Economic Development Council Provides Centennial Yards Redevelopment Update
Metro Atlanta continues to be a top destination for economic development projects of all sizes and locations throughout the 29-county region. The heart of the city, an area known as “the Gulch,” represents a huge space that has been largely unused to-date, save as a parking and tailgating area for sporting events. With the involvement of the City of Atlanta and CIM Group – a development company with a vast portfolio of high-profile projects around the globe – the heart of downtown Atlanta is being revitalized.
The Metro Atlanta Chamber hosted its second quarter Economic Development Council meeting focused around the Gulch redevelopment – now officially named Centennial Yards, a master-planned development that will create 12-15 new city blocks in the heart of downtown. CIM Group envisions a retail, office and residential space that will serve as a thriving extension of the metro. The council was led by John O’Neill, president, Southeast and South Central Region, Cushman & Wakefield.
The meeting kicked off with panel guests J.P. Matzigkeit, City Council District 8, City of Atlanta, and Lauren McDermott, vice president, CIM Group.
McDermott provided a quick history of how planning for the Centennial Yards redevelopment began. Atlanta Hawks Owner Tony Ressler collaborated with brother Richard Ressler, co-founder and principal of CIM Group, to assess the land and development opportunity. CIM Group viewed the opportunity as a chance to transform Centennial Yards into a mixed-use area incorporating office, housing and commercial spaces. However, that same opportunity came with some challenges.
McDermott summarized the complications of the project into three categories:
- Assemblage – The area takes up 42 acres of space and connecting all the businesses that will occupy the area proved difficult.
- Entitlements – The process of gathering city documents and tax information was arduous and required expert insight.
- Closing the Gap – Infrastructure with local communities and connectivity to the city was critical to success, again necessitating expert assessment.
Matzigkeit was initially hesitant in support of the Centennial Yards project based on limited information. Focusing on the financial terms of the deal, Matzigkeit was concerned about funding basic needs, such as police and fire stations. The project continued to evolve, with details slowly finalized and supporters growing.
Council members were shown images of the redevelopment, revealing CIM Group’s vision for the area. Among immediate priorities is the creation of pedestrian and transit access to connect Centennial Yards properly to the rest of the city, according to McDermott. Some developments have already begun, with preparations underway for a final completion date 15 years from now.
Centennial Yards represents a long-term investment in the prosperity of metro Atlanta and its residents, transforming a space with endless possibilities. For more information on the project, please visit: https://www.centennialyards.com/.
For more information on the Metro Atlanta Chamber Economic Development Council, please reach out to Josh Stephens.