August 8, 2014
Breaking News: First Buckhead Atlanta Openings to Occur Next Month
Tomorrow's News Today - Atlanta
Believe it or not, OliverMcMillan's Buckhead Atlanta project is currently on schedule. As their tagline says, "Making Special Places Happen," is what OliverMcMillan does. Delayed and abandoned and for years, the sad eyesore everyone hated to see, Buckhead Atlanta is finally about to open. Buckhead Atlanta, which spans six city blocks in the heart of Buckhead will see the opening of number of tenants next month, according to Rocell "Rocky" Viniard, Regional Marketing Director of OliverMcMillan.
According to Viniard, the following retailers plan to be open on September 18th:
Brunello Cucinelli, known for their luxurious Italian cashmere sweaters and ready to wear fashions (2,491 square feet on Bolling Way)
Canali, specializing in tailor-made suiting and related men's apparel (2,111 square foot space on Buckhead Avenue)
diptyque, a Paris-based manufacturer of assorted perfumes, candles and face & body care products (496 square feet at Bolling Way)
Hermès, a Paris-based manufacturer widely known for their sought after handbags, neckties, scarves and assorted other luxury goods (4,100 square foot space on Buckhead Avenue and Bolling Way)
L’Occitane, a French retailer known for their wide assortment of face and body lotions and fragrances (2,784 square foot space on Buckhead Avenue)
Moncler, a retailer known for their ski-inspired apparel and footwear (1,899 square foot space on Bolling Way)
Scoop NYC, retailer of designer and contemporary ready-to-wear apparel, shoes and accessories (2,461 square foot space on Buckhead Avenue)
theory, a contemporary New York-based retailer of men's and women's apparel. Theory previously had a location within Phipps Plaza, but itclosed in early 2012. (2,580 square foot space at Bolling Way)
Warby Parker, stylish eyewear retailer with a limited retail network (2,045 square feet on Buckhead Avenue)
Additionally, four restaurants also plan to open:
Corso Coffee, New York-based coffee bar Italian-style coffee bar featuring handcrafted beverages, assorted pastries and live music (1,596 square foot space on Peachtree Road)
Gypsy Kitchen, a "Spanish Fusion" restaurant from the creators of Tin Lizzy's and The Big Ketch (3,750 square foot space on Peachtree Road)
Shake Shack, a casual New York based burger, shake and fry eatery created by esteemed restaurantuer Danny Meyer (2,500 square foot space on Peachtree Road)
Thirteen Pies, an artisan pizza eatery (4,300 square foot space on Buckhead Avenue)
Italian luxury retailer Etro (2,214 square foot store on Buckhead Avenue) plans to open by the end of September. Local Gastropub Southern Gentleman (3,750 square foot space on Peachtree Road) and breakfast, lunch and dinner eatery Le Bilboquet (3,686 square foot space on Bolling Way) will follow in early October.
Relocated to its current home, Fado Irish Pub and Hermes (previously in Lenox Square) will both be open on Buckhead Avenue.
According to a release I obtained from OM, "each week through the end of the year, you [customers] will be able to experience a new retailer or restaurant that has opened at Buckhead Atlanta."
This list would likely include retailers Akris, Bella Bag, Christian Louboutin, Helmut Lang, Jimmy Choo, Theory, Tod’s, and Spanx.
Restaurants opening in the coming months will include American Cut, American Food and Beverage, Doraku Sushi, Georgetown Cupcake, Lugo Cucina Italiana, and Qing Mu.
*American Cut, Corso Coffee and Lugo Cucina Italiana are all concepts from New York-based LDV [ La Dolce Vita] Hospitality. Doraku Sushi and Qing Mu, a noodle eatery, are both concepts from Kevin Aoki son on Benihana founder Rocky Aoki.
Some openings will not occur until early next year, others may not open until next spring.
As Hunter Richardson, Managing Director of Development at OliverMcMillan said in an interview with me, many of the retailers (opening in Buckhead Atlanta) only open a handful of stores a year, so the build-outs take longer than mass merchant stores.
I asked Richardson if there was any one retailer or restaurant that he and Buckhead Atlanta would love to have in the project. Richardson responded by saying that they [Buckhead Atlanta] still have a "a few targeted retailers and restaurants." He was not at liberty to name any, but indicated that they were likely to be other "best in class" or "first to market" retailers and could be included in subsequent phases of the project.
According to Richardson, the single biggest challenge he and OliverMcMillan faced in bringing Buckhead Atlanta to life was "getting the retail community to believe." The massive project had been stalled for years, and the economic climate was not ideal for getting luxury retailers to commit to new stores. Little by little, one after another, retailers committed, and in the case of Hermes and others, re-committed to the project. (John Lobb, a brand owned by Hermès and a purveyor known for their made-to-measure mens footwear, was previously announced to be opening a 902 square foot boutique next to Hermes, but as of now those plans have been shelved).
Many readers have also asked if Chanel may be coming to the project, alas, according to Amy Fingerhut, Vice President of CBRE retail services in Atlanta, "Chanel isn't happening."
Despite earlier rumors to the contrary, Richardson indicated that there will be no "pedestrian only" streets, and that all streets affected by and within the project will be reopened by the end of September.
Many readers have asked about the parking situation at Buckhead Atlanta and Richardson was kind enough to provide some clarification. According to Hunter, Buckhead Atlanta will have a total of 2,400 parking spaces (shared between The Residences, the retail & restaurant component and the offices). 2,200 of these spaces will be located within two decks, with the balance located within two street level surface lots.
Parking options will include both self and valet. Valet parking will reportedly be available at a flat rate, while self parking will be free for the first hour, then charged on a per hour basis, but with a capped maximum daily charge.
I asked Richardson about the decision to reduce the square footage dedicated to restaurant and retail from 600,000 square feet. According to Richardson, that amount had already been reduced when under Ben Carter's control, and the current 300,000 square feet was meant to "right size" the project.
Buckhead Atlanta, first called Buckhead Avenues, and later Streets of Buckhead, was conceived by developer Ben Carter with his land assemblage purchases in 2006. Originally proposed to be a $1.5 billion project, the development has changed over the years and has lost some tenants while it has gained others. San Diego-based OliverMcMillan purchased the property from Ben Carter in May 2011. Richardson estimates the project is now about a $1 billion project. While there were again setbacks and issues obtaining financing, the project has not looked back since construction restarted in early 2013.
Baccarat Hotel & Residences and 1 Hotel & Residences, both from Barry Sternlicht's Starwood Capital Group, were previously announced to be opening in The Streets of Buckhead. Today, there are no (current) plans for any hotels, although that may change as stores begin to open and additional phases are built.
In preparation for my interview with Hunter Richardson, I found that he was Vice President of Development for Turner Sports & Entertainment. Richardson held this position from early 1998 until early 2000 and it was on his watch, and with his guidance, that Philips Arena was built and CNN Center was renovated. This experience would seem to have made him especially qualified to lead the team to develop the new Atlanta Braves stadium and accompanying mixed-use development. According to Richardson, while he and OliverMcMillan were at one point interested in the project, they determined it did not align with their vision for future projects. The Atlanta Braves announced last month that a team led by Fuqua Development, Pope & Land Enterprises, and Pollack Shores Real Estate Group will develop the project, which includes up to 630,000 square feet of class A office space, 500,000 square feet of upscale retail, 450 hotel rooms and 500 residences. The Braves project is slated for completion in mid 2017.
With Buckhead Atlanta opening and Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza each undergoing multi-million dollar renovations and expansions, Buckhead visitors and residents may never need to leave home to shop ever again.