Savi Provisions chosen to open store atop Grant Park parking garage

Gourmet grocer to fill vacant retail space near Zoo Atlanta, a unique property owned by the city
This is a rendering of Savi Provisions' proposed Grant Park location.

Credit: Courtesy Savi Provisions

Credit: Courtesy Savi Provisions

This is a rendering of Savi Provisions' proposed Grant Park location.

A fast-growing neighborhood market chain was chosen to occupy a unique retail space on top of a city-owned parking deck near Zoo Atlanta.

Savi Provisions was chosen to lease the roughly 7,000-square-foot retail storefront atop the Grant Park Gateway development, a parking deck that features greenspace on its roof. The garage, which offers parking close to the historic park and zoo, opened in 2021, but its retail space has sat vacant.

The Atlanta Department of Procurement and the Department of Parks and Recreation chose Savi in early June among three finalists who entered bids to lease the space. The Atlanta City Council will still have to approve the selection, according to a news release, but Mayor Andre Dickens said the market will add vibrancy to the historic neighborhood.

“This is a fitting combination of beautifying one of our most historic neighborhoods with a locally sourced, community-centered grocer,” the mayor said.

Savi founder Paul Nair said he’s wanted to open a location in Grant Park for years but had been looking for the right location. He found what he was seeking in the Gateway storefront.

“It’s a very interestingly laid out space,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This is something (the neighborhood) will want to cherish and own.”

First announced in 2017, the $48 million project transformed a parking lot near Grant Park and Zoo Atlanta into the greenspace-topped parking deck. Then-Mayor Kasim Reed said at the time the name Grant Park Gateway was chosen since “it’s going to provide an entirely new way of looking at the entrance of one of our city’s truly historic sites.”

The project at 800 Cherokee Ave. faced some neighborhood backlash over the removal of more than 130 healthy trees, which the city said would be replaced.

The Atlanta City Council issued more than $30 million in bonds to finance the project. In addition to parking fees, the city planned to collect revenue from the rooftop retail space.

This is an aerial photo of the Grant Park Gateway project that was included in the City of Atlanta's request for proposals.

Credit: City of Atlanta

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Credit: City of Atlanta

Construction finished during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, a dour time for restaurant and retail activity. The city took ownership of the retail space from the Atlanta and Fulton County Recreation Authority in 2023, but it took multiple requests for proposals before applicants took interest.

Three finalists emerged, including Savi. Another contender was a micro food hall concept from Hop City Beer & Wine founder Kraig Torres, who told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month the property has the potential to be “a central point of the (Grant Park) community.” The third finalist was Rease Group Holding Inc., an Atlanta-based company founded in 2010, according to Urbanize Atlanta, but its plan was not publicly detailed before Savi’s selection.

Founded in 2009 in Atlanta’s Inman Park neighborhood, Savi has quickly expanded throughout the city. The upscale market, which Nair said is inspired by New York bodegas, offers artisan products, wine, prepared foods and other items on a smaller scale than big box grocers.

Nair said the Grant Park location will have more counters than the typical Savi location, including bars featuring coffee, ice cream, alcohol and counter-served food. He also plans to activate the 2.5-acre greenspace parking deck roof with neighborhood activities.

Savi is about to open its 16th metro Atlanta location in Virginia-Highland, but the timeline for the 17th location in Grant Park depends on permitting and government approvals, Nair said. He aims to open it by the end of 2024.