Local gaming, real estate executive buys Underground Atlanta

Credit: Wibbitz Videos

A Gwinnett County executive with an online gambling company has bought Underground Atlanta

Credit: Wibbitz Videos

New owner plans to redevelop long-neglected downtown site

A Gwinnett County executive with an online gambling company has acquired Underground Atlanta and plans to redevelop the long-neglected downtown property.

Shaneel Lalani, CEO of two local companies, bought the retail and entertainment site on an undisclosed date, according to a press release Wednesday. WRS Inc., of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, confirmed the sale.

The purchase price was not disclosed. Lalani said his companies could redevelop Underground on their own but that he’s open to partnering with investors.

WRS acquired Underground Atlanta in 2017 for about $35 million but its plans to redevelop the site never materialized. Underground was popular in the 1960s but has been largely neglected since the Olympics in 1996.

Lalani is CEO of Lucky Fortune777, headquartered in Norcross, and Billionaires Funding Group, according to his LinkedIn page. He described Lucky Fortune777 as a “coin operated amusement machine company” licensed by the Georgia Lottery. He described Billionaires Funding Group as the owner of about 1 million square feet of commercial real estate, mostly located in Georgia.

Lalani, according to the press release, “plans to maximize the potential of the historic entertainment destination and connect the storied district with the investment and growth happening in downtown Atlanta.”

Lalani was not available for additional comment on Wednesday, according to a spokeswoman. Scott Smith, CEO of WRS, did not return a call seeking comment.

Craig Waters, general manager of Underground Atlanta, confirmed on Wednesday that WRS sold the property but declined to make additional comments.

A spokesman for Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms could not be reached immediately Wednesday for comment.

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