Portman plans $300 million luxury hotel, apartment tower for Buckhead

A long-neglected site in the center of Buckhead could become a $300 million luxury hotel-apartment development, although the coronavirus shutdown is delaying its arrival.

Portman Holdings recently reached an agreement on a long-term lease of a three-acre site at the corner of Peachtree Road and Pharr Road. The lot once housed a Three Dollar Café but has been vacant for an extended period.

Portman plans to build two towers—one for a 225-room luxury hotel brand the developer declined to name, the other for 225-room luxury apartments where residents will have access to the hotel’s spa, pool and other amenities.

Mike Greene, Portman’s vice president of development, said the economic impact of COVID-19 will delay the project’s estimated start by about four months, with the groundbreaking probably in early 2022. The project could be completed in 2024.

Greene said the project still needs to secure financing and the developer also is facing permit delays.

It’s too early to say how much the pandemic will affect commercial development projects in metro Atlanta. Construction has continued at existing projects. But lenders could tread more carefully amid economic uncertainty, potentially putting new projects on hold.

Buckhead lacks the type of modern luxury hotels that are popping up in trendy areas of other U.S. cities, said Greene. Downtown Nashville, Tenn., he said, has far more new luxury hotel developments than Buckhead, including new locations of JW Marriott, Four Seasons and 1 Hotel.

“We need more contemporary modern hotels here,” Greene said.

The hotel brand that Portman has secured will be new to the Atlanta market, he said. The hotel tower will include three restaurants and a small amount of retail.

The project will mesh well with Jamestown Properties' redevelopment of The Shops Buckhead, a luxury retail strip on the same stretch of Peachtree, Greene said.