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Selig Pitches Midtown Atlanta Properties For Amazon HQ2

Doraville. The Gulch. Fort McPherson. Aerotropolis.

These are some of the big sites in Metro Atlanta that can easily fit Amazon's second headquarters. They make sense. They are large land tracts connected in many cases to mass transit. But one developer sees potential to fit HQ2 in one of the city's most densely developed corridors: Midtown Atlanta.

Aerial view of the northern end of Midtown Atlanta, where many parcels could accommodate Amazon's second headquarters

Selig Enterprise Chief Development and Operating Officer Steve Baile said his firm is looking to combat a perception that perhaps Midtown — which has experienced a development renaissance in the past decade — may be too built-out to fit Amazon.

“Let's make sure that Amazon knows there's something available in the heart of Midtown,” Baile said.

To that end, Selig officials compiled a list of potential Midtown sites owned by Selig Enterprises, MARTA and MetLife that could accommodate Amazon's 8M SF second headquarters campus. The list was given to Midtown Alliance, which submitted information on available properties to Invest Atlanta, the economic development arm for the city, officials said. Atlanta is working with the state government on the offer that is expected to be made this week to Seattle-based Amazon in its pitch for the holy grail of economic development projects that promises up to 50,000 high-paying new jobs.

The nexus of available sites is centered on a cluster between 17th Street and 14th Street along the Downtown Connector and West Peachtree Street. The area has several parcels owned by Selig and others that can accommodate more than 15M SF of new construction under current zoning, Baile said.

1100 Spring St., the 150K SF office building that is home to developer Selig Enterprises

Among the biggest sites on the list are:

  • MetLife's nine-acre assemblage off 17th and Spring streets formerly called Metropolitan Center. MetLife has packaged the property, now home to a collection of older buildings and the Nan Thai Fine Dining restaurant, for eventual redevelopment, having tapped JLL last year as the master developer.
  • MARTA's Arts Center station, which is part of the organization's planned transit-oriented redevelopment program and could see up to 3M SF of new space.
  • Land owned by Selig across the interstate off 14th Street that is home to a self-storage facility and the popular Silver Skillet breakfast eatery. Combined it can house 2M SF.
  • Greenstone Properties' one-acre parking lot off Spring and 14th streets that was recently proposed for a mixed-use project.
  • Four other Selig sites, including its headquarters building at 1100 Spring St., a surface parking lot and its planned $400M mixed-use project called 1105 West Peachtree that — while not contiguous — can accommodate nearly 8M SF.

These are just a few among the many sites around Metro Atlanta that are likely being forwarded by the state for possible HQ2 locations. In its request for proposals released last month, Amazon said its core preferences were sites that were within 45 minutes of an international airport, 30 miles from a major metropolitan center, very near major highways, direct access to mass transit and space enough to develop up to 8M SF over the next 15 to 20 years.

While details of the state's ultimate pitch to Amazon have not been revealed, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said in a recent interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Gov. [Nathan] Deal is going to compete fiercely for this. You know how competitive he is and how competitive we are. And the package we put together is a formidable package.”

Baile said Midtown offers compelling features that could appeal to Amazon employees, with a walkable environment and a growing stock of housing and amenities.

“There's no place in Atlanta that can provide the type of housing or has the condos and apartments in the same area as where they work,” Baile said. “This is really it. We're a little bit self-centered ourselves, but we feel that Midtown has a good story.”

Midtown Alliance CEO Kevin Green said the compiled list also gives the organization a platform to pitch other potential headquarters and major office prospects in the future.

“If you look at the 1.2-square-mile Midtown improvement district, under current zoned densities, if you maxed out, you can accommodate another 45M SF-plus of office development,” Green said. “So essentially you can more than double … the amount of office you have in Midtown.”

CORRECTION, OCT. 17, 5:30 P.M, ET: A previous version of the story incorrectly stated Steve Baile's title. The story has been updated.