ATL Mayor Kasim Reed: City Partnering with Hawks to Overhaul Philips Arena
First the Atlanta Braves. Then the Atlanta Falcons. Now the Atlanta Hawks are looking to get a major overhaul on their home, Philips Arena, we learned from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who spoke at our State of the Market event this week at Overlook III in Vinings.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says the city is in talks with the Hawks organization about plans to share the cost of a major overhaul of the 18,000-plus seat multi-purpose facility that's home to the basketball team. While he did not give numbers, nor say what the city is expected to contribute, Kasim told reporters after his speech that renovations could reach $250M. He also noted it's the only major sporting events venue in the city that hasn't been touched since it opened in 1999 (at a cost of more than $200M) and is in a need of a “serious refresh.”
Kasim offered some basic changes that will be done to the stadium for the Hawks, including perhaps doing away with the suites seating wall and opening passages to ease pedestrian flow. The Mayor says he expects a new design reveal by Q1 2016. This would be the latest in big venue news for Atlanta, starting with the Braves move to Cobb County for a new SunTrust Park stadium (and the eventual sale and redevelopment of Turner Field). Other venues getting makeovers include a new Falcons Stadium, with Mercedes-Benz gaining the naming rights, the redevelopment of the Georgia World Congress Center (which the mayor says is down to three contenders) and the redo of the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center by Weingarten Realty.
Kasim also championed the nearly $3B in commercial projects underway (including the Civic Center, which Weingarten revealed recently in renderings here) in the city right now, saying this level of development of the city has eclipsed the previous record. “We have now exceeded the Olympic level of construction,” he says. There's even some $3B in additional commercial projects in the pipeline for Atlanta among private developers, $1.5B of which “do not require financing.”
After his speech, Kasim was asked about General Electric, and whether there was a done deal to move its HQ to Atlanta from Connecticut. GE CEO Jeff Immelt spurred a speculation frenzy this summer when he announced that the conglomerate was looking to potentially move out of Connecticut because of tax issues. Soon after, Bloomberg added fuel to the Atlanta fire when it reported that GE officials held conversations with Tishman Speyer, which has the only major spec office tower underway in the city right now, and where GE could easily slot its HQ. As for Kasim, he didn't help much in clearing the air. Kasim stated that he had “no comment” about GE.
You down with O.P.P.? Integral Group's Egbert Perry certainly is, if you mean other people's (unwanted) property. Egbert cites Integral's salvage operation of the former GM Doraville plant, where the firm sold off equipment material. He says once Integral purchased Doraville, he felt “sort of a gun to our head.” But by monetizing the leftover junk there, “we were able to monetize the salvage at a significant level.” “So the gun isn't in the holster yet, but it's getting there,” he says.