Friday, August 8, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: First Buckhead Atlanta Openings to Occur Next Month

An aerial show of Buckhead Atlanta 
Believe it or not, OliverMcMillan's Buckhead Atlanta project is currently on schedule.  As their tagline says, "Making Special Places Happen," is what OliverMcMillan does. Delayed and abandoned and for years, the sad eyesore everyone hated to see, Buckhead Atlanta is finally about to open.  Buckhead Atlanta, which spans six city blocks in the heart of Buckhead will see the opening of number of tenants next month, according to Rocell "Rocky" Viniard, Regional Marketing Director of OliverMcMillan. 

According to Viniard, the following retailers plan to be open on September 18th:   

Brunello Cucinelli, known for their luxurious Italian cashmere sweaters and ready to wear fashions (2,491 square feet on Bolling Way)

Canali, specializing in tailor-made suiting and related men's apparel (2,111 square foot space on Buckhead Avenue)

diptyque, a Paris-based manufacturer of assorted perfumes, candles and face & body care products (496 square feet at Bolling Way)

Hermès, a Paris-based manufacturer widely known for their sought after handbags, neckties, scarves and assorted other luxury goods (4,100 square foot space on Buckhead Avenue and Bolling Way)

L’Occitane, a French retailer known for their wide assortment of face and body lotions and fragrances (2,784 square foot space on Buckhead Avenue)

Moncler, a retailer known for their ski-inspired apparel and footwear  (1,899 square foot space on Bolling Way)

Scoop NYC, retailer of designer and contemporary ready-to-wear apparel, shoes and accessories  (2,461 square foot space on Buckhead Avenue)

theory, a contemporary New York-based retailer of men's and women's apparel.  Theory previously had a location within Phipps Plaza, but it closed in early 2012.  (2,580 square foot space at Bolling Way)

Warby Parker, stylish eyewear retailer with a limited retail network (2,045 square feet on Buckhead Avenue)

Additionally, four restaurants also plan to open:

Corso Coffee, New York-based coffee bar Italian-style coffee bar featuring handcrafted beverages, assorted pastries and live music  (1,596 square foot space on Peachtree Road)

Gypsy Kitchen, a "Spanish Fusion" restaurant from the creators of Tin Lizzy's and The Big Ketch (3,750 square foot space on Peachtree Road)

Shake Shack, a casual New York based burger, shake and fry eatery created by esteemed restaurantuer Danny Meyer (2,500 square foot space on Peachtree Road)

Thirteen Pies, an artisan pizza eatery  (4,300 square foot space on Buckhead Avenue)

Hermès nears completion 
Italian luxury retailer Etro  (2,214 square foot store on Buckhead Avenue) plans to open by the end of September.  Local Gastropub Southern Gentleman (3,750 square foot space on Peachtree Road) and breakfast, lunch and dinner eatery Le Bilboquet (3,686 square foot space on Bolling Way) will follow in early October.  

Relocated to its current home, Fado Irish Pub and Hermes (previously in Lenox Square) will both be open on Buckhead Avenue.   

According to a release I obtained from OM, "each week through the end of the year, you [customers] will be able to experience a new retailer or restaurant that has opened at Buckhead Atlanta." 

This list would likely include retailers Akris, Bella Bag, Christian Louboutin,  Helmut Lang, Jimmy Choo, Theory, Tod’s, and Spanx.  

Restaurants opening in the coming months will include American Cut, American Food and Beverage, Doraku Sushi, Georgetown Cupcake, Lugo Cucina Italiana, and Qing Mu.

*American Cut, Corso Coffee and Lugo Cucina Italiana are all concepts from New York-based LDV [ La Dolce Vita] Hospitality.  Doraku Sushi and Qing Mu, a noodle eatery, are both concepts from Kevin Aoki son on Benihana founder Rocky Aoki.  

Some openings will not occur until early next year, others may not open until next spring.  

As Hunter Richardson, Managing Director of Development at OliverMcMillan said in an interview with me, many of the retailers (opening in Buckhead Atlanta) only open a handful of stores a year, so the build-outs take longer than mass merchant stores.

The future Spanx offices and retail store center in glass with Le Bilboquet to the right 
I asked Richardson if there was any one retailer or restaurant that he and Buckhead Atlanta would love to have in the project.  Richardson responded by saying that they [Buckhead Atlanta] still have a "a few targeted retailers and restaurants." He was not at liberty to name any, but indicated that they were likely to be other "best in class" or "first to market" retailers and could be included in subsequent phases of the project.  

According to Richardson, the single biggest challenge he and OliverMcMillan faced in bringing Buckhead Atlanta to life was "getting the retail community to believe."  The massive project had been stalled for years, and the economic climate was not ideal for getting luxury retailers to commit to new stores.  Little by little, one after another, retailers committed, and in the case of Hermes and others, re-committed to the project.  (John Lobb, a brand owned by Hermès and a purveyor known for their made-to-measure mens footwear, was previously announced to be opening a 902 square foot boutique next to Hermes, but as of now those plans have been shelved).  

Many readers have also asked if Chanel may be coming to the project, alas, according to Amy Fingerhut, Vice President of CBRE retail services in Atlanta, "Chanel isn't happening."  

Despite earlier rumors to the contrary, Richardson indicated that there will be no "pedestrian only" streets, and that all streets affected by and within the project will be reopened by the end of September.  

Workers painstakingly work to complete the new Bolling Way that runs through Buckhead Atlanta
Many readers have asked about the parking situation at Buckhead Atlanta and Richardson was kind enough to provide some clarification. According to Hunter, Buckhead Atlanta will have a total of 2,400 parking spaces (shared between The Residences, the retail & restaurant component and the offices).  2,200 of these spaces will be located within two decks, with the balance located within two street level surface lots.

Parking options will include both self and valet.  Valet parking will reportedly be available at a flat rate, while self parking will be free for the first hour, then charged on a per hour basis, but with a capped maximum daily charge.  

I asked Richardson about the decision to reduce the square footage dedicated to restaurant and retail from 600,000 square feet.  According to Richardson, that amount had already been reduced when under Ben Carter's control, and the current 300,000 square feet was meant to "right size" the project.  

Buckhead Atlanta, first called Buckhead Avenues, and later Streets of Buckhead, was conceived by developer Ben Carter with his land assemblage purchases in 2006.  Originally proposed to be a $1.5 billion project, the development has changed over the years and has lost some tenants while it has gained others.  San Diego-based OliverMcMillan purchased the property from Ben Carter in May 2011. Richardson estimates the project is now about a $1 billion project.  While there were again setbacks and issues obtaining financing, the project has not looked back since construction restarted in early 2013.    

Baccarat Hotel & Residences and 1 Hotel & Residences, both from Barry Sternlicht's Starwood Capital Group, were previously announced to be opening in The Streets of Buckhead.   Today, there are no (current) plans for any hotels, although that may change as stores begin to open and additional phases are built. 

In preparation for my interview with Hunter Richardson, I found that he was Vice President of Development for Turner Sports & Entertainment.  Richardson held this position from early 1998 until early 2000 and it was on his watch, and with his guidance, that Philips Arena was built and CNN Center was renovated. This experience would seem to have made him especially qualified to lead the team to develop the new Atlanta Braves stadium and accompanying  mixed-use development.  According to Richardson, while he and  OliverMcMillan were at one point interested in the project, they determined it did not align with their vision for future projects.  The Atlanta Braves announced last month that a team led by Fuqua Development, Pope & Land Enterprises, and Pollack Shores Real Estate Group will develop the project, which includes up to 630,000 square feet of class A office space, 500,000 square feet of upscale retail, 450 hotel rooms and 500 residences. The Braves project is slated for completion in mid 2017.

With Buckhead Atlanta opening and Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza each undergoing multi-million dollar renovations and expansions, Buckhead visitors and residents may never need to leave home to shop ever again.  

What store or restaurant in Buckhead Atlanta are you most looking forward to?  
What restaurant or retailer would you most like to see open in Buckhead Atlanta?  
Has the name "Buckhead Atlanta" started to resonate with you or will it be as hard for that to stick as it will be for Brighten Park to replace Loehmann's Plaza?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

I'll be looking most foward to is TODS. Ive been wearing their shoes for years and am glad to have a store close by. I would love to see Thomas Pink get added to the project , i think it would be a good fit.

Anonymous said...

I'm not so sold on the ultra high end concept flying in ATL. It wont completely fail but it won't be near the success that Avalon will be. Different projects, yes, but they will be compared just based on development timeframe.

I think BA eventually evolves into a more "mid to upper" and not high end center. Just look at Phipps... It's gone from high end to having a freakin LegoLand!

Anonymous said...

Oliver McMillan deserves a standing ovation for bringing this project to fruition despite some fairly significant challenges, not the least of which was the economy. The project's impact, within the context of the rapid and substantial changes in Atlanta's retail profile evidenced by the changes at the Simon malls; Westside Provisions and Ponce City Market, will resonant far beyond Buckhead.

Looking forward to future announcements like La Perla that will continue to add to the luster of this monumental project.

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to eating at Shake Shack; want to see a Jay Kos boutique and, understand that the current name will morph into Buckhead Village.

Anonymous said...

When will they start on the other phases and when will they open?

Anonymous said...

Warby Parker is a full service eye glass retailer, not just sunglasses.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon #2 - with the headquarters of multiple Fortune 500 companies, the busiest airport in the world, a growing international resident base and some of America's richest suburbs, why would high-end retail not work in Atlanta?

Anonymous said...

Living between Miami and Atlanta , I see many Similarities between BA and the Miami design district, which also is a street grid urban shopping area that took years to develop. But it is now an incredible success and i imagine In a few years ultra high end retailers will be clamoring to rent spaces there. It is my observation that in mega cities (sorry tampa and Charlotte) brands like Prada and Cartier and LV like to have urban standalone flagship stores if they can. Congratulations to BA for having the vision to achieve this.

Anonymous said...

Look at Phipps. They tried this ultra high end approach and its now got a top floor with Moes, Johnny Rockets and LegoLand.

ATL is just not NYC, Paris or even San Fran.

I do commend OM as well for finishing the project. Certainly not rooting for it to fail, but I just see its future as a more mainstream center and not a Rodeo Drive of the South.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon #7. If there wasn't a strong enough luxury market in Atlanta, then the majority of the tenants at BA wouldn't have even batted an eye at this city, let alone would BA even have been built. There's a huge trade market here, and people from all over the South travel to Atlanta because of its impressive offerings, making it a potentially attractive market for first-to-market retailers to invest in the area.

Atlanta clearly isn't a New York or a Los Angeles, no one said it was. That's pretty pointless to bring up anyhow IMO.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see it come to finalization! But Im not sure ATL has the Market for it. Those are VERY Adult Brands coming into play...ATL is a 20-30something City. This is fabulous in it's idealization...but not very practical because it excludes a MAJOR demographic in that city. ATL just isnt NYC or Miami for that matter.

AJ said...

Legoland at Phipps is not a fair comparison. Simon jumped at the money. Simon could've kept Phipps as an upscale mall. They chose to go the Legoland route. They didn't have to.

Anonymous said...

Have you been to Phipps recently? They most certainly *had to* go the LegoLand route. They've had stores dropping like flies the last 6-7 years. Even letting Belk take an anchor spot illustrates that.

We'll see if BA can maintain it's intent. It's not goimg to be an easy go of it.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure this will be a fine project for ATL, but does anyone ever do a traffic study to determine the effects of the development on traffic? That's the whole problem with Atlanta, build, build, build and traffic be damned. Let's just turn the key to the whole city over to developers, which is what the city has done. Why is there no upgrading of roads taking place? Currently, Paces Ferry is a nightmare, with only one lane in each direction open. Pharr Road isn't much better. I can't even begin to imagine the negative effects this development will have on Peachtree Road traffic. It's like, let's build to the hilt, and screw the people sitting in traffic on Peachtree Road.

Anonymous said...

Using Phipps as the bedrock for your argument does nothing to support said argument at all, because even after the addition of Legoland, it managed to strengthen its luster with the likes of Agent Provocateur, Giuseppe Zanotti, Hublot, and Trina Turk among others. AJ is correct. Simon most certainly did not have to include Legoland into Phipps' retail portfolio because of its status as a fortress mall.

Anonymous said...

A fortress mall? Laughable.

They've had pop-up Christmas shops the past few years. I would hardly call Justice a hih end retailer (since everytime I walk by the entire store is selling at 60% off.

Niketown leaving was the end was beginning of the wind down for Phipps. As of now the best thing going for it are the restuarants.... And Tiffany.

In fact I've ever heard they've cut some deals just to keep some stores alive (eg. River Street Sweets... They've had two going out of business sales/store closing sales in the past 3 years.)

Anonymous said...

Not everyone understands retail or the size of Atlanta's market. Not only does Buckhead serve Georgia, it also is the shopping destination for the Carolinas, Tennessee, Alabama, and North Florida. Those in Mountain Brook, Bell Meade, shop just as hard as those in Sandy Springs and Alpharetta.

Anonymous said...

There are numerous daily direct flights from Atlanta to New York City for the well heeled. Those from smaller markets like Charlotte or Birmingham will travel to Atlanta to get their fill, but ultimately a destination like New York will fill all your needs at once. Buckhead Atlanta will have its place, however those with unlimited resources will travel to fill their wants and needs.

Anonymous said...

Let's be reminded, there is a massive "skate park" in the bowels of Phipps - that most are not aware of. I find this fascinating and would love for someone to share what they know about it.

Anonymous said...

It could be as successful as Terminus! Just think of all the people that will flock to the area after hours, deal with traffic getting there, pay to park and still have time to drive somewhere else to find something to do!

/sour Buckhead worker who wishes traffic solutions were a priority

Anonymous said...

I also do not agree that Buckhead Atlanta will fail as a high end center. These luxury names know their customer very well; much better than anyone commenting here. I think luxury retailers are pretty cautious now. Dolce & Gabbana and Dior both supposedly were located at Phipps in the 1990's. Atlanta was definitely not ready for either at that point, but today I think both would be a good fit for the market. Atlanta is near the size of Dallas and Houston, however, luxury retail was pretty lacking in Atlanta compared to the other 2. However, once BA opens it will be on par.

Anonymous said...

The traffic impact is going to royally suck. Just look at Peachtree between Lenox and Piedmont on the weekend. The traffic is worse than rush hour during the week. The one good thing about BA is the multiple access points,which Lenox does not have. The infrastructure is slightly better over there.

I am looking forward to the restaurants. We need a better selection in Buckhead.

If you want a good laugh check out the rents for the apartments at BA. Insane.

Anonymous said...

Wait, no "pedestrian only" sections? Are you f-ing kidding me? What a disaster. We shouldnt worry. It wont be long before they will have to enact the closed streets at night a la Atlantic Station. I predict there will be A LOT of drive through traffic / cruising.

So tired of every development being so damn car centric. Let them park and walk around. Most of the people here need the damn exercise anyway.

Anonymous said...

For the people thinking this will not work remember that Atlanta had more visitors last year than Las Vegas, not everyone in Atlanta is broke, some of these stores only have a couple of locations in the US so this will make this project standout plus the same people that travel hours to visit LS on the weekend will also visit BA. Atlanta will have some of the best shopping outside of the top 5 shopping cities once PCM and BA release their entire retail tenant list so Atlanta will be more of an shopping destination than what it is now

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon RE: Skatepark at Lenox,

I can assure you with 100% certainty that the skatepark is in fact in the basement of Phipps Plaza rather than Lenox Square, or Lenox Mall as your cited source indicates. The skatepark occupies what was once the Niketown stockroom / regional distribution center.

Please see this earlier post for additional details.

Thanks for your comments and readership.

Anonymous said...

RE: comment about Vegas and Atlanta visitors. That could not be a more misleading statistic. How are visitors defined? Coming through the airport? Night stay in the hotel? Conventions? Personal travel / tourism?

Anonymous said...

People need to realize that Phipps is 830,000 square feet. That is too large to be an exclusively upscale mall, especially with Lenox across the street. Remember, the most upscale mall (in probably the whole world) is Bal Harbour Shops in Miami, which has only 500,000 square feet. Atlanta can't handle a Phipps full of luxury retailers.

I am a little disappointed with Phipps, also. Lenox is really the more impressive mall, in my opinion. Lenox has just as many (if not more) luxury tenants, NM at Lenox is nicer than Saks at Phipps, and Bloomingdale's at Lenox is nicer than Nordstrom at Phipps. Also, it seems like a lot of the brands you can get at Phipps are also at Lenox. NM has a Giorgio Armani boutique, a Bottega Veneta handbag section, Giuseppe Zanotti, Jimmy Choo, etc. Basically what I am trying to say is that I think Lenox offers a little more overall, and if I could only visit 2 for luxury items I would visit BA and Lenox and skip Phipps. I like how the luxury wing at Lenox is busier than the luxury court at Phipps, and I like it that way. Phipps is kind of dead and depressing. Gucci, which has been at Phipps since the mall has opened, is probably a better fit at Lenox anyway.

I would really prefer to have Lenox be larger (like Houston Galleria) and just not have Phipps, to be honest.

Anonymous said...

Like I said in the comments of the Phipps article, using traffic as an excuse to be against development is saying you're for Atlanta remaining as it is right now indefinitely. We have horrible traffic now and we are going to have horrible traffic after new development is built. Would rather have horrible traffic with stuff to look at instead of horrible traffic and empty lots.

Anonymous said...

Atlanta has more visitors than Las Vegas

Anonymous said...

Phipps did not ALLOW Belk into their mall as a matter of fact they along with the summit lifestyle center in birmingham tried to sue to prevent them from opening in each of their respected mall/ shopping center saying it would dilute the brand..belk had bought Parisian from SAKS who at the time had their corporate headquters in birmingham. Finally I think they both conceded by belk opening up flagship stores

Anonymous said...

I think Buckhead Atlanta is a terrible name and will be extremely confusing as there is already a "Buckhead, Atlanta"!!! What were they thinking?!! Hope it does become the Buckhead Village or something else.

The key to OM's project's success will be the ease of parking and getting to it! If Peachtree Rd., Roswell Rd. the W. Paces & E. Paces Rds. become impossible to navigate............there goes the OM/BA success!! Wake up Atlanta!! Also the CID needs to hurry up and decide how the traffic/streets/park can work. Should have thought of this before OM/BA construction started!

Anonymous said...

Un-anchored lux is going to be a tough sell, especially with paid parking.

The brand line-up is nice, but none are a draw in and of themsleves to carry a project. Most of them have a representation in Saks, Neiman Marcus, or Nordstrom. Not sure there is enough market to justify a stand alone store for any of them.

The comparison to the design district in Miami is a stretch. Miami has a massive influx of foreign capital and tourism that ATL doesnt. Plus the design district has the backing of LVMH as partial owner.

Nice to see it finally developed, but I dont see it knocking off Lenox / Phipps anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

Good grief people, so far we have established that Atlanta is not as good as Miami or Dallas or Houston or etc... Where is some civic pride around here? You would think we were talking about Huntsville Alabama !! Surely no one can predict the future, but I would venture that BA is going to do just fine. I look forward to reading about their planned expansion 10 years from now!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to OM for pulling this off. It looks to be a one-of-a-kind experience in Atlanta.

However, Buckhead Atlanta is still as stupid a name now as it was three years ago. Nobody likes it. Nobody has gotten used to it. And there is still plenty of time to change the name. If you don't believe me, hire a marketing firm to survey Atlantans.

Anonymous said...

I really wish they would open a Nespresso Store at this development

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