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Buckhead Atlanta Named Atlanta Urban Land Institute’s 2014 Regional ‘Project of the Year’

September 12, 2014

Buckhead View

OliverMcMillan’s Buckhead Atlanta multi-use development, which is scheduled to open with its first retail shops and restaurants Sept. 18, was presented the Urban Land Institutes’ regional Project of the Year Award Thursday night during the ULI’s Annual Awards Dinner at the new College Football Hall of Fame.

Buckhead won out over four other Atlanta projects that were honored as “Development of Excellence” finalists: the new North Atlanta High School in Buckhead, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Center for Civil & Human Rights and 77 12th apartment project in Midtown.

Fellow developer Mark Toro, partner of North American Properties, introduced the Project of The Year by saying it was “built on one of the most colossal train wrecks in Atlanta commercial real estate history.”

He, of course, was referring to the giant hole in the ground that sat in Buckhead for three years with idle tall cranes above it, after Ben Carter could not finish The Streets of Buckhead.

The video introduction to the project showed clips from OliverMcMillan CEO Dene Oliver and Vice President of Development Hunter Richardson, who was the project manager on Buckhead Atlanta since OliverMcMillan took over the stalled multi-use development about three years ago.

Both Oliver and Richardson spoke of seeing the great opportunity for this development in Atlanta and specifically Buckhead—“a great opportunity to do what we wanted to do,” Richardson said.

Richardson said the first residents of the Residences Buckhead Atlanta would be moving in this coming weekend and the first retail shops and restaurants will open next week on Sept. 18. “We will open with a dozen or so retail shops and restaurants,” he added. He said shops and restaurants will continue to open one a week for months to come, like in any other local community.

Richardson referred to “an incredible group” of local and national people “who have worked together on this project” to bring it to fruition.

“We are still in the process of getting our TCOs (certificates of occupancy required to open) and many of us are going back to the office tonight to work on that,”

Richardson told the audience of some 400 people involved in the development industry who attended the event.

Richardson said he could not “imagine another year that so many dynamic projects,” were up for ULI awards, “projects that are changing the face of Atlanta in 2014.”

Richardson referred to OliverMcMillan as having “resuscitated Buckhead Atlanta. These projects are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.” He said Buckhead Atlanta now stops being a project and becomes a part of the Buckhead and Atlanta community.

“We are opening next week, but we are not finished next week,” Richardson stated. “We will continue to evolve Buckhead Atlanta for years to come.”

Richardson thanked ULI for the award, saying, “It truly is an honor to accept this award.”

Earlier in the evening, Jerry Cooper, of Cooper Carry Architects, talked passionately spoke from the heart about the meaning of the design of the new Buckhead campus of North Atlanta High School, saying it was designed for the students, their parents and the teachers who work there.

“It brings the sky, earth, space and time into their lives,” as they come their daily to prepare for their future lives.

He pointed out that there is no other school campus in the United States that is designed like the NAHS campus, but he predicted it will become the model for schools all over the country.

He said it was not just designed to be a pretty building, but to function best for students going to their daily classes.

Praising those at Atlanta Public Schools with whom he and his team worked, Cooper told the audience, “It takes more than a thinking architect to create a building, it takes a thinking client."

Each of the Development of Excellence Finalists were presented an award and the stories of their projects were presented in well-produced and filmed videos that were quickly done by Schroder Communications after the original person that was working on the project fell ill.

ULI Atlanta Awards Chair Brett Hunsaker, of Newmark Grubbs Knight Frank, was the emcee for the Sept. 11 event, which also featured an opportunity for attendees to view the new College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta.