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Atlantic Station influence widens

'50s building to become residential


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 06/03/04

An empty 1950s office building in the shadow of Atlantic Station is set to become a 22-story residential tower by 2007, a signal of what may come to the sleepy industrial district around the Midtown mini-city.

Charlie Hendon, the owner of North DeKalb Mall, and a partner, Sam Wilburn, plan to build about 400 high-rise residences and 21,000 square feet of retail overlooking the I-75/85 connector and across 16th Street from Atlantic Station, the $2 billion project at the end of Atlanta's yellow brick road, the 17th Street bridge.

For 50 years the building to be converted had been the modest home office of the Coca-Cola Bottlers' Association, a group of U.S. bottlers. But as the steel mill next door was torn down and the site became Atlantic Station, the association sold its property and moved to Buckhead.

Atlantic Station will soon have hundreds of residents, an 800,000-square-foot retail village and, eventually, perhaps a dozen office buildings on its 138-acre site. Construction on the retail section began this week.

Its gravity will pressure the Eisenhower-era offices, industrial yards, union halls and empty lots in its orbit, Wilburn said.

Much of the area on the west side of the connector, including tracts of Northside Drive and 14th Street, "will be changing dramatically in the next two to three years," he predicted.

Developer Selig Enterprises, perhaps feeling Atlantic Station's pull, has long-range plans to build a 600,000-square-foot mixed-use center about a mile away, on the site of the old Castlegate Hotel on I-75.

Atlantic Station is a catalyst converting the area, said Bill Stogner, vice president at Selig.

"Some buildings may not come down," but they will probably convert to residential or retail, he said.

Siemens Westinghouse has a retro manufacturing facility on Northside Drive, and there is a motel, a lumber yard and other sites drawing attention from developers.

A project as big as Atlantic Station brings new road access, underground infrastructure and people traffic, said Scott Taylor, chief operating officer at Carter, which will manage and lease the project.

Such developments attract others trying to take advantage of their momentum, Taylor said. "Atlantic Station's amenities ... are beginning and will continue to attract developers."

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