Tuesday, December 12, 2017

[EXCLUSIVE] Dolce to Shutter in The Shops Buckhead Atlanta

Sources tell ToNeTo Atlanta that New York-based LDV Hospitality plans to close Dolce Italian at The Shops Buckhead Atlanta on Saturday December 30.  The restaurant, located on the second floor of the project at the corner of Buckhead Avenue and Bolling Way, opened in August 2015.   
Dolce Italian at The Shops Buckhead Atlanta 
LDV will continue to operate their American Cut and Regent Cocktail Club concepts and is reportedly "doubling down" on making them both successful with menu updates and improvements planned for both.

This past August, LDV closed their upscale coffee shop, Corso Coffee, also located in The Shops Buckhead Atlanta.  "The Mourning Dove," a new coffee concept from the owners of Revelator Coffee, opened in place of Corso last week.  

ToNeTo Atlanta has been told by multiple people for over a month that Dolce was closing "soon" and that employees were aware of the pending closure.  Only this week were we able to confirm an expected closing date.  Given what is surely a complicated leasing situation, LDV said that they were "unable to comment at this time" when ToNeTo Atlanta reached out to their local representative regarding the closure. 

If the closure does happen as expected, Dolce would be the fourth restaurant and at least the ninth tenant overall to close in the posh Buckhead center.  

Previous restaurant closures include American Food+BeverageThirteen Pies and Corso Coffee.  Retailers that have closed in the project include Scoop, Kit + Ace,Denim & Soul and Helmut Lang.
Urbana Wellness Spa also closed in the center last year, after about six months in business.  

Local sources in the center indicate that there are a number of retailers that are likely to bow out of the project next year with Brunello Cucinelli a leading candidate.  Well placed retail sources indicate that Cucinelli's Buckhead outpost is the worst performing store globally for the Italian brand. 

San Diego-based developer OliverMcMillan, which owns and manages the Buckhead Atlanta project, has in recent months added a number of "pop-up" and temporary tenants to the project, but many fear it's simply not enough to move the needle.  Local pesto, seasoning and salt purveyor Bella Cucina recently opened a temporary holiday shop at the project, as did Miracle Two, a Christmas-themed cocktail bar. 

One specialty the project is not lacking is in the fitness area, where it includes the likes of F45 Training, Flywheel, Highland Yoga and newcomer Barry's Bootcamp.  

Overall, OliverMcMillan seems unwilling to loosen their grip on the center as exclusively for luxury retailers.  Retailers like H&M, Spain's Mango or Canada's Aritzia would likely be draws to the project, but are not especially "aspirational" or "luxury" and for that reason, may not fit the mold of what OliverMcMillan has in mind for the project.  That said, it could also be that many retailers, at all levels, are hesitant to open in such a challenged project where Hermes and Christian Louboutin are reportedly among the only retailers doing "well."  French restaurant Le Bilboquet leads the pack as far as restaurants go, with Shake Shack performing well too.  

What are your thoughts on The Shops Buckhead Atlanta? What would you like to see open in place of Dolce if they do close at the end of the year? What tenant could be added to The Shops Buckhead Atlanta to make you want to go [spend] more often?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

Never comment but I figured Streets of Buckhead would struggle before it opened. You somewhat seem to take pleasure in reporting its challenges.

Just my two cents but luxury retail seems to be circling the drain as more and more people who have the money they would have previously spent on clothes, shoes and general things are spending it on homes and cars. It's easy to look at the demographics of the area and think stores of that nature would do well. However, there isn't that much wealth in Metro Atlanta other than a few pockets. I suspect that between the houses, vehicles, college tuitions and such that most families are stretched thin. Single people may have more disposable income but I suspect their homes and condos are more important to them than what can be bought at any mall or shopping center.

Lastly, the location is terrible.

Anonymous said...

I really see three issues here: the development, the lease holders, and their operations. Just because a restaurant shutters doesn’t necessarily reflect on the development. Similarly, it was corporate issues that tanked the popular Thirteen Pies. We only need to look at Bilboquet and Shake Shack—at very different ends of the spectrum—to see that a variety of restaurants can be successful there. I would love to see them work with local standouts chefs like Quatrano, Hopkins, or Fry, and likewise leading local retailers like Sid Mashburn rather than relying on new to market (and therefore untested) concepts.

Anonymous said...

In Regards to the first comment, there is actually plenty of wealth in metro Atlanta, significantly more than just "a few pockets" and that is also increasing rapidly as we speak.. There is a reason Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza do so well, and have been preforming well for quite a while now.

Atlanta is tricky, Shops of Buckhead is still relatively new, and in my opinion advertised very poorly. It still feels like kind of a secret location somehow, it needs more exposure. I think once density in the Buckhead Village area increases in the coming years with all these new developments, the shops well also start performing better. Also increased tourism in the region should really help the development kick off.

Anonymous said...

Also I'm surprised Dolce is shutting down, every time I went it seemed to be performing well, always had a decent crowd.. Perhaps another Italian concept in its place would be fitting, or anything high endish for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Where do you get this information? I would really question your sources to be quite honest. First of all, Les Copains has not closed. That is veritably false

There's no way that a source would know that this Brunello Cucinelli store is the lowest performing globally. That is not the type of reporting that anyone local would be privy to. I happen to believe that the store is fulfilling its purpose of educating the wealthy Atlanta market to the brand.

To the comment that Atlanta does not have wealth. With all due respect, what are you TALKING about? Atlanta has the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the nation, a thriving film and music industry, and LOTS of old southern wealth.

Shops at Buckhead Atlanta is not the BEST design, but it's not horrible either. And it's by NO means the disaster that this blog continues to paint it to be.

Anonymous said...

Atlanta as a whole does not respond well to non-local food concepts. I would love to see a high volume food concept, like a sports bar from a guy like Ford Fry open in here. The lack of an anchor tenant was a big issue too. Maybe a store like a Barney's would have done well there. Or as someone else said, a concept from Ford Fry. The mix of retailers and food just seems bizarre and there is really nothing so unique in this place to draw people in.

Anonymous said...

How about the same folks that created that faux 'Bavarian' thing in Helen make an entirely manufactured-but-cute little Italy and Chinatown in this place?

I'm not sure where this stuff is, traffic around Buckhead is usually awful, which is the main thing that keeps us away.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts: Atlanta has tons of wealth. Look how many high end steakhouses we support! And it isn't all in Buckhead either. There are a ton of really wealthy folks living around Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Peachtree Corners, Duluth, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, etc.

I also think that Shops at Buckhead is a complete disaster. The wealthy people that I know who shop in these types of stores, shop at them in NYC, Miami and Paris. The closures will continue to come and this is with an absolutely booming economy. What do you think will happen to the Shops at Buckhead next time the economy turns? It's either need to change directions really quickly or become a ghost town.

Anonymous said...

LOL you all have no idea how luxury retail works. These stores are little more than breathing billboards for the brands. They're fine and serving that purpose.

Anonymous said...

I think a WALMART over here would bring in customers.....
from all type of demographic group.

katebozz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hotel! Hotel! Hotel!

In this day and age. You can't build a retail development without a hotel concept! I believe over a third of Lenox and Phipps clientele are from out of town. Those malls are surrounded by thousands of hotel rooms. That's why they've stood the test of time. Not cause Atlanta is rich or poor.

Axing the hotel was a mistake. Get a big Waldorf Astoria or something nice in that area. Doesn't have to be 5 star just something nice. Maybe where that old Cheesecake Factory is or somewhere very close. There's you traffic for everything down there

Anonymous said...

ATL has new money, hip hop wealth and these are the people that attempt to support ATL "luxury". The real wealth of ATL travel to New York, Milan and Paris. Who in their sane mind wants to shop with TEGNA Sister Circle types that openly brag how they like cheap Mexicans to mow their lawns. SMH

Anonymous said...

I think that The Shops Buckhead Atlanta is a beautiful development, well designed and well positioned. There is more than ample available wealth in the city to support it and consumer trending has been drifting to similar developments all over the country for years. Frankly it's the management of the property that has completely missed the mark.

In the face of ecommerce convenience devastating the brick and mortar landscape, the management at the Shops of Buckhead appeared to have complete disregard for their tenants and went out of their way to reduce consumer accessibility. The mathematics may not seem so obvious in an upscale property, but every consumer spends their money based on a value proposition. Which means that you first establish value, create demand and then you might be able to charge a bit more for the experience. Basic right? Then why the hell charge for parking from almost the very opening of the development? It's not downtown, and in Atlanta, it screams stay away to me.

It should have been evident that accessibility and hospitality is very important in the south. How many great businesses and white linen restaurants have we seen close for the lack of those elements alone. Simply said, if you don't make it easy to spend money at your location, there are plenty places where you can.

Anonymous said...

I'm heartbroken that Dolce is closing!! They have always been one of, if not my favorite hot spot and "go to" Italian restaurant. At the beginning, and for about a year and a half, it was the beautiful, glamorous see and be seen of Atlanta nightlife.... and OUTRAGEOUSLY GREAT FOOD, that I could not get enough of.
That had changed ...DRAMATICALLY over the summer months, and into the Fall, with service seriously falling by the way side. Such a shame, as for a while, they were one of the GREATS...IN ATLANTA!! DOLCE...you will be missed!!!

396 said...

@Anonymous 2:33, I think charging for parking was an intentional decision meant to discourage the "wrong kind" of people (AKA those just looking around or wanting to see and be seen, without enough money to shop or dine there) from coming around.

But also, this is in the middle of the city on some very expensive real estate, in a project that was completed a couple of years behind schedule, so the owners are probably looking to generate revenue any way they can.

Anonymous said...

Spot on comment 396 @12:51

If you can truly afford to shop at BA, then paying for parking should be of no concern.

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