Masterpiece set for ‘symphony center’ site — skyscrapers
- Amy Wenk and Douglas Sams, Staff Writers
A Manhattan developer wants to build one of Atlanta’s tallest skyscrapers.
A team that includes New York-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. and international design firm Arquitectonica is planning a nearly 2 million-square-foot development for Midtown’s long-vacant “symphony center” site at 98 14th Street.
The 4.5-acre site sandwiched between the 50-story One Atlantic Center and the 41-story 1180 Peachtree tower could be under contract, according to real estate sources.
Developers are pitching three towers for the property — one that would soar to 56 stories, including 34 floors of residential and 22 floors of hotel. Midtown’s Bank of America Plaza, with its 23-karat, gold-leafed spire, is now the tallest building on the skyline at 55 stories.
Two other residential towers would have 46 floors each.
In total, the project could include 95,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, 1,350 apartments, 270 hotel rooms and about 1,200 parking spaces.
“It validates Atlanta as an area of job growth and as an area for institutional investment,” said Steve Baile, senior vice president of Daniel Corp. “And, it validates the strength of certain markets such as Midtown.”
Ashkenazy has looked for sites in Atlanta for some time. The firm has an impressive portfolio of landmark properties including Union Station in Washington, D.C., , Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston, Rivercenter in San Antonio, and several properties along Madison Avenue in Manhattan.
An attorney for Ashkenazy declined to comment.
There’s likely another developer involved in the project.
The team on Nov. 22 is expected to file plans with the city of Atlanta and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs because the project is large enough to qualify as a “development of regional impact,” or DRI.
The Woodruff Arts Center owns the symphony center site. It took center stage several years ago when it was going to house a new $300 million Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert hall designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
About $100 million in private dollars were raised for the project, but an anticipated $100 million in state and local funding didn’t come through. The Woodruff Arts Center now wants to build a new symphony hall at the corner of 15th and Peachtree streets.
Woodruff Arts Center spokesman Randy Donaldson declined to comment on whether the site was under contract.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations with a lot of prospective buyers,” he said.
The land could sell for as much as $30 million, said one real estate expert. That’s more than $6.5 million an acre.
For the past decade, capital has been pouring into Midtown — the city’s most walkable district — to fund development of office towers and mixed-use projects. Although the downturn halted momentum in the office sector, Midtown has emerged as the city’s hottest district for high-rise residential projects..
Ashkenazy, which invests in high-profile projects in several urban markets across the country, likely sees Midtown at the heart of that demographic shift.
“It validates the demand in Midtown and the belief in the long-term improvement of the city, including education,” said Thad Ellis, a senior executive with Cousins Properties Inc. who heads office leasing for the Atlanta-based company.
While the office market used to get the headlines, for now it’s residential and mixed-use projects that are driving new development in Midtown, he said.