September 9, 2014
Exclusive: Updates on Buckhead Atlanta
A few months ago, we announced the first 16 retailers coming to the billion-dollar mixed-use Buckhead Atlanta, by San Diego–based developer Oliver McMillan, slated to open September 18. As of today, add plans for six more: Warby Parker, Bonobos, Alice + Olivia, La Perla, Courage. b, and Intermix.
This batch, we were pleased to see, has a decidedly more contemporary and accessible bent than the first announcement, which was mostly a large slew of luxury retailers that included Hermès, Christian Louboutin, Canali, and Etro. Aside from a few contemporary shops—Scoop NYC, Theory, and Helmut Lang—the retailers were looking a bit out of reach for most of us. Well, if there’s anything the latest retail announcements have proved, it’s that Buckhead Atlanta is looking to draw more than just the Louboutin-soled St. Regis penthouse resident.
Jeff Zeigler, head of retail leasing for Oliver McMillan, says the goal for the tenants is one-third luxury, one-third contemporary, and one-third beverage and dining—and now, the mix is looking good. (See below for the full list of tenants and expected openings.)
At its heart, Buckhead Atlanta is still a luxury development, with a concierge staff (wearing Etro pocket squares and Hermès scarves) acquiescing to a shopper’s every wish, from holding shopping bags while you dine to having your car detailed. But the latest brands are looking more youthful. Dare we say hip? A couple of these shops may even be enough to bring the “downtown” kids to Buckhead.
All are new to market and scheduled to open this fall, with the exception of Intermix, a multibrand boutique, which is relocating from Phipps this spring.
Perhaps the most exciting—and surprising!—are Warby Parker, a stylish but affordable sunglasses and eyeglasses boutique, and Bonobos, a menswear company (pronounced buh-NO-bose) founded on the principle of good-fitting pants. Both are young companies, started by young entrepreneurs, with a serious online presence. Warby Parker says it was founded with a “rebellious spirit;” Bonobos has customer service “ninjas” and a banana logo.
Alice + Olivia appeals to a similarly young crowd—its silk separates and sequined party dresses come at a mid-range price. La Perla, on the other hand, makes beautiful but expensive intimates, mostly for the person with money to burn on undies. We’re not really familiar with Courage. b, but it looks like there’s plenty of sensible knitwear, and with locations in Aspen, the Hamptons, and Palm Beach, it seems it should fit right in with its uppercrust neighbors.
But people keep asking: Will Atlantans, so used to going from our air-conditioned cars to air-conditioned interiors, gasp, walk—outside—to shop?
“When I think of my favorite places to be, it’s rarely in a closed, air-conditioned environment,” says Zeigler. “We’ve developed a project with beautiful landscaping, big awnings, plenty of shade. I think people actually prefer that strolling environment. We’re really confident that people will use it the way they will in any great city.” He has a point, bringing up the tough climates of the Design District in Miami (sweltering) and the Magnificent Mile in Chicago (freezing). And a couple of weeks ago at Buckhead Atlanta, mature oaks and lush landscaping started cooling down the sidewalks.
The motto seems to be “If you build it…” They may be right. Starting September 18, we’ll find out.
Opening on Opening Day, September 18:
Opening later in September:
Opening throughout the fall
Alice + Olivia
American Food and Beverage
Lugo Cucina Italiana