Expert busts the ‘Midtown Mile’ myth

Dotan Zuckermanindustry insights, real estate57 Comments

midtown mile ~ what now, atlanta?

Will Midtown’s proposed retail epicenter, the Midtown Mile, ever be completed?

Yes. But it’s not that easy.

Midtown Alliance, a business association, published a report in the 90s called “Blueprint Midtown” that discussed the need for a retail centerpiece on the Peachtree corridor in Midtown Atlanta.

Nicknamed “The Midtown Mile,” the corridor begins on North Avenue near the Fox Theatre and ends just past 15th Street on Atlanta’s famous Peachtree Street, a $2 billion retail district.

The vision of Midtown Mile is one million square feet of retail space with a 16.5-mile streetcar system running from Downtown to Buckhead. Blueprint Midtown called for combining existing retail with new development by Atlanta’s top developers.

After two decades, only fragments of the vision have materialized. Now, the Midtown Mile lacks connectivity as outlined in Blueprint Midtown, much like the rest of Atlanta. There are pockets of decent retail and restaurants with nothing in between.

Some of the finished projects on Peachtree Street include 1010 Midtown, 12th and Midtown and The Loews Hotel. The vision is developing in baby steps as the available space in the aforementioned properties are slowly being absorbed with quality tenants.

Let’s examine the most recent additions to the Midtown Mile:

CB2 has recently opened a 14,000-square-foot space at the 12th and Midtown complex alongside some relatively new restaurants: RiRa Irish Pub, Ra Sushi and Piola. Exhale Spa recently opened across the street, occupying more than 20,000 square feet.

STK restaurant is the highly anticipated addition to the Midtown Mile, opening soon. The trendy steak house from New York is known to be a celebrity hang-out at their high-profile N.Y., L.A., and Miami locations.

For years, rumors have been floating about an Apple Store and a Saks Fifth Avenue, but that hasn’t be confirmed.

With the recent economic crash and real estate bubble burst, the rest of the high-rise developments along the Midtown Mile appear to be on hold.

So what about the future?

We don’t foresee any new skyscrapers (vertical development) breaking ground for at least five years. The land values along Peachtree Street can not justify one-off retail developments but instead need the extra vertical, mixed-use component to make the financials work.

The architects of Midtown Mile should continue to focus on their block-by-block approach, starting on 14th Street and stretching to 8th Street. Any development past there is not realistic for the time being.

Here’s the solution: It takes a foot at a time to make a mile.

(Photo credit: Atlanta INtown)

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Dotan ZuckermanExpert busts the ‘Midtown Mile’ myth

57 Comments on “Expert busts the ‘Midtown Mile’ myth”

  1. Jason Riedy

    Oh, fooey. Chains and businesses from elsewhere aren’t the defining factor, particularly not burger joints. Even the strip in Las Vegas has separated pockets. That’s not a big deal in itself. NY and LA definitely have pockets of great separated with WTF sections. Transit between pockets sure helps.

    The main problem I’ve seen with the midtown stretch is that a few local sources of retail/food business (e.g. Georgia Tech) rarely even consider locally located businesses. Work on getting GT, the hospitals, and the businesses to emphasize nearby businesses for work and pleasure, and you’ll be 80% there.

    Yeah, it’s moving the mountain. But that mountain needs moved.

  2. Johnny

    Midtown Mile is as happening as that fat girl by the same name on Twitter. Shilling the same 3 crappy restaurants over and over again. Noon is gone and that won’t be the last. STK will be as good as Davio’s and Saskatoon, it ain’t no BLT. But BLT is not even owned Laurent Tourondel any more, so it’s suspect at best.

  3. Exactly

    Atlanta needs to build something up an area like West Village in Dallas
    (it even has the trolleys Atlanta wants but can’t seem to get on Peachtree). Right in the heart of Midtown. That is really what Midtown is lacking.

  4. Big Doan

    I think a Peachtree streetcar is the way the Midtown Mile stands any chance of feeling cohesive in our lifetimes.

  5. AC

    Streetcar? Who is going to ride it?

    Traffic is bad enough on Peachtree without removing lane(s).

    Plus, can you imagine the increased noise for the thousands of taxpaying homeowners on Peachtree.

  6. Will

    A few things that could really change the landscape until new vertical development

    Fill retail at Viewpoint and Spire

    Open Club Reign

    Get something worth while at the site of Midtown Cafe / Jocks n Jills

    Try another restaurant/bar at 5th Cafe.

  7. VatechinATL

    Some of the urban planners in Atlanta should use San Francisco as a benchmark. Midtown, as most of the ATL is vastly unserved in terms of retail. A few things need to happen. 1) increased foot traffic ( a few 10 to 15 story buildings as rentals, thus giving young professional another living option 2) either North Ave and Peactree or 10th and Peachtree should be built out as Squares similiar to Union Square (San Fran) or a small scale Time Square 3) Allow retailers flexibility regarding signage.. Atlanta has some great restaurants and a few decent retail establishments put they are not visible. Most are tucked in malls, adjacent to food courts, or in the burbs 4) run the dang street car parallel to Peachtree down West Peachtree or Spring Street with a loop thru Atlantic Station. We really need some forward thinking…Lastly, ATL does such a poor job of of marketing one of it’s greatest attributes.. Young, diverse,talented, and educated!!!

  8. MetropolisRes

    Hack.
    The Midtown Mile is happening, just not the way the developers and the Midtown Alliance envisioned it. From North Ave. to 10th street your seeing a strong residential community. When you can easily walk from the Fox to the Margaret Mitchell House you can have a community. The problems arise at the major traffic arteries, such as North Ave. and 10th Street. Save a few million and build pedestrian bridges over 10th street and watch the Mile continue to grow. With out some mechanism to create a walkable community it doesn’t matter how much high end retail you try and shoehorn into Midtown it isn’t going to take.

  9. Stephen

    I think it’s coming along. I bought in Metropolis this past year and not a single regret. I can walk to Ecco and 70 other restaurants, walk to CB2, get a massage at Exhale. It’s a pretty sweet life. Sure, I’d like more to happen. But it’s vibrant and viable now. Agreed that the Jock N Jills space needs to get something asap.

  10. Max

    Hey AC,

    I think the point is to move vehicular traffic AWAY from Peachtree!

    A streetcar would make the various segments of Peachtree from downtown to Buckhead connectible in a way that car traffic cannot do.

    Beliefs like yourself is what created the problem in the first place.

  11. Johnny

    “I can walk to Ecco and 70 other restaurants..”

    70 restaurants? there isn’t 70 restaurants in all of metro Atlanta.

    There’s one reason and only one reason why Atlanta will never get it right: Fulton Country Government. They do not want a big city feel. New small businesses can not open without jumping through hoops and paying exorbitant amounts of cash for permits, licenses, kickbacks, etc. Most of Atlanta’s officials are greedy and corrupted. All you have to do is start from the very top, the mayor’s office. Atlanta is town of takers, take as much as you can and leave town.

    Now, with Obama’s massive budget cuts, Atlanta will be distressed even more.

  12. Jonathan

    The Magnificent Mile in Chicago relies on a lot of tourist traffic in addition to the residential critical mass in order to survive. It has become a destination. Atlanta does not yet have that kind of tourist traffic, and most of the existing tourists bypass Midtown as they go between Centennial Park and Buckhead.

    It would help if we could enhance the areas around Midtown’s MARTA stations, especially the Midtown MARTA station. The entire block just to the south of the Midtown station is a giant surface parking lot. It is perfect for a transit-oriented development that could attract some folks to stop in Midtown and proceed over to the Midtown Mile.

    The Dewberry Capital-owned block across from the Fed (site of Jocks and Jills) needs to be a priority. It is a blight on the Midtown Mile right now and is essential to the Mile’s cohesion especially given that the Fed will not be able to add retail on its Peachtree frontage. Dewberry has been holding on to this block for years now with no clear plans or push to develop it.

    Also, I really think Midtown would benefit from converting one-way streets to two-way and having a grid that actually functions. This would be less confusing to visitors as well as enhance the viability of retail along the blocks to the east and west of the Mile.

  13. William

    “70 restaurants? there isn’t 70 restaurants in all of metro Atlanta. ”

    This is a joke, right?
    Also, the streetcar will take cars off the road and isn’t loud. Come on, people. Let’s try a little harder here.

  14. Darin

    I agree with Jonathan. That Dewberry block needs to be filled in and not as under-used as it has been for several years. A big gap like that is a connectivity problem — it breaks up the flow of the streetscape and makes walking across that block less attractive than it should be for a zone that (ideally) is driven in large part by pedestrian traffic.

    Also a problem: the sad, ugly surface parking lots at Peachtree’s intersections with 7th, 6th and 4th Streets. At least the surface lot at the corner of Peachtree & 3rd is surrounded by trees and shrubbery so it doesn’t stick out so much.

  15. Julius

    Why does the paragraph on the “current state of the Midtown Mile” include only mention of things in the 12th and Midtown development? Did you forget about all of the other restaurants and shops (Vortex, BakeShop, Oceanaire, Taco Mac, F20, Drew Lewis, Tamarind Seed, Jimmy John’s, Shoebar, Eleven, Hudson Grill, Silk, Noodle, Bulldogs, Gordon Biersch, Baraonda, Melting Pot, Tap, Publik, Livingston, all of the Colony Square shops, etc)? Did you forget all of the apartments and condos and office towers lining Peachtree, making it one of the most densly populated areas of Atlanta and the second largest concentration of jobs after downtown? Did you forget about the tourist attractions (Marg. Mitchell house, Treasury Museum, Fox Theatre, Arts Center)? What about the successful events on the Midtown Mile (pop-up shopping, Peachtree Road Race, Midtown Art Festival)?
    Are none of these included in the “current state of the Midtown Mile”?

    Obviously the Midtown Mile has a long way to go, but how can you claim the Midtown Mile is a “myth” without including any of the above mentioned places?

  16. jurban8

    The Dewberry lot would obviously fill in a big gap if developed, but we can’t get angry at Jon for not developing it RIGHT now. Nothing needs to get built until vacancies are at a healthier level. It seems like we are at a turning point, but he’s smart to be cautious. Also, weren’t there some financial issues with the Dewberry Point development just uptown?

  17. Julius

    Ah, OK, that makes more sense, and I pretty much agree that there won’t be any high-rise development on Peachtree anytime soon.

    Still, I think any discussion of the Midtown Mile has to include the active and vibrant community that is already there. It is probably the most urban/dense/walkable/livable residential community in the state of Georgia, even with its shortcomings.

  18. Steve

    There was only one mention (that I saw) in all these comments that touched on the most important thing for Atlanta to achieve something that you could actually call a “city”. That something is rental housing. There is so little urban, infill rental housing in Atlanta, that you don’t have the most important resource to creating a true urban space – people. I don’t propose building a ton of luxury rentals in midtwon either; the demographics have to be mixed for any development to make sense. There obviously needs to be a mixed use component to new infill rental housing development as well. What I agree with in this article about is the notion that it should be done “block by block”. The notion of the master developments – like Atlantic Station – is the worst outlet for development I can think of. The Dewberry block (11th – 10th st & Ptree – Juniper) needs to be utilized, as well as all the other economically useless space that fills midtown as parking lots. Midtown is the perfect neighborhood to focus on, as the genesis for Atlanta as a city as well, as the street structure is relatively accomodating (there’s a semblance of a grid system there).

    Is there any prediction as to when STK is actually going to open? The space is nothing but a shall, and has been since that building was built. Doesn’t look like it’s anytime soon…

  19. tomitron

    i bought a condo at metropolis five years ago and have had absolutely no regrets — everything one could possibly need, and i mean everything, is within three blocks. Two book stores, multiple barber shops and salons, cvs, publix, pet supply, florists, office depot, at least two gay bars, the greatest strip club in the city (“booze, bacon and babes” for brunch), a dirty-book store, a nationally known comedy club, two great home stores, three or four clothing stores, utrecht art supply, dentists, doctor and law offices all over the place, piedmont park, and at least three dozen restaurants. Oh, and the city’s best funeral home. I know I’ve missed a bunch. The best is being a short block from the midtown marta station and having the 110 stop right out front.

    All we need are people to occupy all of those condos, and that’s slowly happening. There are already over 5,000 people living just on peachtree, not including cross streets, w p’tree, or spring. When that happens, the miracle mile will make itself, although maybe not exactly the way the planners planned. In the meantime, make all the streets two-way, the way God intended them to be, and add a streetcar down peachtree. Also condemn Dewberry’s land and build something on it, anything.

  20. Harry

    Many posters above are on to the right idea, Dewberry is the key to continued transformation on the project, and he’s waiting in the wings to make his play where others like Tivoli have failed. Once he decides to step up to the table, the project will move forward. Don’t also forget about that vacant piece he owns further north kitty corner to the Shell and across from the castle. Another piece that has had zero movement on it in the past 8 years.

  21. MG

    As much as I would love to see new construction (especially the Dewberry Capital site!!), the existing retail space needs to fill up first. Spire and Viewpoint and 12th and Midtown need to fill up and something needs to replace 5th Street Cafe. Would love to see Goldbergs take the old Houlihans and open on the weekends! Also, whatever restaurants end up filling these spaces, they need to add more outdoor/sidewalk dining!! It would add to the street life.

  22. midtown lover

    Someone needs to tell George Rohrig to do something with that awful empty lot he owns between 5th and 6th next to the 805 Peachtree Condo. It’s ugly, unsafe, and the main reason why he can’t keep retail going in 805 (which by the way, is the most fantastic condo development in the city).

  23. kevin.bacon

    Shut down peachtree for cars and make it pedestrian only. Push traffic onto piedmont/juniper/w. peachtree/spring (that should be enough lanes in each direction). Open peachtree for open air markets, etc. like they did for the atlanta art weekend. Anyway there is no reason anyone should drive on that stretch of Peachtree, ever.

  24. VT

    A street car is absolutely essential to breathing some more life into Midtown. Peachtree should be converted into a one way street with a MODERN looking street car traveling in both directions from Buckhead to Georgia State University. Make if free between the University and the Museum district and then something like $1.50 to get to Buckhead. Build small, green pocket parks around each stop and add water fountains and other beautification.

    Another idea? Its time to force the owners of dead lots to DO something with them. That means Rohrig, Drewberry, etc. They are sitting on their dirt and “waiting” until just the right moment. Well, that is screwing up the rest of the properties that are already there and are already contributing to the Midtown experience. They need a PUSH. Levy an ELEVATED property tax on any land that is just sitting there (TRIPLE IT). Once development starts, the property tax would be ELIMINATED while construction is ongoing (with proper proof of progress) and then the normal tax rate gets instituted once the project is complete and operational. That system punishes land owners for sitting on blighted or empty properties, and rewards those who get up off their butts and put the land to use. In the current market everyone is waiting for the next guy to get his act in gear. This creates momentum. An added bonus is that by forcing them to develop and build you are injecting funds into the local economy. If they stubbornly sit on their butts then they pay the elevated city tax, which we need any how. If they give up on the land, someone else will snatch it up and develop it.

  25. Alexander Midtown

    Yikes VT. Not a good understanding of economics huh? If you build it they will come is not a good plan for development. Also, forcing someone to develop when there isn’t a need will result in low rent buildings that are not worth while. I am all about growth on Peachtree as I am a resident on the “Midtown Mile” but, I am not for taxing to force growth. If they do build, it will lead to more vacant store fronts.

  26. K-Dogg

    I agree that the empty parking lots should be spruced up and maintained better… not to mention the vacant “Loca Luna” building next to Viewpoint that has housed vagrants for the past year and a half. I’d like to see that thing mowed to the ground. Why not make it a temporary neighborhood park until the economy improves and development can start again?

  27. mike

    Walking down Peachtree Street from downtown to midtown is about as exciting as walking down an alley. Sure restaurants scattered here and there, but not much more.

  28. VT

    @Alexander, actually I have a very good understanding of economics. If you remember your microeconomics class from college you will remember that people make their economic and business decisions based on an “expected utility” model, meaning they look at the pros and cons and take a reasoned approach. CON: Sitting on land and paying increased taxes. PRO: Developing the land and avoiding taxes altogether.

    These kinds of plans work very well in the North, where they understand that letting developers do whatever the hell they want without thought for zoning or impact on the community is NOT the way to go. They do things like tax levies and tax breaks as well as building moratoriums to manage growth because developers can not be trusted to do it themselves (not because they are evil or stupid, but because they are concerned with short term gain and not long-term (10-20-30 years) development). As residents, their financial gain is NOT our problem, what they leave behind IS. They don’t care about us, they care about making money (which is as it should be). What we need to care about is where we live. Developers up North hate regulation and oversight, but they are richer for it.

    The reason why businesses continue to shutter in Midtown (witness Avra, Chocolate Pink, Evo’s, Fuji Suhi, etc etc etc) is that they have to contend with large patches of abandoned, blighted, ugly, empty properties (which attract crime and the homeless). These kinds of businesses can not survive on the current population density…they need people to drive to Midtown and shop. That will not happen if its not walkable. Its not walkable if there are large empty lots every 2-3 blocks. At the very least, the land-owners should be forced to beautify their lots (making them temporary parks/gardens) until they get their act together. Bottom line? Their inaction is killing development and its hurting the Midtown residential experience.

  29. tomitron

    i walk home from work most days from five points to midtown — the street has got its problems but, mike, “as exciting as walking down an alley”?

  30. Alexander Midtown

    VT, that’s great and all but, lets look at a real example: Atlantic Station. It was built and it was a mid/high end and a quality project. The market was over saturated with empty store fronts, vacant units that resulted in lower income residents and that brought crime and a huge decreased property value. A tower was built to help fill out the development, The Atlantic, and now it as huge failure because there is not a need. I am for growth but not just for the sake of it. I wish tomorrow Midtown Mile was a bustling street with street cars and towers as high as the eye can see but, I am not willing to risk lowered property value, buildings that are not a contribution to the midtown skyline and poor planning just because a developer was taxed into acting when the market is not ready.

    Rome wasn’t built in a day and the Mile, a relatively new idea, won’t be either. Look how long Centennial Park took to take shape.

  31. Jason Teeter

    @VT – well said. The developers in this town are morons. They own properties that sit vacant and harm their other properties. Talk about stupid.

    Also, a major major problem is the Pine Street shelter. 700 men!! That’s right, 700! They are a menace. Most aggressive pan handlers I’ve ever seen. They break into cars constantly.

  32. VT

    @ Alexander
    I would say there is a chicken and egg thing here. They don’t want to build until the people start spending more time and money in midtown, but they won’t spend more time and money if there is no building going on. Midtown has had these empty lots for years, though. Its not working. People will start showing up if you do something about the lots and fill in the dead space with SOMETHING (even public gardens). The problem with Atlantic Station is that it started out good but then succumbed to the “thug” crowd that was attracted to the 12 Hotel, which basically services drug dealers, hookers, athlete hanger-ons, and rapper wannabes. Atlantic Station just got bought out by Mark Toro, and I have a lot of faith that it will be turned around. Midtown’s biggest issues are not the same as Atlantic Station’s though…with midtown, its empty lots and the homeless shelter on Pine which services 6-700 men (as well as the Church on 5th Street which gives free meals to about another 100). The panhandling is out of control. Midtown Blue does a serviceable job (at least the hookers stopped hanging out on the corner of 5th and Peachtree). These land-owners and developers need to be more accountable to the city and the residents.

  33. Trent

    @Alexander

    Well,I’m tired of waiting. I’ve lived in Midtown for 11 years. There have been changes but they have not delivered on the experience that they have promoted (walkable, bustling, friendly, good shopping, etc). Some growth needs to be organic…you can’t plan it all out, but some of the growth hasn’t happened because the developers can’t get their acts together. Even if you don’t want to or can’t force them to build, you can at least force them to clean up their lots. They are total ugly spots that discourage people from hanging out and other developers or businesses from setting up shop. 805 Peachtree is a phenomenal building, but stores have not stayed there because the huge ugly lot next door looks like a good place to get mugged (or catch a disease from all the puddle of standing water). We are too complacent about this stuff int he South. Typical hands-off attitude from government too scared to hurt the feelings of developers and builders. Those lots on Peachtree would NEVER be allowed in cities like Boston, Philadelphia, etc. I mean think about it PEACHTREE STREET is supposed to be our Madison Ave, our 5th Ave, our Miracle Mile…its the most representative street in Atlanta’s Brand, and it looks like crap.

  34. The Stanford Cardinal

    Let me guess, the people requesting higher taxes for savy property owners holding land investments voted for Obama?

  35. Mike

    The momentum in Midown is there. If they could fill up the rest of the vacant spots in 12th and Midtown, Viewpoint, Spire, the old 5th Street Cafe, and in 999 Peachtree. There are enough people living and working to fill up these spots. And please, someone open a Chipotle and a frozen yogurt shop on Peachtree! Also, an independent pub would be great and an Indian restaurant.

    Finally, that empty yellow building at the corner of 3rd next to Hotel Indigo could be an awesome German/Bavarian restaurant or some type of tavern. The empty lot next to it would make a great outdoor patio and some parking behind the building!

  36. Jason Teeter

    @Stanford Cardinal

    What a typically arrogant thing to say. Voting for Obama is something to be proud about (in my book) and has NOTHING to do with wanting to hold developers accountable. The developers are capitalists who don’t care about the community. They care about their pocketbooks. As residents we need to care about ourselves. Quit sucking up to these toads. Even if you find coercive taxation to force them to develop is the wrong way to go, you have to admit that they should not be allowed to let their empty lots exist as awful eyesores that impede development and encourage crime. When you have an abandoned house in your neighborhood with weeds grown up around it and trash in the front yard I’ll bet you’re the first one to pick up a phone and call the city to FINE the owner or (if things don’t improve) confiscate the property. Why shouldn’t these developers be held to the same standard? They’re lousy neighbors and they should be taken to task. Let me guess…all the people who are sucking up to the developers must’ve voted for McCain, right?

  37. Roll Tide

    @Stanford–I didn’t vote for Obama and never would but that’s a really silly and unhelpful comment. You obviously don’t know anything about development. The empty lots are the number one reason why Midtown growth has stalled and businesses can’t maintain. I like the idea of motivating builders by offering a choice: clean up and beautify the lot (and get a tax holiday while doing it) or let it sit there and eat the increased taxation. It’s not like they’re not being given a choice. This idea offers punishment and rewards not just punishment. I voted for McCain by the way but I know a good idea when I see one.

  38. Roddy

    Just heard the news that the owners of Fritti are opening a high end Mexican restaurant where 5th Street Cafe /Eno used to be!!!!!! Yay!!!!! Midtown Resurgens!!!

  39. Sheila H

    @ Stanford hahaha…yeah right. Savvy! Hilarious. How savvy is it for someone to buy a piece if land and sit on it for 8 years?!?

  40. Jason Rathley

    I don’t believe that any one thing can totally transform Midtown but if I were to pick the top three they would be

    1) convert empty lots into public gardens for the time being.

    2) get rid if the Pune Street shelter. We need to help our homeless but having a shelter on the most important street in the city is just plain stupid. Those men are poor, uneducated, and hungry and they need our compassion but many of them are also crooks and thieves and they are killing commerce.

    3) do whatever it takes to bring an Apple Store to Peachtree. It should either go in the bottom of 805 Peachtree or at 999 Peachtree. Midtown has the perfect demographic to sustain an Apple Store and no other brand drives foot traffic like an Apple Store. Period. Give them a total tax holiday for 3 years if necessary.

  41. The Stanford Cardinal

    HA! Nothing like some good political commentary to incite emotion and ruffle feathers! Way to take the bait!

    @ Jason Teeter: Yes, developers are capitalists. They’re here to run a business and make money, good for them. Oh, and as by product, hopefully they improve our community along the way. Raising taxes as means to force development, what a joke.

    @ Roll Tide: Midtown didn’t stall because the empty lots. Development and growth in Midtown stalled due to the evaporation of capital. Demand, all the other reasons, do not drive development. Capital does. Developments failed due to lack of capital and new development ceased due to lack of capital. The advancement of the neighborhood is completely contingent on the availability of liquidity. In the meantime, stop killing trees at Toomer’s Corner with your hillbilly buddies.

    @ Sheila H: You’re not doing yourself any justice. Buying a piece of land and sitting on it for 8 years could be extremely productive. Many factors go into it, but you obviously have no clue of the land investors cost basis relative to market value over those 8 years. There’s a real good reason why a land buyer recently purchased the W. Peachtree and 14th Street corner and another real good reason why another buyer recently purchased the surface lot between Spring and W. Peachtree on 14th Street. Who knows, it may take them 8 years to realize their investment, but if I had to guess, those two SAVVY investors will end up doing fairly well with their investment.

  42. Pandora Lee

    Actually raising taxes and imposing “must develop” legislation and taxation zoning is exactly how Pittsburgh and Baltimore successfully overhauled their versions of “midtown.” also making an investment in land without developing it for 8 years is idiotic. That’s what happened to the Swedish investor who owned all of the midtown lots that Rohrig has built (and not built) on in Midtown and Buckhead. He stupidly sat on it and the rights lapsed. He went under and Rohrig snatched it up. Stanford Cardinal, you should take a basic investment class. What do they teach at your alma mater, underwater basket weaving?

  43. The Stanford Cardinal

    @ Pandora Lee: You’re really going to compare Midtown to Pittsburgh and Baltimore? Wow, great aspirations. By the way, Lars Gellestadt, the Swedish investor you speak of, was a great visionary and ran into financial troubles during the worst real estate cycles ever (early 90’s – look it up). Midtown was not the problem. Good luck in life.

  44. mike

    For some reason bussiness does not or cannot set up shop in intown. A good example of that is the area around the aquarium. Millions of tourist roaming around the streets each year down there with only a handfull of restaurants. No retail and loads of parking lots. Take the Hilton Garden where the short lived patriotism museum was, now nothing more than a dark building directly across from the aquarium. One would think that business would be knocking each other over to capitalize on procurring that space.

    I

  45. ethix

    Like it or not, Dewberry had the vision that the land at 10th/peachtree would be worth a lot when nobody else thought it would. As he has sat on it, the value has gone up and up and up. If he believes the value will continue to go up, he has every right to sit on it longer. I dont see how other developers chosing to take huge bank loans and develop projects that turned out to be non-profitable is smarter than what Dewberry has done.

  46. Modtown Lover

    Solutions for Midtown:

    1) Apple Store

    2) Another coffee shop. Starbucks is always packed.

    3) Street Car (but not a trolley…something modern like they have in Valencia Spain)

    4)A jazz club

    5)get the FDA to move out of that building they own ac cross from Metroplois…it doesn’t belong there.

    6) Make owners of empty lots and abandoned properties (like the old Loca Luna) clean up their lots or let civic groups turn them into public gardens until they are ready for development.

    7) Apple Store (did I mention that?)

  47. Volkan

    I have to agree with VT and Modtown Lover (Modtown not Midtown, right?).

    The developers need to get their act together. Some sort of Carrott and Stick approach seems reasonable. They are holding us up. I also strongly agree that we need an Apple Store in Midtown. That’s the kind of key development that sets off a domino effect. Apple shows up, then suddenly you have other desirable chains and boutiques, etc.

  48. ATLAffinity

    Modtown,

    My slightly different take on your list:

    1. Whole Foods (no, the one in O4W doesn’t count)

    2. Apple (doubtful until the economy reboots)

    Those are the “halo effect” stores that would brandish our image. The freaking St. Regis touts their proximity to a Whole Foods.

    Anyone else notice that CB2 is often empty. How can it survive without neighbors?

  49. mike

    The thing with Atlanta is there are too many areas with only small pockets of activity. Not enough happening in any one area to make people want to get out of there car and walk around. One or two places open and then by the time something else comes along the first places that opened have already shut their doors

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