Buckhead, Atlanta
Buckhead is one area of Atlanta that can expect to see growth in terms of mixed-use developments. Photo: Katherine Welles / Shutterstock

Mixed-Use Developments Bring Sense of Community to Atlanta

From Buckhead to Midtown to Westside, mixed-use developments are cropping up all over Atlanta, offering residents the convenience of living, working and playing all in one walkable area.

For example, Midtown added 970 residential units and 40,000 square feet of retail from mixed-use developments in 2013 alone, according to the Midtown Alliance. In June 2014, the Midtown Development Review Committee approved three new mixed-use projects that the Alliance estimates could bring an additional 6,500 residents to the area.

Some anticipated mixed-use developments in Atlanta include:

Buckhead Atlanta, Fall 2014: This long-awaited mix of restaurants, retail space, apartments and office space will span six city blocks, and future tenants include Spanx — its worldwide headquarters will be based there — and upscale retail stores such as Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Tod’s. Its 370-unit residential component, The Residence Buckhead Atlanta, began pre-leasing in April; residents will begin moving in this fall.

Ponce City Market, Fall 2014: A renovation of the historic Sears, Roebuck & Co. building, this project by Jamestown Development will encompass art galleries, office space, 259 apartments and a Chelsea Market-style food hall with H & F Burger, Chai Pani Indian Streetfood and Simply Seoul Kitchen as tenants.

Westside, Spring 2015: This as-yet-unnamed mid-rise by Perennial Properties will add 230 apartments and approximately 9,000 square feet of retail space to the parcel next to The Optimist, a restaurant in trendy Westside.

Morningside, Spring 2016: Situated at the intersection of the Morningside and Virginia Highland neighborhoods, this unnamed project by Fuqua Development will encapsulate 44,000 square feet of retail space fronting Piedmont Road and 300 residential units.

Braves Ballpark, Spring 2017: Atlantic Realty plans to build 600 apartments for the mixed-use development anchored by the Atlanta Braves’ new suburban ballpark, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retail, restaurants, office space and a boutique hotel are also in the works.

Developers believe these properties and their ilk are investments in their respective communities. “When you mix the uses, you have multiple audiences using the same space at different times of the day, and as a result you have an opportunity to invest more in the urban fabric … the opportunity to create more of a walkable environment,” says Hunter Richardson, managing director of development at Oliver McMillan, the company behind the Buckhead Atlanta development.

Mixed-use projects also maximize real estate’s full potential, Richardson adds.

“You have multiple audiences in the same jurisdiction, with different ‘trip itineraries,’” he says, referring to people who use the development for different purposes. “Then they start to cross over: The person coming to shop stays and dines, the person who comes to dine stays to shop, so you get a synergy of uses that way.”

These types of properties are particularly attractive to renters and homeowners because they offer a double layer of amenities: the residential units themselves and then the on-site retail and restaurants, Richardson says.

“We view Buckhead Atlanta as being six city blocks within Buckhead, as opposed to a project we just dropped into the [neighborhood],” explains Richardson. He says the development’s use of eclectic architectural elements, streetscaping and intentionally mature landscaping are made to look as if the plants “had been there for years.”

“We’ve got a unique walkable urban experience that will be an excellent addition to Atlanta,” he says.