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Four Downtown ATL Trends to Watch

From more hotels and the evolution of HJ Russell's HQ into an innovation center, here are four things we learned at our Future of Downtown event yesterday.

1. LEGACY HAS MORE HOTELS COMING

Four Downtown ATL Trends to Watch

Already having developed the Glenn Hotel, Embassy Suites at Centennial Olympic Park and the Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown (not to mention his string of restaurants), Legacy Property Group David Marvin (on right with CityLife Development Partners Robert Patterson) says there's more hospitality in store for the submarket. “We have two more hotels Downtown on the drawing boards,” he told our audience of more than 350 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Atlanta this week. And that's aside from Legacy's pursuit of the Georgia World Congress Center convention hotel project.

2. DEVELOPER HQ BECOMING INNOVATION CENTER

Four Downtown ATL Trends to Watch

HJ Russell's Jerome Russell (center)—part of our developer panel that included Smith & Howard's Mark Abrams, Marvin, Paces Properties' David Cochran and Portman Holdings' Ambrish Baisiwala—offered more details on his plans to transform its 40k SF HQ into the Russell Innovation Center. The building will be populated with co-working and lab-to-market space targeting minority-led startups in Atlanta. In turn, HJ Russell is moving out of Castleberry Hill and to Midtown at 171 17th Street. He says it's part of Castleberry Hill's process of incorporating further into the CBD. “My father always said when he was alive that this part would be part of Downtown. And I can see that crystal clear now.”

3. 230 PEACHTREE DINING IS FOR MAD MEN

Four Downtown ATL Trends to Watch

Ambrish says that Portman's anticipated Midnight Sun-like restaurant in its 230 Peachtree redevelopment will be “kind of a Mad Men” of contemporary fare. “We believe Downtown is at a point where it needs a funky food destination,” he says. The 10k SF restaurant/bar is part of the transformation of this one-time office tower into a 200-key Hotel Indigo (still with 280k SF of office atop it all). 

4. CORPORATE AMERICA RETURNING?

Four Downtown ATL Trends to Watch

Paces' Cochran (with Ambrish) says Coca-Cola's historic office move to SunTrust Plaza could be the start of a trend as more and more people—especially Millennials—return to the city center. That decision wasn't based on rental rates but on how Coke could better recruit talent. “Downtown has had a black eye since the '70s [when] it was perceived as a dangerous place,” says the redeveloper of 250 Piedmont, now called The Office apartment tower. “Now it is a place where people can live. I think we'll see an inflow of corporate relocations versus the outflow.”