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OliverMcMillan Quietly Offering The Shops Buckhead Atlanta For Sale

Atlanta Retail

Developers of the ultra-luxury Buckhead destination The Shops Buckhead Atlanta are quietly shopping the project for sale.

La Bilboquet French restaurant at The Shops at Buckhead Atlanta

Numerous sources with knowledge of the situation said OliverMcMillan has retained capital markets broker HFF to sell the 300K SF property, a multi-block mixed-use project in the heart of Buckhead Village, which has 800K SF of commercial space. The marketing is being targeted at select developers and not to the wider market, sources said.

Details on the offer, including whether remaining development parcels were also part of the package and which developers have been approached, were unavailable as of press time.

OliverMcMillan CEO Dene Oliver and officials with HFF declined to comment for the story. The Baupost Group — which helped finance the development of the project when OliverMcMillan took it over and which continues to hold an ownership stake — also declined to comment.

The potential sale of The Shops Buckhead Atlanta comes a month after OliverMcMillan tapped JLL to lease the 300K SF of retail spaces. The goal: Attempt to broaden the appeal among shoppers and make it more approachable “so it can become that community gathering place for Buckhead,” JLL Director of Retail Agency Leasing Coleman Morris recently told Bisnow.

New tenants could include a brewery, cocktail bar, lunch and breakfast eateries geared toward a lower price point to draw in a larger swath of the Buckhead community, from millennials to soccer moms. Doing so, she said, could increase foot traffic in the project.

As Bisnow detailed in 2017, some shopkeepers at The Shops Buckhead Atlanta expressed concern about the lack of customer traffic in the project.

The shops opened in 2014, striving to be the pinnacle of luxury retail in Atlanta, with names like Brunello Cucinelli, Cacao, Dior, Etro, Hermès, Jimmy Choo and Robert Talbott among its tenants. OliverMcMillan has faced churn among its in-line retailers, with rising concerns that perhaps the developer overshot the metro area's appetite for luxury as the development's foot traffic flagged.

Tensions arose from the rents OliverMcMillan was commanding from some of its early tenants and the lack of customer traffic on the property, with some tenants who have since shuttered paying anywhere from $50/SF to $100/SF when the average retail rent metrowide is only $12/SF. Those are the kind of rents that Simon Property achieves at Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza malls in Buckhead.

Earlier this year, Brookfield Residential purchased OliverMcMillan as an avenue to begin pursuing more mixed-use projects across the country. The Shops Buckhead Atlanta was not part of that transaction, a source close to the deal said at the time.