Dallas, Texas-based Balfour Beatty Construction crews were on the 8-acre site Tuesday when San Diego-based developer OliverMcMillan’s development director, Hunter Richardson, introduced the restarted improvements.
“Like it or not, this has been a symbol for the economy,” he said about the site which developer Ben Carter Properties tabled in February 2009. “Construction sites can only be completed if there’s leasing and financing and all those elements in place and if the economy stays intact. There were things way beyond BCP’s control. It wasn’t for lack of trying or lack of a good idea. It was just the economy.”
The developer closed on the property in May 2011 and plans to open its first announced anchor store, French high-fashion design house Hermes, in time for the Christmas 2013 shopping season.
“The start date is related to the end date,” Richardson said. “Starting this week gets us on that schedule.”
In a statement, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed congratulated the new owner and developer.
“For years, we have anticipated the start of construction on the transformative Buckhead Atlanta, which, when completed, will be a sign of Atlanta’s resilience and innovation,” he said. “A rejuvenated Buckhead will not only attract the nation’s top developers and retailers but thousands of new consumers and residents.”
The $1 billion project will contain 300,000 square feet of “best-in-class” retail, restaurant and entertainment destinations, Richardson said, 100,000 square feet of loft offices and 370 luxury apartments opening in five phases by August 2014.
“[Parcel] C is first and then A and B will follow. D will be last,” he said about a parking lot at Buckhead Avenue and North Fulton Drive.
Parcel D does not yet have a designated purpose.
“We’re going to wait and see,” Richardson said. “There’s no hurry for us to figure that out. Once this is up and operating, the market will tell us what it will be.”
He said he has been told by Buckhead businesses and residents he is on the right track.
“Everybody that I’ve talked to has been ecstatic, eager for us to get started and eager for it to provide a shot in the arm for the market,” Richardson said.
Supporters include District 7 Atlanta City Councilman Howard Shook, who represents the portion of Buckhead where the development sits.
“This is a huge step forward for the Buckhead village,” he said in a statement.
On the Web www.olivermcmillan.com