During an official groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday afternoon, while construction buzzed nearby on the new flagship H&M store set to open in time for this year’s Black Friday sales, officials from Atlantic Station, its property management company Hines, and Morgan Stanley Real Estate unveiled new renderings for the planned overhaul of the community’s central park space located between 18th and 19th streets, directly in front of the Regal Cinema. The new design is quite different from the renderings Hines previously released last year but contains many of the same elements.
The project, which is slated to debut in fall 2019, will remove the large, vacant buildings that formerly housed the Tom Catherall-owned Strip steakhouse, which closed in 2015, and Rosa Mexicano, which shuttered last year. In their place will rise three new buildings—a new location of Hobnob Neighborhood Tavern where Strip once stood at the northern tip of the park, and two “jewel box” buildings near the southern end of the park that will house additional retail and restaurant space, a renovated concierge, and a private events space.
Other new features include a large permanent video screen for outdoor movie screenings, a new valet and rideshare point, raising the height of the East and West District Avenues that run parallel to the park to bring them up to sidewalk level, and doubling the amount of existing green lawn space within the park.
The park overhaul is only part of the major changes taking place at Atlantic Station. Two new office buildings, Atlantic Yards and T3 West Midtown, are planned, along with new hotels and a new AMLI apartment building. A Forever 21 is planned to open in 2019 in the space next-door to the flagship H&M store, along with four new eateries: fast-casual Indian restaurant NaanStop, Poke Bar, Pho 24, and Japanese barbecue restaurant Gyu-Kaku. Those restaurants are all expected to be open by the end of the year. A new bowling alley, Bowlero, is also set to open in 2019.
Hines Managing Director Alan Kennedy cited a colleague in describing the upcoming renovations as Atlantic Station “leaving it’s gangling, adolescence and moving into its next phase, which is a more mature, mixed-use place that has found itself.”
“This is the most aggressive and transformative project that has happened in Atlantic Station’s history,” Kennedy said during the event.
Atlantic Station General Manager Barbara Garrett said that while development already had plans to completely revamp the Strip space and replace it with smaller jewel box buildings, the closure of Rosa Mexicano in December changed the game.
“At first [the closing] was a little bit of a shock,” Garrett told Atlanta, “But then we realized we’d actually been handed our entire central footprint back.”
Garret said that the revamped space will allow more room for often crowded events, such as the Movies in Central Park outdoor film series, noting that the new screen will allow for daytime film screenings and special events such as sporting event watch parties. She also said they hope to grow shopping events such as the Makers Market and Christkindl holiday market.