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Building Blocks: Introducing the Two Minds Behind the Buckhead Atlanta Revamp

September 24, 2014

The Atlantan

As it turns out, ultrahigh-end retailers like Brunello Cucinelli, Canali, Hermès, Christian Louboutin and Helmut Lang have wanted to set up shop in Atlanta for some time—they just didn’t have the right place to do so. 

“These are best-in-class contemporary retailers who are not looking to go into a mall,” says Dene Oliver, CEO of Oliver McMillan, the San Diego-based developer whose Buckhead Atlanta development is bringing some serious wow to the city. “These stores wanted to be in a vibrant street scene.” Oliver and his team, led by senior managing director of retail services Jeff Zeigler, have spent three years bringing these brands in and rescuing the failed Streets of Buckhead project, originally conceived as the city’s answer to Rodeo Drive. 

That luxe response arrived in mid-September, when Buckhead Atlanta debuted its first phase. Rolling openings are happening all this month and will continue into the new year. When completed, the mini-city will feature 1.5 million square feet of top-end retail, restaurants, office space and high-rise residences. “We’re going block by block and opening in phases,” Oliver says. “We do each lease one at a time.” With offices from Honolulu to New York, and with a project similar to Buckhead Atlanta going up in Houston, Oliver and Zeigler do a lot of pinballing around the world—Oliver usually taking meetings in all-Cucinelli ensembles. “If I need to ratchet it up, I go with Tom Ford,” Oliver adds. Zeigler, the one who more frequently dons a hard hat, prefers to mix up Canali, Etro, Scoop NYC and others. (All brands going into the development, we might add.)

Even with a staff of 30 in Atlanta, the two principals are in town a lot. They stay at The St. Regis Atlanta and make the rounds on the city’s culinary scene. They have kind words for Pano Karatassos’ bevy of restaurants, as well as Ford Fry’s—and they love Umi.

Their favorites will soon have nearby competition as the first round of eateries at Buckhead Atlanta includes American Cut steakhouse, Le Bilboquet, American Food and Beverage and nine others opening right across the street. All new places for the Oliver McMillan gentlemen to frequent when they’re in town, of course.

Oliver's & Zeigler's Hots 
Packing a suitcase with one designer; mixing and matching—in dress and in life; never taking yourself too seriously; filling your soul with gratitude; design that transcends time

Oliver's & Zeigler's Nots 
Mean people; big egos; being neglectful of your family; “The day you stop is the day you lose”

Link to original article here.