- The Gulch, the $5 billion mixed-use project underway in downtown Atlanta, will now be known as Centennial Yards, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a change that comes as developers plan to open the first residential and retail segments next year.
- Devon McCorkle, first executive of investments at developer The CIM Group, told the Journal-Constitution that the new name pays homage to the site's once bustling rail hub, as well as the city's Centennial Olympic Park. He also offered a glimpse of the project's 2020 construction schedule. Two Southern Railway/Norfolk Southern buildings will be transformed into lofts and construction will start on the $500 million steel and concrete platform that will raise the site to street level and pave the way for 12 to 15 new blocks.
- When the full, 40-acre project is built out in 10 to 15 years, it will include a new network of pedestrian and transportation infrastructure; 1,000 residences; massive amounts of retail and office space; 1,500 hotel rooms; a central pedestrian plaza; and green space that will connect Centennial Yards to major sports venues.
While developers are seeking tenants for Centennial Yards and planning amenities like concert venues and museums, a local citizens group has filed a lawsuit against Atlanta in an attempt to block the city's use of publicly funded bonds to help pay the almost $2 billion it committed to the project. Developers reportedly face complaints from the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) system that the city hasn't lived up to the agreement that allowed the project to move forward.
In January, the APS agreed to share property tax revenue with the project, and, in return, the city would reimburse the school system for up to $15 million through 2023 for projects that would have otherwise benefited from that revenue. APS was also supposed to participate in Atlanta’s four commercial tax allocation districts for 30 years and receive other financial benefits. There is no indication as to which terms the APS claims the city has not fulfilled.
Nevertheless, this huge undertaking on the part of CIM is reminiscent of the $25 billion, mixed-use Hudson Yards development in Manhattan, also built on the site of former rail yards. Developers Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group recently officially opened the first half of the project, which has been six years in the making. The first phase includes four office high-rises, two residential towers, a condominium high-rise, retail restaurants and an interactive sculpture called the Vessel.