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Guest donaltopablo

Coke Development Delayed

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Guest donaltopablo

Coke plans green space, at least for now

By WALTER WOODS

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 04/01/04

Coca-Cola hopes to plant a refreshing addition in downtown Atlanta.

The beverage giant, which owns more than 20 acres between the north end of Centennial Olympic Park and Alexander Street, said it will sow several acres of green space in the well-paved area.

The patch will be next to two planned tourist attractions, the World of Coca-Cola museum and the Georgia Aquarium. Coke had considered building a huge retail and entertainment village there.

City officials were happy the district may get a new plot of green space but suggested the decision may be temporary, and Coke eventually may develop new attractions on the site.

Coke is keeping that door open. But in the near future, the area, about half the size of Centennial Olympic Park, will welcome city dwellers and tourists to "gather, play and relax," said Kelly Brooks, a spokesman.

The company will open the new World of Coca-Cola museum in 2006.

Coke "thought this seemed the most appropriate and exciting prospect for the property right now," Brooks said, adding later, "We can always revisit the option to further develop the property if it makes sense."

Coke earlier this year hired OliverMcMillan, a California firm known for retail, residential and entertainment villages, to explore developing the surplus property. That partnership has concluded and Coke has decided to go a different way, Kelly said.

But Coke's decision may only be a postponement, said Egbert Perry, chief executive of developer Integral Group.

Integral said last week it would build condominiums, a downtown grocery store and, possibly, an office tower next to Coke's property. Another developer, Larry Gellerstedt, also plans to build a residential and retail complex across the street from Coke's land.

"It's probably a good decision for a healthy maturation of the area vs. flooding it with product overnight," Perry said.

But the tourist industry would like to see development downtown, said Spurgeon Richardson, chief executive of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"I think it's a temporary decision, and I suspect in the future they will take a look at possibly adding new things," Richardson said.

The city needs park space, and it needs tourist attractions, said Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. "The good news is, we're getting some of both."

Franklin has pushed for more parks but also stresses economic development. But the important fact, Franklin said, is that "Coke is investing in downtown."

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Guest donaltopablo

Is the Coca Cola Museum not doing well in Underground Atlanta?

This development is seperate from the World of Coke. The new World of Coke will continue as planned. As far as I know it's doing well, one of the more popular attractions in Metro Atlanta. I think they are just trying to cluster residential/enterainment around the park, rather than near Underground (much older/less appealing portion of DT Atlanta)

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