works’ condo tower, Emerson, 2520 Peachtree Road, Buckhead for its excellence in design. It will be under construction soon. Emerson’s sister tower, Lili, is already under construction in the Fox Theatre Historic District, Midtown.

 

 

This year, the nominees for Top New Project Announcement are:

  • 1105 West Peachtree, $400 million, 17-32 floors, office/residential/hotel/retail, Midtown, by Rule Joy Trammel Architects and Selig Enterprises

 

  • The Charles condominiums, 18 floors, Buckhead Village, by Lord Aeck Sargent Architects, and Loudermilk developers
    The Charles is adjacent to the toney Shops of Buckhead and will front Loudermilk Park.

     

  • Star Metals office/retail building & apartment building, Howell Mill Road, Westside by Chad Oppenheim & Warner Summers Architects and Allen Morris Co. developers.

Image result for Stockyards, westside Atlanta

 

  • Opus Place, condos/ corporate suites/ retail, 74 stories, 14th Street, Midtown, by Perkins & Will Architects and Olympia Heights Management developers
    Opus Place is slated to become Atlanta’s second tallest building, and one of the nations tallest residential towers at 920 feet. It is planned to be a twin towers project with retail and hotel, across from the Four Seasons Atlanta.

     

  • Solis Hotel at Porsche North American headquarters, Atlanta Aerotropolis, by HOK Architects and Capella Hotel Group
    The Solis is under construction next to the new Porsche headquarters and test track.

     

  • Colony Square Mall renovation at 14th & Peachtree, Midtown, by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects NY and North American Properties
    Colony_Sq 1000pixels.jpg
    Colony Square may become an open air piazza experience- just before its 50th birthday as one of the US first mixed-use developments.

     

  • 1122 Crescent Avenue, an SLS Hotel & condos, 42 stories, Midtown, by SBE architects and Trillist developers
    The soaring, trend-setting hotel will have a related retail/apartment tower at 1138 Peachtree Street (shown above).

     

  • Woodruff Arts Center $100 million renovation, Peachtree St, Midtown, TVS Design
    The campus-wide transformation includes a new entrance courtyard for Richard Meier’s High Museum of Art.
    Award-winning Alliance Theatre will receive curvilinear fine wood design elements.

     

  • Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport‘s $6 billion expansion– befitting of the world’s only airport to exceed 100 million passengers in one year. Virtually every portion of the airport (and beyond) is part of the design program.
A $350 million InterContinental Hotel by JPA Architects will be directly adjacent to the main terminal and connected by a courtyard with fountains and a multi-colored glass roof.

 

Tough category, all are beautiful projects…

And the Top New Project Announcement 2016 winner is

Opus Place

for it’s soaring minimalist modern design and the audacity to reach for the skies in true Atlanta Spirit.

400 condos with amenities to match the best location in the South.

 

9

Top Adaptive Reuse Project Award

Last year’s Adaptive Reuse Project Award winner was the Microsoft Innovation Center and restoration of the 1897 Flatiron Building, Peachtree St, Downtown Atlanta

2016 Nominees for Top Adaptive Reuse are:

  • North + Line residential & retail at the BeltLine & historic Excelsior Mill, Old 4th Ward, by Smith Dahlia Architects and Southeast Capital Partners
    The Georgia granite structure was an early industrial building and housed the iconic music hall Club Masquerade for many years, now moving to Underground Atlanta.

     

  • Stockyards Atlanta will offer entertainment/office/retail in the historic Old Miller Stockyards, Brady Avenue, West Midtown, by Ai3 Architects and Westbridge, developer.

 

  • The Byron Lofts & retail, 549 Peachtree St, Downtown, by Plexus R+D Architectsthe-byron-1000

 

  • Atlanta Dairies mixed-use entertainment redevelopment, Memorial Drive, Grant Park, by Perkins & Will and Paces Properties.

And the Top Historic Reuse Project 2016 winner is

North + Line

New residences and retail along Old 4th Ward Park
New retail / restaurant space in the old Excelsior Mill, once Masquerade.

8

Top Atlanta Project Under Construction

Last year’s  Top Atlanta Project Under Construction Award went to

City Springs, the new city center for Atlanta’s most important suburban city, with government offices, residential/ retail/ performing arts center, Roswell Rd At Johnson Ferry & Mount Vernon Rd, Sandy Springs

Night Render

The 2016 Nominees are:

  • NCR World Headquarters, 22 stories, Spring Street at 8th, Tech Square, Midtown, by Duda Paine Architectsncr1000The two towers are connected by a transparent, welcoming, indoor/ outdoor experience for neighborhood techies.A view of NCR World Headquarters from the I-75/I-85 Connector

 

  • Hanover Midtown, apartments/office/retail, 29 floors, Peachtree St at 7th, by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (Chicago) 
  • CODA High Performance Computing Center, Tech Square, Midtown, by John Portman & Associates
    An historic structure was saved for this development. (So, anything’s possible!)

    A view of the public courtyard, connecting West Peachtree and Spring Streets, with video walls, artistic lighting, and seating areas.

 

  • One Museum Place, condominiums, across Peachtree from the High Museum, by Mack Scoggin & Merril Elam Architects (Atlanta) and John Weiland developerOnce slated for a skyscraper, the developer opted for pedestrian scale and excellent design quality, adjacent to one of Atlanta’s best historic neighborhoods, incomparable Ansley Park.

 

  • Ascent Midtown apartments/hotel/retail, 24 stories, West Peachtree Street, Midtown, by R2L: Architects (D.C.) and Greystar developers

 

  • Mercedes-Benz Stadium for NFL Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC, the “best new NFL stadium”, with its operable oculus roof and ovular jumbo-tron video screen, the structure is about 30 stories tall, $1.7 billion, near Centennial Olympic Park, Downtown Atlanta, by Bill Johnson of 360 Architecture

 

  • lili residences/retail, 24 stories, Peachtree at 3rd St, Fox Theatre Historic District, Midtown, by ODA: Architecture and JPX Studios 

 

And the Top Atlanta Project Under Construction 2016 winner is:

CODA

High Performance Computing Center / Tech Square for its high impact, technology driven design, massive computing abilities, and new center for Atlanta’s exploding technology companies from all over the world. 

 

7

Top Transportation Project 

Last year, the Top Transportation Project Winner was Keith Parker’s major turnaround of Atlanta’s MARTA system.

The 2016 Nominees are:

  • Atlanta Regional Commission’s approved $1 billion plan for cyclists and pedestrians.

 

 

  • Atlanta voters for approving a $3 billion plan for pedestrian, transit and transportation projects (MARTA and Atlanta BeltLine)

And the Top Atlanta Transportation Project 2016 winner is:

The Atlanta Voter’s approval for Transportation 2016

 

6

Top Project Most Likely to Remain Un-built Award

Last year, the 98 14th St mixed use triple towers was crowned. Well, I was both right and wrong. The project, as designed by Arquitectonica, Miami, was cancelled. However, the new design, now called Opus Place, will be twin towers, nearly the tallest in Atlanta, designed by Stevens & Wilkinson, and,  hopefully, very likely to be built.

The Nominees for Most Likely to Remain Unbuilt 2016 are:

  • Sandy Springs Park over 400 Highway Cap, Johnson Ferry Road, Fulton Countysandy_springs_400_park-0

 

  • Gateway Pedestrian Bridge, Peachtree Corners, Gwinnett County24357683260_6eda759b24_z

 

  • Campanile Addition of 6 floors to the existing 21 story tower & street retail, 14th & Peachtree, by Dewberry Capital

 

And the Top Project Most Likely to Remain Unbuilt 2016  winner is:

Gateway Pedestrian Bridge at Peachtree Corners

“Walk like a Gwinnettian”, yes, sorry, we sang that in the ’80’s. But, come on… Gwinnettians don’t really walk.  Sorry for my cynicism. It’s beautiful! Go ahead, build it and they will come!

5

Demolition of the Year Award

Last year was a terrible tie, for the razing of Glenridge Hall, Sandy Springs,

glenridge_hall

and The Hulse House, a 20th century masterwork by by Anthony Ames, Architect

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This year, we have much happier results, seeing the likely saving of

Spring Hill Memorial Chapel by Philip Shutze, 1928, Spring Street, Midtown (lifespan uncertain)

Trust Company Bank, Monroe Drive Branch, by Henri Jova (lifespan uncertain)

And, the full preservation of both The Candler Building (Coca-Cola), to become a Curio Hotel by Hilton, Downtown

and the Briarcliff Mansion (Coca-Cola, again), to become a boutique hotel at Emory University, Druid Hills

Alas, though, we did lose…

 …the memorial to one of the very first homesteads, in 1822, of the Todd Family, with one of the oldest gravesites…

… in, what would become, only 194 years later, the Alpha- City of Atlanta– 36th most important city on Earth (according to Global Cities: 2010 Rankings).

 

Anyway, the Demolition of the Year Award 2016

goes to– the Jack Holes– that destroyed, forever, an important piece of Atlanta history, be it ever so very humble.

In true American spirit, they are being sued…

 

4

Top Retail Project of the Year Award

Last year’s winner was Restoration Hardware Gallery in Buckhead

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The nominees for 2016 are:

  • Phipps Plaza renovations, the 1969 shopping palace, which was upgraded, again for 2016, giving it a new, more urban face toward Peachtree Boulevard.
  • dsc_0575%202 phipps-plaza-t7iyrf

 

  • Westside Atlanta district: “real”, new retail, including Westside Provisions/ Howell Mill Rd / Marietta Streetrsz_westsidemap_0 wspd_north_district_960x350

 

  • Skyline Park, The Roof at Ponce City Market, although not “strictly” a retail project, Ponce City Market, a food hall and marketplace of national proportions, has added a rooftop entertainment deck to amplify the fun factor while shopping.a6618a4521img_5908 cab7255-3

 So, the 2016 Retail of the Year Award goes to:

Ponce City Market

(again, it wins so many awards…)

ponce_exterior2_atl

 

3

Top Restaurant Design of the Year Award

Last year, honors went to Ford Fry’s drop-dead gorgeous Bar Margot at the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, 14th St, Midtown

As per Zagat, “Atlanta has always been home to some rather stunning restaurants and bars, spaces so jaw-droppingly gorgeous that they almost — almost! — lend credence to the expression “eat with your eyes first.”

And chefs hate that, but people love it!

For 2016, the nominees for Top Restaurant Design of the Year Award are:

  • Himitsu, the lauded, surreptitious, cocktail lounge and sushi bar, One Buckhead Plaza, at Loudermilk Park, designed by Tom Dixon and chef Fuyuhiko Ito

 

  • Umi Sushi, modern Japanese, near Himitsu, Buckhead, also by Tom Dixon

 

  • Cape Dutch, sophisticated South African Steakhouse, Cheshire bridge Road, Morningside/Lenox Park, designed by Kelly Anthony and chef Philippe Haddad

 

  • The Mercury, “a cocktail-focused, classic American eatery,” mid-century modern meets industrial Ponce City Market, designed by Square Feet Studio and chef Mike Blydenstein

 

  • Marcel, 1920’s French boxer theme, Howell Mill Rd, Westside, by designer Elisabeth Ingram, chef Ford Fry

 

 

  • Amer, fine cocktails and savory bites, Inman Quarter, Inman Park

 

And, the winner for Top Restaurant Design of the Year Award is

Marcel

 

2

Icon for Generations Award

Last year, Richard Meier’s HIGH Museum of Art at the Woodruff Arts Center, Midtown, with Renzo Piano’s perfectionist additions.

This year, we would like to honor

The Hyatt Regency Atlanta, 1967 , by John Portman

which transformed the design of hotels, perhaps, forever. It remains a masterpiece.

The Hyatt House was the first modern atrium hotel.
Although it didn’t really need a total design change, the new lobby restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta is well-designed.

 1

The first runner up for 2016 Project of the Year is Buckhead’s Central Park over highway 400.

And finally… the highest Georgia Globe Design News- Atlanta Design Award

2016 Project of the Year

The Stitch, a cap over I-75/I-85 highways, connecting Midtown and Downtown Atlanta

Congratulations, everyone, good design helps all people.

 

 

Thanks, and Happy Holidays

From Wayne @

(wdanielanderson.wordpress.com)

Georgia Globe Design News

and my new blog,

Views From the Globe: Portland

Now, in Portland Oregon

I so appreciate that you have been reading…

The following stats astound and humble me:

My blog has been read in 113 countries and has had almost 100,000 views this year. Following the good old US, Germany holds most of my readers. Then, the UK, France, Canada and Brazil!

Over the past five years, I’ve posted 193 times. One day, in May this past year, I had almost 3000 views– in one day!

Anyway, thanks for your support, it is my pleasure.

In the future, more posts about what’s happening in Portland, explosive Atlanta, and, perhaps some of my travel stories.

Happy Holidays, to my friends, everywhere!

MODERN ATLANTA: Then & Now

Since before the turn of the 20th century, Atlanta has been a laboratory for New York, Chicago, and local architects alike, to experiment with new building techniques– like early skyscrapers and modern styles.

Although not easily perceived by new transplants, Atlanta has been on the cutting-edge of design for over a century. 

Bradford Gilbert, the architect now known for designing the first steel-framed curtain wall building in New York, designed Atlanta’s Flatiron Building, completed in 1897, five years prior to New York’s more famous Flatiron Building.

When elevators and steel frame construction were the newest technology, architects were fast to implement the new ideas into Atlanta buildings. The pace-setting Chicago-style skyscraper, made famous by Louis Sullivan, was popular in Atlanta, and can be seen in the upper floors of the (1901) steel-framed Empire Building at the corner of Marietta and  Broad Streets. It was the first steel-framed building and the tallest in Atlanta (until 1906), as well as, one of the tallest in the world. Later, acclaimed Atlanta architect, Philip Shutze, redesigned the lower floors in elaborate neo-classical style for Citizens & Southern National Bank (Bank of America).

empire_building_built_1901_now_the_j-_mack_robinson_college_of_business_administration_building

The 1920’s brought Art Deco modern style all over Atlanta– from office buildings, to department stores, to City Hall.

From architecture, to retail store design, to fashion, Atlanta has always been very current. Rich’s founders brought Paris’ latest fashions to Atlanta in the 1870’s, and Rich’s kept Atlantans always in the know of the latest style into the millineum. Also, Davisons was Atlanta’s other home-town department store, although it was owned by R. H. Macy since 1926– so New York fashion was never far away.

20's Southern Bell Long Lines Building

The 20’s Southern Bell Long Lines Building is still standing downtown.

Atlanta’s fourth and current City Hall was built, in 1928, as a soaring Art Deco tower.
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The 1933 US Post Office has been restored, and is now the MLK, Jr. Federal Building.
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A rare art deco mansion from 1935 is on Peachtree Battle Ave.

In the 1940’s, the Art Moderne and International Styles took over… new modernism was constructed all over the city.

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The new Municipal Airport Building opened in 1940, although the airport launched in 1925.
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The streamlined Art Moderne Atlanta Journal, from 1940, is still hanging on today, barely…
Famous international-style modernist I.M.Pei designed the Gulf Oil Building in 1949, in marble and steel, now restored.
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Leb’s Famous Atlanta Diner, Downtown, 1949
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1950’s Marietta St.  Whatever was not really old, was built in the International style.
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Space-age Plaza Park, a downtown urban renewal project, was built in the 1950’s between viaducts at Five Points.
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New Formalism, at NABISCO in 1955. Parts can still be found.
Georgia Tech’s School of Communications
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A synagogue from 1955, on LaVista  Road.

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Googie signs of the atomic age were place makers in suburban Atlanta in the late 50’s, early 60’s. What was once the popular popular Broadview Plaza shopping center, has now become the transit-oriented district of Lindbergh, in Buckhead.

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Atlanta Police Headquarters, 1958. Razed 1990.
The First National Bank /Wachovia, 1958, next to the elaborate Ponce de Leon Apartments, where Emory Health’s Proton Center now stands in flux. This would have been a great mid-century skyscraper to keep.
The fabulous Atlanta Cabana from 1958.
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Atlanta Cabana interior
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Lenox Square was born in 1959 in modernist style. Later, as a young child, I loved the hanging sphere motifs in the parking lots… and the flying saucer Gulf station.

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This prairie style Motor Inn on Ponce de Leon, was next to The Eagle.
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Atlanta’s Robert Green studied with F. L. Wright and designed this in the 60’s.
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The new Atlanta Airport opened in 1961, as the largest airport in the world. Atlanta outgrew it’s cutting-edge facilities years before expected.
Atlanta Municipal Airport interior lobby 1962. Note the mobile artwork, too bad that seems to have been lost.
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Lofty, beautiful, ticketing areas in the Atlanta Municipal Airport.
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A new parabolic concrete gas station was built to match the new airport.
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Henri Jova’s round bank branch on Monroe was modern and elegant for Trust Company Bank.

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The 1963 Orkin Exterminators-Rollins remains on Piedmont.
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The Parliament House (1964) is a recent historic reuse as dorms for Georgia State University. Note the old Sinclair Gas station with the dinosaur– remember those?
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John Portman’s award-winning home, off Northside Drive, 1964
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The First federal Savings & Loan building of 1964 was built with no interior columns, on Marietta Street. It always looked to me like it belonged on Ipanema Beach, Brazil.
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1964’s Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
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1964 Wesley Residences, near Emory University
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The Georgia Archives Building, built in 1965 of Georgia marble, was always one of my favorites. It will be razed soon, to build a new state courthouse.
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ATLANTA GATEWAY sculpture, 1966, at Atlanta Industrial Park.
One Park Tower, 1961, will soon be home to a new hotel on Woodruff Park.
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The marina at Stone Mountain in 1966.

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Circa 1966. Kenneth Johnson, Architect; Edward Daugherty, FASLA, Landscape Architect; William Trapnell Associates, Interior Design

The 1966 C&S (Bank of America) Branch, on Roswell & Wieuca Roads, still extant, by Kenneth Johnson, Architect– simple on the outside, but look at the striking interior!

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Mercedes-Benz Buckhead on Pharr Rd, by famous architect Bruce Goff, later to become a much-loved mega-Oxford books, now razed for highrise developments.
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The Atlanta Civic Center was built in 1967.
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The Atlanta Civic Center was quite glamorous in its day, resplendent in red and gold.

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Of course, the Hyatt Regency Atlanta was record-setting with it’s modern atrium design.

 

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Lord, Aeck & Sargent designed the iconic 1967 C & S Bank next to where Bank of America towers over the south east today at 1023 feet tall.
1968’s modernist Equitable by SOM, New York
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1968 rotunda on Pharr Rd.
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Modern ranch-style homes in mid-century Atlanta
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Life of Georgia, 1968, North Ave
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1968 Delta gate rotundas at Hartsfield.
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A 1969 Moreland Avenue Bank Branch was designed by Kenneth Johnson, Architect with William Trapnell Associates, Interior Design.
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The courtyard of the Moreland Ave branch.
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1971 Trust Co of Georgia Bank

 

Courtyard at Colony Square, midtown, Atlanta.
Courtyard at Colony Square, Midtown Atlanta 1972
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Omni International Complex, 1975, now CNN Center
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1976 design of Five Points MARTA Station

 

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 Icon Marcel Breuer’s highly misunderstood Atlanta Central Library

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The Westin Peachtree Plaza was the tallest hotel in the world for several decades.  1976
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Bell Headquarters, 47 stories, by SOM (NY) & Rosser International

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The 1983 High Museum of Art by Richard Meier marks the transition from modernism to post-modernism in Atlanta.

Outer Boom: Perimeter Center & Sandy Springs

The predominate push for creating walking city centers with public transportation has reached a particularly high level in North Atlanta– especially at

Sandy Springs, Perimeter Center, & Dunwoody.

The Big One came this week, with the re-announcement of the High Street mega-development at Perimeter Center in Dunwoody.

Originally announced in 2005, the 42 acre site is across the street from the Dunwoody heavy-rail MARTA station. Developers say it will total 8 million square feet at complete build-out– with a million feet of office space, 400,000 sq ft of retail/restaurant, a 750-room hotel, and 3000 residential units. The buildings look to be preliminarily 8-14 stories mostly, with a 30-story tower or so.

The outstanding element, other than the grand scale of the project, is it’s urban design. The site has been divided into walkable blocks with a main oblong boulevard surrounding a central green. Unusual for Atlanta, it actually has a main axis and central focal point. Other than the Beaux-arts layout, the new design shows more modernist leanings than the last design– with a hint of Art Deco and neo-industrial. Many trees, green spaces, plazas, and water features humanize the monumental scale.

I like that the design looks like different buildings have been designed by various architects over time, the way a real city grows. Now, whether they can actually pull that off is yet to be seen.

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High Street at Perimeter Center, Dunwoody, looking north from Hammond Drive.
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The North end of High Street
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A High St residence overlooking the park
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The Central Plaza of High Street
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Retail with water features and a café below a bosque of trees.

 

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Map shows just some of the development planned around still thriving Perimeter Mall.

The Perimeter Center district lies about half in Sandy Springs and half in Dunwoody,

with a bit to the south in Brookhaven, but its all Atlanta. That makes odd sense, I know. The area may be the top office sub-market in Atlanta, with Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, and Cumberland close behind.

Atlanta gets many more office buildings than most cities, because it is such an important business hub. It is home to the nations fourth highest number of Fortune 500 companies in the US.

Across the street, State Farm Insurance is under construction with its mega-office center. Currently it is building a 26-story tower, but the 17 acre walkable campus will be 2.2 million sq ft when completed. Plans included retail and hotel, but may be in flux.

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State Farm master plan shows walking promenades and park space. The green space shown to the north is a new public park below the MARTA rail line.
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The State Farm tower directly abuts the MARTA line.
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A view from Perimeter Center Parkway at Hammond Dr.
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side view
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The structures’ construction is well underway.
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Aerial view

Perimeter Mall just announced a 16-story office building of their own on the same corner, nearly, as the two projects above, with MARTA at the center.

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The foreground of the picture above is the site of proposed 1201 Hammond Drive, which includes 780,000 square feet of office space, 300,000 square feet of retail space, a 350-room hotel, and 200 residential units.

Hines Ravinia, also, plans 37,000 square feet of retail space to accompany the office campus designed by architects Kevin Roche & John Dinkeloo back in the 80’s, now designed to make its area more walkable.

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Wooded, nearly pastoral, Ravinia, is planned for a higher walkable density.

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Over in Dunwoody Village, the original 1970’s ersatz Williamsburg commercial center of the residential bedroom community has been newly planned to look a bit like Georgetown, in D.C.

Good luck with that… it may happen, just will take a few years, like everything.

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Just across GA-400, in the Sandy Springs portion of Perimeter Center, three mid-rise luxury apartment buildings and townhouse rows are completed or under construction.

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One MARTA Station north is the Sandy Springs station

with several proposals around it. The largest is a Chinese backed mixed-use redevelopment of 1117 Perimeter Center.

The post-modern pink granite hexagonal office building was, incidentally, built on top of my buddy’s home while growing up in the 60’s and 70’s. He was the preacher’s son at my family’s church. At the time, it was a new subdivision of traditional two-story homes. We sometimes ate at the Morrison’s Cafeteria of newly opened Perimeter Mall after church on Sundays.

I digress, but a few years later, the neighborhood and the church were all gone. Today, 5 skyscrapers are planned with retail around the hexagon.

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Just across GA-400, Mercedes-Benz is building their new modernist North American headquarters.

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New Mercedes-Benz North American Headquarters

 

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Mercedes Headquarters, from above, looks pretty suburban.

 

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Directly across the street, Ashton Woods’ mega-residential neighborhood will have 1000 apt, condo, and single family residences in what appears to be a lovely English/German style.

 

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The new neighborhood will be called Glenn West and features many parks, lakes and creeks. Lets hope some of the old-growth forest is left, too.

And a couple of miles west is the center of 1950’s-60’s suburb,

Sandy Springs, which is being re-built as brick modernist City Springs. It is under construction at the intersection of Johnson Ferry, Mt. Vernon, and Roswell Roads. Sandy Springs just became a city a decade ago, and did not need a “downtown”, previously, because

Downtown Atlanta was it’s downtown, 13 miles south.

But, building a walkable village will be a wonderful addition to the area. Having too few upgrades since it’s 1960’s shopping plazas, it was rundown and really needed updating. In fact, Roswell Road was already so ugly back then, when I was a teen, that Sandy Springs was called the “Golden Ghetto”!

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The City Center site plan

 

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“Springs” fountains in front of the new Performing Arts Center.

 

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Performing Arts Center

 

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Performing Arts Center lobby
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Performing Arts Center auditorium

 

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Parks, esplanades, and the Sandy Springs Government Building.
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Spaces for events and farmer’s markets

 

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The central fountain of the new retail district.

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Cliftwood on Allen Rd, Sandy Springs
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Sandy Springs City Plan

In the plan above, you can see a major part of Sandy Springs planning is for transit in addition to the 3 MARTA stations they already have. Studies are being made for monorails, pods, and gondolas to connect with MARTA and possibly transit in Brookhaven, Chamblee and Dunwoody.

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111 Glenridge Point Parkway
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An overview of Perimeter Center, Sandy Springs, with the King and Queen landmark buildings.
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This development is adding residential.
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Cox Corporate Headquarters
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Casual Dining at Le Meridien Perimeter Atlanta (Dunwoody)
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New residences on nearby Pill Hill.

Eight miles north-east, even Peachtree Corners is planning a small downtown area, across Peachtree Industrial from The Forum Shops, and to be connected by an “iconic” pedestrian bridge. The 5 preliminary designs for the bridge are shown.

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Site Plan for the pedestrian bridge.

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Downtown Peachtree Corners site plan
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Downtown Peachtree Corners rendering

Although Peachtree Corners is building to become more walkable, it has no current plans for transit.

ATLANTA 1996: AN OLYMPIAN RETROSPECTIVE

Come with me on a wonderful journey back to 1996, and the years leading up to the time–

when Atlanta had its most extravagant global coming out party.

 

Two months from now, Atlanta will celebrate the Twentieth Anniversary of the great Centennial Olympic Games.

As a retrospective, and because there are so many new Atlantans, it’s important to understand the setting. Atlanta, in the late 1980’s, was a very different place.

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1981 Aerial Postcard shows The Omni coliseum, Omni International mixed-use complex before CNN moved in, the first phase of the Georgia World Congress Center, and Atlanta before Olympic Park and many skyscrapers. (courtesy of Atlanta Time Machine)

 

Coming-of-age Atlanta was in the middle of the biggest building boom of its history, thus far.

This particular development boom is the one that brought many landmark towers, museums, as well as scores of other buildings. In 1985, the Atlanta Marriott Marquis was completed with it’s sculptural atrium– the tallest in the world. In 1987, Midtown proudly welcomed Phillip Johnson’s One Atlantic Center, the Campanile999 Peachtree, and in Buckhead, the Atlanta Financial Center was built over a tunnel for the future GA-4oo highway extension.

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The Atlanta Financial Center, in Buckhead

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Also, in 1987, the talk around town had begun–

“should Atlanta bid for the Olympics?!”

 

In 1988: One Buckhead Plaza, the J.W.Marriott at Lenox, Resurgens Plaza, and, finally, the ATL Airport was connected to MARTA. In 1989, the Fuqua Conservatory at Atlanta Botanical Garden, Michael Graves’ Ten Peachtree Place, The Peachtree, Promenade II, One Capital City Plaza, and the grand re-opening of Underground Atlanta.

Most of these skyscrapers from 1985-1990 were between 18 and 50 story towers. Can you imagine Atlanta without these structures, and the newer ones since? Now you are getting the idea of Atlanta before the Olympics.

Of course, with the boom, came destruction of old Atlanta landmarks like the three Pershing Point apartment buildings, including Atlanta’s unique version of the artsy, irreplaceable Chelsea Hotel in New York.

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conservatory, Georgia, GA, Atlanta, Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory at Atlanta Botanical Garden at Piedmont Park..

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In 1990,

the 191 Peachtree Tower, by Phillip Johnson, had just been completed in Downtown Atlanta. The Braves had not yet experienced their golden decade of Division Titles and World Series games. CNN was a decade old; the Turner empire was flourishing.

Two years prior, in 1988, while Atlanta hosted the Democratic National Convention,

Rob Lowe made the very first, infamous, sex tape, in the nearby Atlanta Hilton, after partying at the latest hot nightspot downtown, Club Rio.

And, in 1990, the city of Atlanta’s population was less than 400,000– with the metro area just below 3 million. But, even then, Atlanta was a fast-moving, cosmopolitan city which fully believed it could rival any other.

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191 Peachtree Office Tower had just opened.
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Hot Club Rio, a 1930’s Film Studio, razed for Olympic Park construction.

It was an explosively exciting period of life in ever-changing Atlanta,

as it grew to be a big city with great new restaurants, many clubs– including after-hours clubs (Backstreet was pouring 24 hours)– and cool art openings. I lived at Colony Square and took the MARTA subway to Peachtree Center where I worked. We were living the dream, and loved our superbly enjoyable and chic city. At the time Atlanta was continually winning America’s Best lists, for business, lifestyle, and the arts.

Of course, one of the times I was travelling to Manhattan, one sarcastic queen had to ask “if we actually had restaurants there?”  We “actually” did have many great “nouvelle cuisine”, “new southern”, and other lively urban restaurants with great food. We were lucky to have experienced the best new restaurant openings, continually.

It was different, however, than today’s foodie-haven Atlanta.

Even with all of the newly beautiful buildings, Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead Atlanta were still nearly covered with bare parking lots. Way worse than it is today. Virtually none of the condominiums that line Peachtree Street and the other streets of Midtown had been built. Yet many of the fine old buildings, along with most of the gay bars, had already been demolished from Midtown, with the promise of new developments.

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With the announcement coming, much of the talk, in 1990, was whether Atlanta could possibly get the Olympics.

We all knew it was a total longshot because it was the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympic Games, so Athens would be the obvious choice. Also bidding were lovely Belgrade and Manchester, and the gorgeous, built-up cities of  Melbourne, and Toronto.

Nevertheless, Atlanta was very excited about the prospect of the Olympiad; the highly savvy, hospitable committee had worked hard for three years to make it happen.

After all, in aspirational Atlanta, anything is possible. For well over a century, we have recognized it as the Atlanta Spirit.

 

On the morning of September 18, 1990, a huge crowd awaited at Underground Plaza– every television set and radio was tuned in to hear the much-anticipated announcement!

Moments passed slowly, as IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch announced from Tokyo:

the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games

will be held in

A-a-a-a… (we waited to hear  …thens! )

But, as he slowly enunciated, he said

…t-l-a-n-t-a!

  

Words are unworthy to express the emotions; we actually stopped on the I-75/I-85 Connector and ran around our cars, honking and yelling! It was an amazing moment. (In truth, we were already stopped in the morning traffic, but, still…running around on the Connector? Crazy, but it was ok, we were so happy!)

Where were you, when the announcement was made?

 

The Atlanta Journal headline said it all…

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There were ticker-tape parades…

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SEPTEMBER 24, 1990 ATLANTA Former Mayor Andrew Young rides down Marietta Street in the Atlanta Olympic Day parade. Eric Williams/AJC Staff
SEPTEMBER 24, 1990 ATLANTA Former Mayor Andrew Young rides down Marietta Street in the Atlanta Olympic Day parade. Eric Williams/AJC Staff

 

Then, six long years of anticipation.

In those years, the Georgia Dome, SunTrust Plaza, Bank of America (topping out at a whopping 1023 ft– the tallest outside of New York and Chicago), the GLG Grand/Four Seasons, Westin Buckhead, Georgian Terrace Hotel Tower, Fernbank Museum of Natural History (the first Natural History Museum in the 20th century), and Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University, and many other buildings and urban design projects were completed in the six years before the Olympics.

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Fernbank Museum of Natural History, designed by Graham Gund, Architects (Cambridge, MA)
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Michael C Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University, designed by Michael Graves

Oh yes, and all of the Olympic venues which were renovated or built specifically for the Games.

ium, foreground, Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium, and downtown Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Olympic Stadium and Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
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Olympic Stadium from the north, with the Cauldron on the far left.
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Olympic Tennis Center
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Olympic Velodrome with Stone Mountain view
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Olympic Swimming & Diving Pavilion at Georgia Tech
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The residential Olympic Village at Georgia Tech

Some think that Atlanta should have built more outstanding architectural icons– structures which had become de rigueur for the Games.

There is a reason for that. The Atlanta Games and Venues were paid for only by corporate sponsorships and ticket sales. The U.S. Government funded all security. About $500 Million of taxpayer bonds upgraded streetscaping, roads, built Centennial Olympic Park, an expansion of the airport, public transportation improvements, and public housing projects– all of which were sorely needed regardless of the Games.

This was a feat of genius. Too many cities and governments have overspent and are left with Olympic white elephants.

Of course, I would have loved some architectural marvels, but most Atlantans were happy enough with the highly functional venues, along with all of the beautiful buildings which had been built in the decade prior.

The City of Atlanta had been rebuilding city sidewalks and replacing the old warped creosote pine tree light and electric poles with the new “Atlanta-style” street lamps. Trees Atlanta had planted thousands of oak trees along the city streets.

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The last major venue to be conceived, and undoubtedly the most successful, was Centennial Olympic Park.

Almost an afterthought, a group of Atlanta’s young involved businessmen, and, as luck would have it– I was present too, as a young Atlanta architect working for John Portman– were having lunch at the 7oth floor revolving restaurant of the Westin Peachtree Plaza to enjoy overlooking the improvements underway. But while looking over the abandoned warehouses between the Peachtree Center hotel district and the Georgia World Congress Center, it was realized– that the area needed to be replaced with a central meeting area… a great park and plaza.

Thus, Centennial Park was born.

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The defunct area that was to become Centennial Olympic Park included the old 1930’s film studios which had become Club Rio. They were razed, and this loss was well worth it. (photo courtesy: Curbed Atlanta)
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The park motif was a memorial quilt responsive to our southern roots. The Olympic Rings interactive fountain is its centerpiece.

Many other cultural urban design projects were completed including:

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“World Events” sculpture and Woodruff Arts Center renovation
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The Carnegie Education Pavilion was built from Georgia marble parts of the old Carnegie Library, designed by late Atlanta architect Henry Jova.
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World Athletes Monument (or The Prince Charles Monument) at Pershing Point, was a gift from  HRH The Prince of Wales.
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Flair Across America sculpture by Richard MacDonald
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Commemorative sculpture of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympic Games in 1896.
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Tribute sculpture by P. Greer, with America’s Mart beyond
1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta -- Campanile at night with olympic 5-ring symbol
The Kessler Campanile at Ga Tech at night with Olympic Rings symbol
The schooner America carries the Olympic flame up the Savannah River as the Olympic Caldron stands in the foreground. John Carrington/Savannah News-Press
Savannah’s Olympic Caldron where the yachting events were to take place         (photo by John Carrington/Savannah News-Press)

The Look of the Games was complete and the Cauldron was ready for its lighting.

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The Look of the Games
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Atlanta Olympic Cauldron
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1996 Torch relay

 

The Torch was carried from Olympia, Greece, traveled through across The States, then many towns all over Georgia, finally arriving in Atlanta.

 

 Atlanta was ready for the Olympics.

 

The spectacular Opening Ceremony of the XXVI Olympiad

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A beautiful sunset over Atlanta, as the Opening Ceremony began…
Caption: Sporting classic: The spectacular opening of the olympic Games in Atlanta included 5,500 performers and a shadow theatre of athletes re-enacting scenes from the ancient games in Greece, where the prize was a crown of olive branches cut with a golden-handled knife. The first modern Olympics were held in Athens in 1896. PIX BY CHRIS SMITH 19.07.96 THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 1996 OLYMPIC GAMES IN ATLANTA. Olympic Games; Atlanta 1996.
The spectacular opening of the olympic Games in Atlanta included 5,500 performers and a shadow theatre of athletes re-enacting scenes from the ancient games in Greece, where the prize was a crown of olive branches cut with a golden-handled knife.  PIX BY CHRIS SMITH 19.07.96
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The Parade of Nations
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The Canadian Athletes during the Parade of Nations
The spectacular opening ceremony of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta,Georgia USA.
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra plays and Choirs sing during the Atlanta Spirit performance.
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A spectacular of music, lighting, color and costumes.

19 Aug 1996: A general view of the festivities going on during the Opening Ceremony of the 1996 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Summertime in the South butterflies

Famed composer John Williams created the official overture for the 1996 Olympics, “Summon the Heroes”, featuring the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The Parade of Nations featured more than 10,000 athletes from 197 nations.

Celine Dion belted out “The Power of the Dream”, accompanied on the piano by David Foster, the composer of the song– with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Morehouse/ Spellman/ ASO Centennial Choir.

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Seven-time Grammy Award winner and Atlantan Gladys Knight’s performance of Georgia’s Ray Charles’ “Georgia on my Mind” was a show-stopper.

But the most surprising and emotional event was greatest heavyweight boxer of the 20th century, Mohammed Ali, lighting the flame of the Olympic Cauldron, while his body shook with Parkinsons’ Disease.

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A photographer shoots as Muhammad Ali uses the Olympic torch to ignite the Olympic flame as Janet Evans, right, watches during the opening ceremony of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Friday, July 19, 1996. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

4 Aug 1996: The Olympic flag flies in fromt of the Olympic Flame during the Closing Ceremony of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello /Allsport
Mandatory Credit: Al Bello /Allsport

Meanwhile, at Centennial Olympic Park, crowds were gathering to get a taste of the Olympic Days to come. Swatch had built a modernist pavilion, and AT&T had constructed an elaborate stage for live performances, day and night.

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Fountain of Rings in the Centennial Olympic Park, during the 1996 Olympics closing ceremony, Atlanta, Georgia, August 4, 1996. Photo by Justin Williams
Fountain of Rings in the Centennial Olympic Park, during the 1996 Olympics, Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Justin Williams

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The Games

  • From July 19 to August 4, 1996, a record 197 nations took part in the Games, comprising 10,318 athletes.
  • Atlanta became the 5th American city to host the Olympic Games; only the 3rd to hold a Summer Olympic Games.
  • It will remain the last time the United States has hosted the Summer Olympics until at least 2024.
  • 24 countries made their Olympic debut, including 11 ex-Soviet countries that competed as part of the Unified Team in 1992. Russia competed independently for the first time since 1912.
  • 271 total events in 26 sports. 5 events were new for the Atlanta Games: Softball, beach volleyball, mountain biking, women’s soccer/football and lightweight rowing.
  • Provided a world stage for a far more diverse collection of athletes than any in history.

 

Gymnastics: 1996 Summer Olympics: USA Kerri Strug in action during Women's Balance Beam Compulsories at Georgia Dome. Atlanta, GA 7/21/1996 CREDIT: Manny Millan (Photo by Manny Millan /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: X55063 TK3 R1 F11 )
1996 Gymnastics: USA Kerri Strug. CREDIT: Manny Millan (Photo by Manny Millan /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)
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Andre Agassi
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Alex Zulle
Atlanta Olympics 1996 - Lake Lanier, USA, Final Men's four foreground GBR M4- left Tim Foster, Greg Searle, Jonny Searle and Rupert Obholzer, othe crews FRA Midddle ROM background, All Rights Reserved - Peter Spurrier/Intersport Images, Mobile 44 (0) 973 819 551 email images@intersport-images.com
Atlanta Olympics 1996 – Lake Lanier, USA, Final Men’s Rowing       All Rights Reserved – Peter Spurrier/Intersport Images,

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Carl Lewis
France’s Marie-Jose Perec
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Kurt Angle, wrestler
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the extraordinary Michael Johnson
Michael Johnson wins gold makes records during Atlanta 1996
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Canoe slalom on the Ocoee River, north Georgia mountains.

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Men’s gymnastics at the Georgia Dome

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The Georgia World Congress Center
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Men’s swimming at the new Olympic Swimming/Diving Center at Ga Tech
Members of the United States women's gymnastics team wave to the crowd after being awarded their gold medals in the team competition at the Centennial Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta on Tuesday, July 23, 1996. From left are Amanda Borden, Dominique Dawes, Amy Chow, Jaycie Phelps, Dominique Moceanu, Kerri Strug, and Shannon MIller. (AP Photo/John Gaps III)
United States women’s gymnastics team awarded their gold medals in the team competition at the Centennial Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta on Tuesday, July 23, 1996. From left are Amanda Borden, Dominique Dawes, Amy Chow, Jaycie Phelps, Dominique Moceanu, Kerri Strug, and Shannon MIller. (AP Photo/John Gaps III)
07/20/96 - Jair Lynch, of Stanford, Calif. performs on the high bar during the men's gymnastics team compulsories in Atlanta Saturday, July 20, 1996. (AP Photo/Susan Ragan)
07/20/96 – Jair Lynch, of Stanford, Calif. performs on the high bar during the men’s gymnastics team compulsories in Atlanta Saturday, July 20, 1996. (AP Photo/Susan Ragan)

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26 Jul 1996: Pyrros Dimas of Greece wins gold in the 83kg weightlifting at the Georgia World Congress Centre at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport
26 Jul 1996: Pyrros Dimas of Greece wins gold in the 83kg weightlifting at the Georgia World Congress Centre at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport
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Josh Davis
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sprint canoeist Gavin Maxwell competing for Canada in Atlanta Olympics 1996

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Some of the Outstanding Athletic Results

  • The USA took home the most medals. 44 Gold, 32 Silver, 25 Bronze, for a total of 101 medals. Followed by: Russia, Germany, China, France, Italy, Australia, Cuba, Ukraine, and South Korea in 10th place by number of medals won.
  • Kerri Strug vaulted with an injured ankle, landing on one foot, winning the United States women’s gymnastics team its first gold medal. Shannon Miller won the gold medal on the balance beam, the first time an American gymnast had won an individual gold medal.
  • Amy Van Dyken won four gold medals in the Olympic swimming pool, the first American woman to win four titles in a single Olympiad.
  • Carl Lewis won his 4th long jump gold medal at the age of 35.
  • Andre Agassi won a gold medal in tennis, which would eventually make him the first man and second singles player overall (after his wife, Steffi Graf) to win the career Golden Slam, which consists of an Olympic gold medal and victories in the singles tournaments held at professional tennis’ four major events (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open).
  • The US men’s and women’s swimming teams were among the top in numbers of medals won: Amy Van Dyken won 4 gold medals. Gary Hall, Jr. won 2 gold and 2 silver. Angel Martino won 2 gold and 2 bronze. Jenny Thompson won 3 gold medals. Josh Davis won 3 gold medals. Amanda Beard won 1 gold, 2 silver. And Whitney Hedgepeth won 1 gold and 2 silver.
  • In Diving, Mark Lenzi and Mary Ellen Clark won a bronze medal each.
  • The US Synchronized swimming team won the gold medal.
  • The US Baseball team won a bronze medal.
  • Both Men’s and Women’s American Basketball teams won gold medals
  • US Women’s Football team won the gold.
  • US Women’s Softball team won the gold.
  • A record 79 nations won medals (13 more than in Barcelona), with a record 53 taking at least one gold.

World Records Set:

  • Donovan Bailey of Canada won the Track & Field men’s 100 m, setting a new world record of 9.84 seconds at that time.
  • Michael Johnson won gold in both the 200 m and 400 m, setting a new world record of 19.32 seconds in the 200 m.
  • In Cycling, Andres Collinelli (Italy) set a new world record in the Men’s individual pursuit.

National Firsts:

  • Deon Hemmings became the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal for Jamaica and the West Indies.
  • Lee Lai Shan won a gold medal in sailing, the only Olympic medal that Hong Kong ever won as a British colony (1852–1997).
  • The US women’s soccer team won the gold medal in the first ever women’s soccer event.
  • For the first time, Olympic medals were won by athletes from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burundi, Ecuador, Georgia, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Mozambique, Slovakia, Tonga, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
  • Atlanta was the first Olympics ever that not a single nation swept all three medals in a single event.
  • Josia Thugwane, marathon runner, was the first black South African in Olympic history to win a gold medal.
  • Boxer Paea Wolfgramm won a silver medal for Tonga, the first medal for the country– ever.
  • Burundi managed to send its first delegation to the Games despite the terrible conflict between the Hutus and Tutsis raging back home
  • Nigeria beat Argentina, becoming the first African nation to win any international soccer competition.

______________________________________________________

 

I had, just a half hour ago, enjoyably walked through Olympic Park as, sadly, along with the great events, came a terrifying and sad one.

Eight days after the Opening of the Games, the Olympic Park bombing killed spectator Alice Hawthorne, wounded 111 others, and caused the death of Melih Uzunyol by heart attack. Atlanta, the nation, and the world, mourned.

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___________________________________________________

Respectfully, however, the Games must go on…

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Georgia’s Ray Charles was welcomed back with open arms.
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Thousands having fun along Capitol Avenue.
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The Tabernacle became the House of Blues, with a fabulous Jazz Brunch.
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MARTA experienced ridership like never before, but was prepared.

 

The Games of the XXVI Olympiad Closing Ceremony

After the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra opened the show, Boyz II Men sang an R&B version of “The Star Spangled Banner”. Then the Morehouse College Glee Club performed “Faster, Higher, Stronger”.

Then, Gloria Estefan, and the Morehouse Glee Club livened the crowd up with a great performance of the song “Reach”, one of the official songs of the Atlanta Olympic Games.

Before Samaranch declared the games as officially closed, 25 Grammy Award winner and iconic performance artist Stevie Wonder memorialized the victims of the Cenntennial Olympic Park bombing by singing John Lennon’s “Imagine”, which brought the “house” down.

Another highlight was 10-year-old Rachel McMullin singing Celine Dion’s “The Power of a Dream”, while 600 Atlanta children ranging from ages six though twelve joined in.

After Georgia native and country singer Trisha Yearwood sang “the Flame”, a capella, the Olympic flame was slowly extinguished.

But, Atlanta’s greatest party couldn’t end without more partying!

After a flamboyant New Orleans-style funeral with jazz music,

all of the athletes danced while Gloria Estefan, Sheila E., Faith Hill, B.B. King, Wynton Marsalis, Georgia’s Little Richard, the Pointer Sisters, Tito Puente, Buckwheat Zydeco, Trisha Yearwood and Stevie Wonder all sang a tribute to American Pop Music.

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The Olympic Cauldron with the State of Georgia Capitol beyond.
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Atlanta skyline during the Closing Ceremony August 4, 1996
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Although they are ubiquitous now, these air-supported attention-getters were first developed for the night’s show.
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Gloria Estefan belts out, “Reach”
Fireworks at the 1996 Olympics closing ceremony, Atlanta, Georgia, August 4, 1996. Photo by John Spink/jspink@ajc.com
Fireworks at the 1996 Olympics closing ceremony, Atlanta, Georgia, August 4, 1996. Photo by John Spink/jspink@ajc.com

Juan Antonio Samaranch, the IOC president said farewell,

“Today, the dream has come true for Atlanta, which will be forever an Olympic city. It has come true for an absolute record number of athletes and spectators, who have enjoyed the fabulous competitions.”

 

 

The Atlanta Games were over and the years-long hangover made everything seem quite boring after our Olympics.

Some of the media gave Atlanta less-than-fabulous reviews. Some complained about transportation, but thousands of us had no problems whatsoever. In fact, the highways and streets were free-flowing as so many people took off work to stay home, or went out-of-town.

Perhaps we used too many temporary structures, but we didn’t have the government money to waste, that Barcelona, Beijing, London, and Sochi did.

 

That was OK. We had already proved ourselves. 

Atlanta had hosted the Centennial Games of the XXVI Olympiad.

It was spectacular. Thousands of people loved their experiences. I know I did.

And the whole world got to know some things about Atlanta. It would never be unknown again.

___________________________________________ 

EPILOGUE:

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NBC OLYMPIC OPENERS

After the Games: Olympic Venues

As planned, the Olympic Stadium was transformed into Turner Field for the Braves and was given as a gift to the City of Atlanta by Ted Turner. Within two years from now, construction will begin transforming Olympic Stadium/Turner Field into a college football stadium for Georgia State University with a huge redevelopment of the entire area surrounding.

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Olympic Stadium (bottom) with full redevelopment of the areas surrounding.

 

The Velodrome at Stone Mountain was dismantled and sold to another city.

The Georgia Dome has been used effectively for twenty years, but it will be razed in 2018. We are now building that iconic stadium, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which will be used by the Falcons and Atlanta United FC, and for many other local, national, and global events. The new Stadium probably would not have been built without the overwhelming success of the Atlanta Olympics. Most importantly, today, sponsors have the money to strengthen the previously crime-ridden low-income neighborhoods of Vine City and English Avenue, adjacent to the new stadium.

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Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Centennial Olympic Park
Centennial Olympic Park
$46M update of very successful Centennial Olympic Park
$46M update of very successful Centennial Olympic Park will begin next year.

Centennial Olympic Park has turned out to be Atlanta’s jewel and city center, used by locals and tourists alike, with year-round events.

It was expanded just after the Olympics, as planned. And will be expanded again and updated starting next year. It has become a landmark and is now home to the Georgia Aquarium, one of the world’s largest and most successful. Also, the park is home to  Atlanta Sky Ferris Wheel, the interactive World of Coca-Cola and College Football Hall of Fame museums, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, which is not only a beautiful, thought-provoking museum, but works to educate and create greater human rights globally.

The Swimming and Diving Pavilion at Georgia Tech was enclosed and expanded to become one of the premier collegiate swimming natatoriums and recreational centers in the country, and just hosted the Atlanta Classic Swim Meet with over 20 Olympic swimmers from colleges all over the US, preparing for the Rio Olympics this summer.

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This was the Olympic Swimming and Diving Pavilion, but is much upgraded now for Georgia Tech
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This pool with slide, lazy river, and whirlpool was added next to the Olympic Pavilion with the rest of the stunning Campus Recreation Center at TECH

The Olympic Village residential towers were converted to college dorms serving Georgia State and Georgia Tech students well. The development has been fitted with a striking modernist addition for campus dining.

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After the Games: the City’s Built Environment

Developers and investors in the US and from all over the world took note of Atlanta’s phenomenal potential, as viewed during the Games. Hong Kong investors have a sweet spot, specifically for Downtown Atlanta. Germany, China and Japan are well-invested in Atlanta.

Many Americans, from all over the country have moved to Atlanta in the years after the Games. Thanks, Olympus!

Atlanta experienced another major building boom in the years from 2000-2009, despite the World Trade Center disaster.

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High Museum of Art addition by Renzo Piano
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2005 Atlantic Station mega-development, West Midtown Atlanta
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Remember all of those empty blocks in Midtown? They are almost gone!

Aerial Views of Atlanta from 1985-2016

1990, City of Atlanta’s population less than 400,000– with the metro area just below 3 million

2016, City of Atlanta’s population less than 500,000– with the metro area just below 6 million

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1985 Atlanta skyline
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2016 Downtown & Midtown Skyline
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2016 Buckhead Skyline

The 2008 real estate bust hit Atlanta very hard, but Atlanta has diversified more than ever.

Starting in 2014, Atlanta is “major boom city” yet again…

 

You can read my other blog posts for the latest Atlanta building boom, and, it is exciting!

You’ve heard and read about them– the Atlanta BeltLine, the Atlanta Streetcar, Ponce City Market and Food Hall, Krog Street Market, Shops at Buckhead Atlanta, the Porsche Experience Center at Atlanta Aerotropolis, bursting film studios, Atlanta tech, Historic Building reuse…

 

 

 

Atlanta Neighborhoods: WESTSIDE DESIGN DISTRICT

Call it West Midtown, the Marietta Street Artery, or the Westside Design District— this hip, eclectic and fast-growing area of Atlanta has a lot to offer.

From industrial lofts to sleek minimalist condominiums, contemporary art museums to groovy arts centers, trendy shops to high design showrooms, and barbecue to Bacchanalia, the area up Marietta St. from Downtown or west on 10th and 14th Streets from Midtown has got it all.

This is a neighborhood with real authenticity.

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The Huff House was likely the first structure in the area, at 70 Huff Road, just off Marietta Street, not far from Howell RR Station. It was built in 1855 over the foundation of their small homestead from about 1830.
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1880’s Industrial buildings were part of Edward Van Winkles cotton-related machinery manufacturing, now The Goat Farm Arts Center.
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The Goat Farm Arts Center
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The area built up just after the Civil War with a lot of mills and industry, not unlike this old Carriage Works, now offices.
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1885 Randall Bros. sold coal
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Randall Brothers (lumber, woodwork, windows) is still here on North Avenue at Marietta St. This picture was from the 1930’s-40’s.
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Randall Bros. today.

 

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Atlanta Waterworks Hemphill Avenue Station 1892
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Atlanta Waterworks Reservoirs are one of the highest points in the city.
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Marietta Street 1954
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One of the nation’s most-acclaimed restaurants, Bacchanalia was an urban pioneer of the Westside.

 

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White Provision was a game changer when it was adapted to upscale retail
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Room & Board at White Provision District
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Pedestrian bridge over high-use railroad tracks at the White Provision District
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Addition to the White Provision shows Atlanta skyline view

 

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White Provision District Residences
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Warehouse conversion
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Condos at 1100 Howell Mill Rd
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TopGolf driving range and entertainment center is nearby
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TopGolf

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The Brickworks
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DeFoors Industrial redevelopment by Smith Dalia Architects
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AMLI West Midtown on Huff Rd
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Anthropologie Westside Urban Market
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Apartments on Northside Dr
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Aspire Waterworks
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The Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center
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New Design Within Reach showroom
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Barcelona Restaurant
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Elan Westside
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Gables West
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Beautiful new development on Howell Mill Rd
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The other side of the same building proposed.
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Across the street, will be this cool office Building called Star Metals.

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Huff Heights
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Westside Ironworks transformation
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Kolo Retail, showrooms, design offices
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M West townhouses
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Bar Marcel
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The Brady
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The view from the Brady
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Apartments on Odessa Dr
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Terminal West

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The venue for Red Bull Curates Canvas Cooler at The Westside Cultural Arts Center in Atlanta, GA, USA on 14 October 2013.
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Upper Westside by Smith Dalia Architects
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935 M on Marietta St
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1016 Lofts at Howell Mill

Tilford Sunrise by AJ Brustein

NEW DESIGN VIDEO: 50 YEARS of COLONY SQUARE

The design of the new open-air

Colony Square has finally been released.

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Mark Toro, North American Managing Partner, said

“On July 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of Colony Square’s groundbreaking, we will celebrate the grand opening of the reimagined Colony Square. We will engage with the city, with the street and with pedestrians, and it will fundamentally change the experience of living and working in Midtown Atlanta.”

New York-based architects Beyer Blinder Belle with  Atlanta’s Lord Aeck Sargent are the architects.

Having enjoyed living here in the mid 80’s-early 90’s, I am thrilled to present to you… the preliminary design fly-through of the Reimagined Colony Square:

Colony Square History:

Between 1969 and 1975, Colony Square became the first mixed-use development in the southeast– providing condos, a Fairmont Hotel, retail mall, and two office towers. It was designed by Jova/Daniels/Busbee in the modernist style. The design of the condominiums has a direct relationship to designs by architectural giant LeCorbusier– especially Unité d’habitation in Marseille, France.

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LeCorbusier’s Unité d’habitation, Marseille

 

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Condos overlook the mall area and the W Hotel

 

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An earlier view of the Food Court, which was originally an ice skating rink.

 

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Today, as it awaits the construction.

 

Courtyard at Colony Square, midtown, Atlanta.
Originally designed to be closed off from the street, over the years it was opened up more and more.
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The first office building built, looking south toward Downtown Atlanta. Note that Midtown is mostly only small shops and homes.
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Looking north up Peachtree after Colony Square opened, early 1980’s.

10th to 14th Street Midtown in the 1960’s -70’s:

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These cool hippies were standing at 14th and Peachtree, across from the corner which would become Colony Square.
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Midtown Playhouse at 11th and Peachtree Streets, with Colony Square in the distance.
Peachtree and 10th Street in midtown Atlanta. Many runaways who come to Altanta head for "The Strip at Peachtree and 10th Streets. November 11, 1978 (Louie Favorite / AJC staff)
10th Street Theatre in midtown Atlanta. Many runaways who come to Atlanta head for “The Strip at Peachtree and 10th Streets. November 11, 1978 (Louie Favorite / AJC staff)  After the hippies, this became a row of gay bars, restaurants and a community theatre.
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Read this interesting article about the different eras of this area.

 

Aug. 2, 1979 - Atlanta, Ga: Peachtree Street as it passes through Midtown.
The House of Eng was built to the front of the Crescent Ave Apts, known now as the Margaret Mitchell House.
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Margaret Mitchell called it The Dump, and would probably be horrified that it has become her memorial! This is the view from 10th St. The front was covered by retail buildings.
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The 10th to 14th St area of Midtown Atlanta today. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, by Robert Stern, is in the foreground as cranes build more skyscrapers in the distance.
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14th & Peachtree, with Colony Square on the left
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That looks like a future Apple Store to me!

 

 

IS ATLANTA ON THE VERGE OF A SUPERTALL? NEW HOTELS. ALSO, MARTA PLANS!

Atlanta Tower Now Planned to Reach 70 Stories.

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This is the site for the new building, with the Symphony Tower, center, an the Four Seasons Hotel, right.

The new building is expected to be over 900 feet– because many of the ceiling heights will be unusually tall.

If, it reaches 984 feet tall, it becomes classified as a Supertall, the latest rage in skyscrapers globally, especially in New York which is in a Supertall frenzy.

Atlanta only has one supertall at the present, the Bank of America Plaza at 1,023 ft. The Bank of America Plaza is the tallest building in the southern United States, and the tallest in any state capital in the United States. Actually, it is the tallest building outside New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Only those few cities have supertalls, in the US, though many are being built overseas.

It will also be the first 70 story tower in Atlanta since John Portman’s 1976 Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, which was, for many years, the tallest hotel in the world.

The building will be in Midtown Atlanta, on 14th St, behind Symphony Tower, and across the street from the Four Seasons Hotel. It is part of a trio of towers announced a few years ago, but now it is being designed by Perkins & Will, noted Atlanta architects. Part of the tower will be a very high end hotel, rumored to be a Park Hyatt or even a Waldorf-Astoria.  Much of the tower is highly likely to be luxury condominiums. According to sources, the retail component has been expanded to 90,000 sf to include a movie theater, live music venue and upscale bowling alley.

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Rendering of previous plans by Aquitectonica. The tallest tower is now planned to grow by 10 stories and the design will likely change with the new architects, Perkins & Will. The site is uphill from One Atlantic Center which is 50 stories and the 3rd tallest skyscraper in Atlanta at 820 ft, designed by Phillip Johnson, the “father of modern architecture”.

While we are on the Supertall subject– rumor has it, that an announcement for the tallest building in Buckhead is coming soon .

(Sorry, there is no more information available. Such a tease!)

Across the street, a dual-branded AC Marriott/Moxy Hotel is under construction next to the Four Seasons Hotel.

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Back at 14th Street and Peachtree, Dewberry has plans to add a 6 story addition to the 21 story Campanile tower and massive retail at its base.

The retail addition actually makes so much sense considering 10,000 luxury apartments are being built along with NCR global headquarters and many other technology-based businesses exploding now at Georgia Tech’s Technology Square, a few blocks south.

Already, midtown landmark Colony Square has announced plans to expand and renovate, removing it’s roof to become an open air urban shopping experience.

 

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The corner at 14th & Peachtree as Dewberry plans.
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Juniper at 13th St.
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A view along 14th Street.
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Site plan shows the tower located diagonally on the site allows plenty of room for the two level retail additions.

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Campanile with it’s 6-story addition, to become a 27-story tower.

Just a few hundred feet away two luxury high-rise apartment towers are under construction down 14th Street with a Whole Foods urban grocer.

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In related news, a new hotel has just been announced to be built next to, and just south of, the fabulous Fox Theatre.

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It will be 18 stories with 238 rooms and street level retail with a 2nd floor bar overlooking Peachtree Street. Noble is the developer, though no word has been released about the hotel’s branding. The review committee has recommended design revisions to make it relate better to its historic context.

 

midtown-hotel_1200xx3270-1839-0-75

 

 

Also, there is a proposed plan for a boutique hotel on Historic Baltimore Row, at the previous Rosser Intl Architects & Engineers Building.

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Baltimore Row is the last remaining historic row houses in Atlanta. Next door will be the boutique hotel in a later old building.

 

Recently, the design for the adaptive reuse of Excelsior Mill (previously Masquerade) on North Avenue, next to Ponce City Market was released, and looks hip and spot on!

Masquerade_20Render_0

 

Finally, for this blog entry, the latest and greatest MARTA Plans have been released.

This is what every Atlantan has been waiting for.

Infill stations on the existing MARTA heavy rail line that will add convenience, riders, and transit-oriented districts. Rehabilitation of MARTA stations that need more space, conveniences, or aesthetic improvements.

MARTA will integrate the Atlanta BeltLine and the Atlanta Streetcar to create a cohesive transit system in and around the City of Atlanta. Options for light rail include, portions or all of the BeltLine loop, Crosstown Midtown Line along North Ave, the Crosstown Inner loop which extends the existing streetcar east and west to the BeltLine. Cliffton Corridor would only be built if DeKalb County comes to the table. There are two ideas for Bus Rapid Transit: One runs north-south along Northside Dr., the other is the I-20 East BRT.  Also, extending the heavy rail west to the Perimeter.

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North Ave will likely get a dedicated lane light rail transit line from Historic Old 4th Ward Park to the new Westside Quarry Park.

 

See the maps below, the top map shows rail and bus rapid transit, lower map shows improved bus services. There will certainly be much more information to come, but this will be the game changer for our incredible city!

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2016 MARTA Rail Map showing new infill stations, light rail transit, bus rapid transit, and extended heavy rail transit.
bus_map
Expanded Bus Transit Services

FOR NOW, CIAO!!!

Beverly Hills Proposes Robot Cars As Public Transport

Should Downtown, Midtown, & Buckhead Do This? After all, We are Mercedes-Benz city!

From LAist: by Matt Tinoco

mercedesbenzselfdriving

Coming soon to Beverly Hills, Mercedes Benz’s self-driving car.

Though not widely known for its wholehearted embrace of progress, the fine city of Beverly Hills has decided to be one of the first (the first?) cities to officially endorse pursuing a public transportation model based on autonomous vehicles.

On April 5, the Beverly Hills City Council approved council motion D-7, which has the subject line “resolution of the council of the City of Beverly Hills declaring the city’s support for the development of an Autonomous Vehicle Program.”

The motion’s proposal speaks for itself: “As initially envisioned, the program would include a fleet of City-owned AVs that would transport members of the public via these AVs in an attempt to reduce traffic and improve parking.”

This is big. For those of us who make a study of transportation, the prospect of self-driving cars raises several tantalizing questions. One of these is whether or not computer-controlled vehicles could totally upend what’s usually termed broadly the “car-ownership model.”

Imagine a future where you get around not by driving yourself in a car that you own, but by paging an autonomous vehicle through an app on your smartphone—not unlike how we call Uber or Lyft drivers—and then being whisked away to your destination.

Beverly Hills is, near as I can tell, the first city to really grapple with this concept in policy. Officially the city’s proposal views AV-Public-Transit as a first-mile, last-mile solution, helping people bridge the gap between where mass transit takes them and where they actually need to go.

Finally acknowledging that the Purple Line Subway will one-day run beneath the city, Beverly Hills’ AV proposal is intended to develop a system that will enable its residents and workers to use the subway, even if they don’t live or work right next to it. Though the Purple Line subway will eventually pass beneath the fair city, little to no additional parking is going to be built to supplement it.

People still have to get to the subway, however, and instead of proposing silly options like bike lanes or bus shuttles, Beverly Hills has decided to charge ahead into a future where the machines fix all of our problems for us.

Obviously there’s an immense amount that has to be done for this to happen. Beverly Hills’ motion explains that it will take years before an AV-transit system is developed and usable.

But at the same time, the motion calls on the city to pursue “education on the current state of the regulatory environment for AVs, exploration of grant opportunities for the program, outreach to AV manufacturers for a potential partnership, and the hosting of an AV-focused forum in Beverly Hills.”

The future is now.

(h/t to Government Fleet)

ATLANTA’S BUCKHEAD MEGA-MAKEOVER

Buckhead has been called the Beverly Hills of the East.

Well, its been heading in that direction for over 100 years. A gourmet dining and designer shopping mecca for many decades, its hotels include Mandarin Oriental, InterContinental, St. Regis, Ritz-Carlton, Grand Hyatt, JWMarriott, and W Hotels. An AC Hotel is under construction. But, the Four Seasons is in Midtown Atlanta.

Well, take a look at these new projects, which will go a long way to ensuring that title (although I must admit Miami may have it for now!)

Let’s take a ride up Peachtree.

But, before we leave Midtown, I want to show you the just released design for 17th & Peachtree mixed-use. At 45 stories, it will be one of the tallest in the southeast with a hotel, residences, offices, and street level retail. Looks like a beautiful project to me.

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11 story and 45 story mixed-use at 17th St in Midtown Atlanta
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Glassy, swanky street level retail at Peachtree & 17th
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Buckhead skyline at sunset: From top left to top right, South Buckhead, Buckhead Village, and Central Buckhead skyline– as viewed from Midtown Atlanta with the Savannah College of Art & Design campus at the center.

South Buckhead

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This map shows Peachtree going north from Midtown Atlanta into South Buckhead. The red sites are under construction or future construction. The blue sites have been recently completed.

 

 

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1781 Peachtree is a good-looking mixed use retail/residential in the Brookwood neighborhood.

Piedmont Hospital

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Piedmont Hospital recently announced their $500 million new tower to be constructed at Collier Road & Peachtree. It will be the Marcus Heart & Vascular Center as well as the new main entrance to the 112 year old hospital. The addition will bring the highly acclaimed hospital to over 600 beds served by 1000 doctors and 4000 healthcare professionals.

 

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Residential tower to be constructed at Peachtree Battle neighborhood.

Emerson

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Emerson, looking south to Atlanta
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The stunning Emerson interiors.

 

The Arthur Blank Family Foundation
The Arthur Blank Family Foundation

 

Buckhead Village

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Red sites are current or future construction. Blue sites were completed recently.

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The new retail and office building going up in Garden Hills/ Peachtree Heights, where the much-loved Garden Hills Art Cinema was for many years before a fire destroyed it.

 

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Atlanta International School

 

Preserve-Peachtree
Preserve Properties plan to build this 20 story highrise luxury apartment building by Reece Vanderbilt, where the Grand China Restaurant once was. Grand China has moved a few block south into an old home on Peachtree (one of the few that survive).

 

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At the corner of Pharr Road at Peachtree, the Modera Buckhead will rise.

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Venerable Atlanta Fish Market lies between these two new developments.

 

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Pollack Shores is building this apartment building on Pharr Rd.

 

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The deconstructivist design of the Buckhead Branch / Atlanta Library System, is both loved and hated for its edgy architecture, but is safe for now.

 

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475 Buckhead Ave Apartments at Pharr Road.

 

Allure on Pharr
Already completed is the Allure on Pharr.

 

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359 E Paces Medical Offices in Buckhead Village

 

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371 E Paces offices is planned to be twin towers.

 

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309 E Paces Ferry is a striking adaptive reuse of a 1950’s office building, previously Aaron Rents headquarters.

 

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Buckhead Atlanta Phase II offices

 

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An expansion and renovation of the Billboard Building at the busy intersection of Peachtree, Paces Ferry, and Bolling Roads.

 

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Highly acclaimed Himitsu Buckhead cocktail lounge is here, although getting in is not easy.

Recent Views of Shops Buckhead Atlanta

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Tom Ford on Peachtree
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Shops Buckhead Atlanta
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Spring flowers at the Shops
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Le Bilboquet Patio (Heidi Geldhauser photo)
La Perla Buckhead Atlanta Boutique Grand Opening Party with Town & Country Magazine
La Perla Buckhead Atlanta Boutique Grand Opening Party with Town & Country Magazine

 

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John Portman sculpture and fountain to be installed at newly reconstructed Loudermilk Park

 

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Preliminary design of a new retail/office building for Peachtree & E Paces at Loudermilk Park

 

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Under construction already are the Hanover Apartments, next to the old Buckhead Theatre on Loudermilk Park.

 

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Mixed-use Building at much-loved Henri’s Bakery.

Atlanta History Center

The Atlanta History Center covers 33 acres and was founded in 1926. It encompasses 3 house museums, 6 permanent exhibitions ranging from architecture, the Civil War, to the 1996 Olympiad, temporary exhibitions, historic gardens, and the Kenan Research Center.

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A rendering of the new building for Atlanta’s Cyclorama painting, relocated from Grant Park, downtown, coming next year.

 

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The Swan House was a private residence but is part of Atlanta History Center. It has been used as the setting for several movies including two Hunger Games films.

 

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Highrise residential proposed for Peachtree at Shadowlawn by Reece Vanderbilt Architects

Central Buckhead

The center of Buckhead is already nearly covered with highrise office and residential buildings and two major upscale malls. Still, developers are squeezing in more skyscrapers, restaurants, and mid-rise residential wherever they can. The dramatic new centerpiece of the area will be Central Buckhead Park, to be built over the GA-400 highway. The area is working hard to make the transformation to being pedestrian-friendly.

Central Buckhead

 

 

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The central Buckhead skyline above Atlanta forest cover.

 

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A view up Peachtree Boulevard

 

Disco Kroger redevelopment

No one knows the current shopping center as Piedmont Peachtree Crossing– just Disco Kroger!

In 1980, Peter Gatien opened The Limelight club at the former Harlequin Dinner Theatre, next to a Kroger supermarket. The successful cavernous club featured live animals beneath the dance floor– tigers, sharks, I understand, but, by the time I danced there, it was a uplighted color-blocked dance floor a la Saturday Night Fever.

International, New York, and Hollywood celebrities showed up regularly, so Gatien went on to open Limelight in Manhattan, Chicago and London. Today, the party is just in our minds, but this Kroger retains the Disco Kroger name.

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Limelight Atlanta. The enormous speakers all around were stages to dance, in addition to the main dance floor and the stage itself.

The mixed-use development by Equity One is quite the stunning design– as if the designer could feel the Euro-fabulousness of one night (or many) at Limelight.

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The mixed use development at Disco Kroger
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The mixed use development at Disco Kroger
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This will be the new Disco Kroger.
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The mixed use development at Disco Kroger

 

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New South City Kitchen restaurant on Peachtree Boulevard.

 

Central Buckhead Park

This park is planned to cap the GA-400 highway which splits Buckhead down the middle currently and will go a long way into remaking the area into a walkable environment and a memorable place.

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The preliminary design is strikingly modern.

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A sleek skyscraper planned for next to the new park.

 

One Alliance Center office tower under construction.
Alliance Center office tower under construction.

 

Cyan on Peachtree, with the Mandarin Oriental next door.
Cyan on Peachtree, where Dante’s Down the Hatch’s alligators once lived, with the Mandarin Oriental next door.

 

Phipps Plaza Makeover

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Phipps Plaza finally addresses Peachtree Street after 50 years!
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Almost completed

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1000 Park Ave has been permitted for construction by Reece Vanderbilt Architects

 

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Behind Lenox Square

 

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A new roundabout will improve traffic at Phipps Blvd and Wieuca Rd.  What anyone plans to do about the rest of Buckhead’s traffic is anyone’s guess. Buckhead has just 3 MARTA heavy rail stations and leaders have, thus far, refused the Atlanta Streetcar, except where the BeltLine passes through south Buckhead.

 

 

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A new park has been built a few blocks south of Peachtree and east of Lenox Rd, called simply City Park.
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City Park has several water features.
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AMLI City Place (photo by Micheal Kahn, CURBED Atlanta)

 

Vanquish Lounge
Vanquish Lounge

Buckhead, Fabulous!

Greatest Female Architect Dead at 65

Zaha Hadid was likely the most successful woman architect of all time.

The Bagdad, Iraq-born British citizen died today from heart failure. Only 65, she had already won the Pritzker Prize, two Stirling Prizes, the RIBA Medal– and designed / built buildings all over the world.

Her work was not loved by everyone, but the striking buildings can never go unnoticed.

They are bold, futuristic, with dramatic sinuous or angular lines, and many of them were very beautiful– not to mention engineering masterworks.

Twenty of her Projects speak for themselves, below:

Bejing
Beijing, China
Cairo
Cairo, Egypt
Cambodia
Cambodia
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Under construction now, in Miami
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A performing arts center in Abu Dhabi
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Her winning proposal for a Metro Station in Saudi Arabia
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Train station in Innsbruck, Austria– I absolutely LOVE this.
Zaha-Hadid-Mariners-Cove-Australia-2
Residential towers on the Gold Coast, Australia
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Maxxi Museum, Rome
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Spanish Winery
Vienna Univer
Business School at Vienna University
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Residential on the HighLine, New York
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Invesco Building, UK… love this one, too.
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Sky SOHO, Shanghai, China
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On Copa Cabana Beach, Brasil
Collins Park Garage by Zaha Hadid 02
Unbuilt Garage on Collins, Miami
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City of Dreams Hotel, Macau
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One of her best— Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan
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An earlier design for the 2008 London Olympics Aquatics Centre
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One of her earlier works in Germany
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Zaha Hadid in her London home
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Thanks for your work, Zaha Hadid

The Beautiful Homes of Atlanta

Atlanta has every style of home that you can imagine, from the most basic to the most ostentatious. Here are some of my favorites, from all over the metro:

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SONY DSC

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SONY DSC

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National Register of Historic Places, 1109 W. Peachtree St. Atlanta GA. Dr. Marion Luther Brittain, Sr., House. Photo taken by author and offered as public domain.
National Register of Historic Places, 1109 W. Peachtree St. Atlanta GA. Dr. Marion Luther Brittain, Sr., House. Photo taken by author and offered as public domain.

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Exterior Front.
Exterior Front.

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Exterior Front.
Exterior Front.

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Alexandria Townhouse community: traditional-style homes located in Atlanta's upscale Buckhead-Lenox neighborhood / photo by Jennifer Sherrouse
Alexandria Townhouse community: traditional-style homes located in Atlanta’s upscale Buckhead-Lenox neighborhood / photo by Jennifer Sherrouse

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

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Park at East Paces townhouses (builder, Monte Hewett Homes) / brownstones in Buckhead near Lenox Square; photo by Jennifer Sherrouse
Park at East Paces townhouses (builder, Monte Hewett Homes) / brownstones in Buckhead near Lenox Square; photo by Jennifer Sherrouse

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2025 peachtree Barrington_Hall_North

 

 

 

Great Times Ahead for South Downtown Atlanta

All over Downtown Atlanta, Good News is Happening.

Recently, a developer announced renovations of the historic M. C. Kiser shoe manufacturing building for market-rate apartments at Trinity and Pryor Streets, south of Five Points.

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Kiser Building

Just a few weeks before, Hilton announced they will turn the historic Candler (Coca-Cola) office Building into a Curio Collection Boutique Hotel.

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Candler Building
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Candler Lobby of finely carved Georgia marble.

 

The Hotel Indigo has already opened their swanky office-turned-hotel at Peachtree Center, with world-famous architect/artist/developer John Portman re-entering the upscale restaurant business after more than four decades.

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Hotel Indigo at Peachtree Center

Atlanta’s oldest skyscraper, the Flatiron Building is now a Microsoft Innovation Center and Tech Hub, complete with a Women’s Entrepreneur Initiative.

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Underground Atlanta is planned to rise again with the help of high-rise skyscraper living;

while Post apartments are turning two city blocks of parking lots in upper Downtown into mid-rise living over street-level retail.

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Post Centennial Olympic Park
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Post’s new neighborhood under construction

 

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New Switchyards high tech software incubator and co-working club.
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The old Atlantan Hotel has been restored into a Holiday Inn Express.

 

And, of course, just a few blocks to the West, Atlanta is building the new state-of-the-art-of-architecture Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the NFL Atlanta Falcons and the new Atlanta United FC. Next door will be a new Georgia World Congress Center convention hotel with up to 2000 rooms.

 

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Amidst all of this construction activity is the often-maligned Atlanta Streetcar. Would all of this be happening without the Streetcar?  The Georgia Statehouse is expected to pass legislation allowing Atlantans to vote on lightrail and Streetcar expansion for the Beltline and City of Atlanta areas.

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The beauty yet to be uncovered is the gorgeous historic buildings that make up the old retail district south of Five Points, and the National Landmark Historic District, Atlanta Hotel Row.

The Goat Farm Arts Center started  their Beacons program to offer space for artists to express themselves while living with reasonable rents, to give the south of Five Points neighborhood life again.

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Look behind the crummy awnings and signage of the unique buildings that grace the streets of South Downtown Atlanta, below:

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An art deco McCrory’s façade lies in wait of new appreciation.
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A Louis Sullivan-like frieze with Romanesque arches top this 5 story building.
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Barely hidden is this old art deco Kress building.
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Art deco Lerner Shops waits for it’s revival next to a renovated hotel.
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I’m not sure what Mangel’s sold, but it was certainly fashionable.
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I love Bookhammer’s classic limestone façade, behind the black paint and the garish signage.
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Art-Moderne building still retains it’s old signage… hope it lasts.
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Part of The Goat Farm arts areas…
Mammal gallery
The new Mammal Gallery
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Just beyond this cute building, the Mercedes-Benz megalith rises…
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A view of the whole street with the Fulton County Government Center on the left in the distance.
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The Fulton County Government Center’s atrium is a great event space for dance parties, or, to go chill in the tropical garden atrium.
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Believe it or not, my Mom used to get dressed up in her heels, hat and gloves to shop down here at Rich’s! LOL

Those buildings will all be vibrant treasures, one day, if they can avoid the wrecking ball.

And look, below, is the National Landmark Historic District, Atlanta Hotel Row, just waiting for it’s savior who will make lots of change:

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This was a fine hotel with a turreted-top corner in it’s day.
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Some of the fine old brick and terra-cotta details remain.
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more elegant brickwork…
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A look down Hotel Row toward the building cranes of Mercedes Stadium.
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A smaller, more classical hotel building.

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This one has been turned into lofts.
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The last in the block seems in good shape and generating income.
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A look, east, down Hotel Row, a landmark Historic District, just waiting for it’s makeover…
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Flags and cranes, signs of progress which have not been seen here since the 1950’s.
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Newly renovated classical/art deco MLK, Jr Federal Building.
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The Stadia.

Nearby, is already thriving Castleberry Hill loft and Arts District.

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New Lofts at Castleberry Hill
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Old lofts on Castleberry Hill
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The Hard Rock Hotel being built between Castleberry Hill and the Stadium.
Nearby, on Marietta Street
Nearby, on Marietta Street
$46M update of very successful Centennial Olympic Park
$46M update of overly successful Centennial Olympic Park, after 20 years.

Cheers, world. Come to Atlanta!