January 31, 2014
Buckhead Atlanta is a Fit for Italian Cashmere Boutique
Atlanta Business Chronicle
By Amy Wenk and Douglas Sams A luxury Italian cashmere maker is headed to Buckhead Atlanta — another first-to-market retailer for the massive mixed-use project that’s gained speed in recent months. Brunello Cucinelli looks to open a roughly 2,300-square-foot store at the 8-acre development at Peachtree and East Paces Ferry roads in Buckhead. San Diego developer OliverMcMillan recently filed plans in Atlanta for the boutique. It will take a spot off Bolling Way. It’s another win for OliverMcMillan, which is proving it can land national and international concepts that are new to the market. And, more proof that it can bring back tenants that previously committed before the project stalled due to the recession. “We’re happy that Brunello Cucinelli remained committed to the vision for Buckhead Atlanta,” Hunter Richardson, OliverMcMillan’s managing director of development for Buckhead Atlanta, said in a statement to Atlanta Business Chronicle. “It is an example of the luxury, best-in-class, first-in-Atlanta retailers that will open their doors here.” The new location will become Brunello Cucinelli’s 12th boutique in the United States. The company creates its expensive goods in a medieval castle in Italy. It has other stores in cities such as Miami, Aspen, Chicago and New York City. “I think that bodes very well for the development,” said John Bemis, Atlanta retail market leader for Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. “From the lineup I’ve seen so far, it appears to be many first-to-market retailers. I think that will lend real solid creditability to the development.” Buckhead Atlanta also has landed another luxury Italian retailer called Etro, which will take about 2,200 square feet off Buckhead Avenue. Both Brunello Cucinelli and Etro were part of the tenant lineup for Streets of Buckhead, the former name for the project under its original developer, Ben Carter. “I think OliverMcMillan has done a good [job] reigniting some of the better deals that Carter had,” Bemis said, adding that the project is also bringing in new faces. “They are very good developers and they are very good at what they do.” About three years ago the $1 billion project once touted as a slice of Rodeo Drive in ritzy Buckhead was an eyesore. That’s because construction had stalled amid the deep recession. OliverMcMillan acquired the project in 2011 and last year made substantial strides to bring it back to life. Last summer, Buckhead Atlanta landed the headquarters of Spanx Inc., the women’s underwear company, and secured a $167 million construction loan — one of the largest originated in the United States last year. Today, the development is bustling with more than 800 construction workers, and the first stores are on pace to open this summer. The project hit a construction milestone in January, celebrating its topping off.