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Large Crane Returns to Buckhead Atlanta - This Time to Help With Planting Trees in Landscape

August 15, 2014

Buckhead View

Just when we thought big cranes would not be returning to OliverMcMillan’s Buckhead Atlanta—as least during the present stages of the development—a rather large crane returned on Friday morning (Aug. 15)….this time to help with the planting of trees.

With the first stores and restaurants opening in September, the cornerstone for Buckhead Atlanta’s $10 million streetscapes will take root soon when four 35-foot-tall oak trees will be planted on the four corners of Le Bilboquet restaurant in the development’s courtyard area.

The planting of those four 35-foot-tall trees will most certainly require an assist from a large crane. However, it is not certain when they will arrive on site and be planted. But is expected to happen before the Sept. 18 official opening date.

The tree planted Friday was not one of those four, but it was tall enough—about 20-25 feet tall—and typical of the size of most of the trees being planted throughout the development.

OliverMcMillan’s vision to create a richly landscaped district that resembles Buckhead’s tree-lined neighborhoods is coming to life, but most of it cannot be seen by passers-by because the view is blocked by construction fencing.

BuckheadView.com toured the site on Thursday (Aug. 14) and saw most of the 150 trees that are being planted throughout the six-block, 8-acre development, as well as lush landscaping elements from the landscape architects behind the Magnificent Mile, located on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

OliverMcMillan chose Hoerr Schaudt to create the visually pleasing and welcoming walking experience. General contractor Balfour Beatty and Ruppert Landscape are in charge of installing the trees. For now, giant holes await the arrival of the four large trees.

The 35-foot Highbeam Overcup Oaks, grown by Athens, Ga.-based Select Trees, will provide 25 to 30 feet of shade canopy during the spring and summer. Their lustrous leathery leaves will change to yellow and bronze-red in the fall, and in the winter their gray-brown winter branches and trunk will assume a beautiful texture that presents a sculptural silhouette.

Buckhead Atlanta’s mature tree canopy is one facet of the destination’s new experience. Building facades and streets feature materials, including granite, marble, mahogany and limestone. OliverMcMillan partnered with three architecture firms – Gensler, Pappageorge Haymes and Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart – to design Buckhead Atlanta’s buildings so that no two are alike.

“We took care to choose trees that would thrive and look gorgeous all year long,” said Hunter Richardson, managing director of development at OliverMcMillan for Buckhead Atlanta.

“We wanted to have mature trees adapted to our climate from the day we open this fall, so Select Trees planted these oaks in Athens. OliverMcMillan identified the trees two years ago for cultivation specifically for Buckhead Atlanta. They are the largest possible trees that can be transported without having to request street closures,” Richardson explained.

“Working with OliverMcMillan, we initiated a landscape design for the development that prioritizes urban horticulture and celebrates all four seasons. We wanted a mature tree canopy and eclectic elements that evoke the vibrancy of a thriving neighborhood,” said Douglas Hoerr,senior partner of Hoerr Schaudt. “For example, mature trees large enough to create real summer shade are an important component of the plan.”

“We wanted it to look the way a downtown would look – something that evolved over time,” added Richardson. “Buckhead Atlanta visitors will instantly know they have walked into a 

special place where every detail was chosen for its timelessness, durability and elegance.”

Walking through the development on Thursday afternoon, BuckheadView.com saw streets and sidewalks lined with flower boxes, blooming with varieties of multi-colored flowering plants and greenery nestled around 20-foot-tall trees.

The sidewalk along Peachtree Road has colorful flower beds and trees, punctuated with tall and medium-tall ornate streetlights, creating a separation between the sidewalk and the multi-lane Peachtree Road.

The streetlights were purchased from the city of Atlanta and are designed to be compatible with those that will be part of the Buckhead Community Improvement District’s streetscape project that will continue on both sides of Buckhead Atlanta along Peachtree Road and along East Paces Ferry and Pharr roads.

Additional plantings of flowering plants, such as in the area around the central courtyard, will be placed in urns of varying sizes—from large enough to be as tall as a person, to lower profiles—as well as hanging baskets and vines that will grow up the walls of the multi-story buildings.

The interior streets are made of pavers, which delineate the Buckhead Atlanta multi-use development from its surrounding streets and neighborhood.

All of this—including the pavers, lights, landscaping—has all been installed by OliverMcMillan’s construction team and the cost of maintaining it will be borne by the development. It is all coming together for an opening just a month away.

The first of Buckhead Atlanta’s local, national and international retailers and restaurants will open their doors in September. The openings will continue as new stores and restaurants make their debut throughout the remainder of 2014 and into 2015.