NY developer Tishman Speyer and partners seek to buy West End mall

The Mall West End in Atlanta. EMILY HANEY / emily.haney@ajc.com
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The Mall West End in Atlanta. EMILY HANEY / emily.haney@ajc.com

The New York company behind Rockefeller Center is the lead partner in an agreement to buy the Mall West End in southwest Atlanta and develop it into a 1.3 million square foot mixed-use complex, according to people familiar with the matter.

Tishman Speyer went under contract Friday to purchase the property from HT Group, according to people close to the deal. One person said the sales price is eight figures.

The sale is expected to close by the end of the year. Plans call for demolishing the mall and developing retail and office space, and up to 1,000 market-priced apartments and condos, these people said. Demolition and construction would begin no sooner than summer 2022.

The group of buyers has not finalized the number of affordable housing units to be included, sources said.

Elevator City Partners, an Atlanta development company led by Beltline planner Ryan Gravel and investor Donray Von, is part of the purchasing group and will co-develop the mixed-use project. They had pursued a redevelopment plan for the Mall West End until last year, when a sale agreement was canceled. Their original plans called for affordable housing.

Dabar Development Partners, a New York City company founded by Atlanta native Dawanna Williams, is another of the buyers.

The city has controlled housing developments on the fast-growing Westside, including issuing a moratorium on construction permits in the Grove Park neighborhood. It is trying to stop longtime residents from being priced out and has demanded developers include affordable housing.

Kim Scott, former president of the local neighborhood planning unit, said she’s glad Gravel and Von will remain involved.

“We want authentic community engagement, and they came in and promised that,” she said.

The neighborhood needs a better selection of retail, more office space and a hotel, which was part of Elevator City’s initial plan, Scott said. She hopes some current mall tenants will remain in the new development.

Tishman Speyer’s plans in the West End neighborhood are the latest sign that Atlanta’s emergence as a technology hub and a source of Black tech talent is drawing attention from across the country. The Mall West End is located near the Atlanta University Center campus of historically Black colleges and universities.

Apple is partnering with Southern Company to build a technology center on the campus of the college consortium. Microsoft and Airbnb recently announced expansions in Atlanta as part of a diversity hiring push.

The Mall West End site also benefits from its proximity to the Beltline walking trail.

In addition to Rockefeller Center, which Tishman Speyer co-owns and manages, the company led the $1.5 billion redevelopment of Yankee Stadium in 2009, when the stadium’s concourse was expanded to include restaurants, retail and office space.

Tishman Speyer also has owned other properties in Atlanta, including the Colony Square office and retail complex in Midtown, which it sold in 2015, and the Buckhead office tower One Alliance Center, which it sold in 2013.

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