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Potential Gulch Redevelopment Could Include More Than 9M SF Of Office

A city permit may have shed light on redevelopment plans for Downtown Atlanta's Gulch property, which could include an office campus more than half the size of all the Class-A space in Midtown.

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A CSX coal train travels underneath CNN Center's parking deck in the Gulch in this 2013 picture

An unknown party filed a permit Oct. 30 to assess impact fees on the Gulch property — the swath of undeveloped land, parking lots and railroad tracks in Downtown Atlanta — that looks to assess the impact fees for a major redevelopment. The redevelopment proposed in the permit could potentially be staggering, with 9.3M SF of office, 1M SF of commercial, 2,100 apartment units and 1,500 hotel rooms.

The Gulch is owned in part by the City of Atlanta as well as Norfolk Southern and CSX railroads. Developers pay impact fees to a municipality based on the density that they plan on a site to help fund needed infrastructure improvements and the added services for a project, such as fire response. Atlanta officials did not return calls seeking comment, and Norfolk Southern officials declined to comment.

The Gulch has long been seen as a prime redevelopment site in Atlanta. Recently, the Georgia State Senate Transportation Committee dusted off plans for a $1.5B multimodal project on the 119 acres that is surrounded by Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Georgia World Congress Center and other tourist attractions, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Gulch is believed to be among the properties pitched by the State of Georgia as a potential site for Amazon's $5B second headquarters, the holy grail of economic development deals being pursued by more than 200 cities in the U.S and Canada. Georgia submitted its proposal to Amazon last month in a deal that could include more than $1B in incentives.

Details of the Gulch development in the permit hew quite closely to Amazon's wish list when it comes to HQ2. The online retail giant, in its request for proposals, said it was seeking locations with on-site mass transit access, very close to major population centers and within 45 minutes from a major international airport, all of which could be had at the Gulch. The 9M SF office proposal is more than enough for the 8M SF of office Amazon said it would need over 20 years.

Los Angeles-based CIM Group and Atlanta Hawks majority owner Tony Ressler also have proposed a $1B mixed-use development next to Phillips Arena that would border the Gulch property. This comes when Atlanta has invested more than $140M to renovate the arena. It was unclear as of press time whether the parties also were pursuing the Gulch property.