CIM Group of Los Angeles plans a $5 billion project at the Gulch railroad site that will include offices, residences and hotel rooms. German developer Newport plans a $100 million renovation of the vacant 222 Mitchell Street building and additional investments in other nearby properties.
Georgia State University has acquired and upgraded properties throughout downtown in recent years and continues to plan new developments, including a 32-story building for student housing.
Underground’s new owner, Lalani, recently consulted with six local design firms, including HGOR and Smith Dalia Architects, to develop a master plan for Underground, according to a Tuesday news release. Lalani’s company, Billionaires Funding Group, may add apartments and condos, improve street-level retail and install new outdoor green space.
“We continue to engage in conversations with city officials and neighborhood organizations to better understand the need in the downtown market and how Underground Atlanta can fill that void,” Lalani said in an emailed statement Wednesday.
Lalani declined to provide additional details on the master plan, or a timetable for construction.
210414-Atlanta-Scenes of Underground Atlanta shot Wednesday, April 14, 2021.
Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Credit: Ben Gray
Credit: Ben Gray
Others have tried and failed to revive the 8-acre Underground site. Underground was popular when it first opened in the 1970s. A late 1980s redevelopment led to a temporary surge of new interest, but its popularity soon faded.
WRS had planned a $300 million mixed-use development at Underground, including retail and residences.
But WRS’ plans never got off the ground and the pandemic was the final straw. According to a lawsuit filed last week in Georgia State-wide Business Court, WRS was forced to sell Underground because most tenants had not paid rent during the pandemic. WRS had been “operating with negative monthly cash flow for months” and would have defaulted on an $18.8 million loan if it didn’t sell Underground by Nov. 30, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit involves a dispute between WRS and Atlanta developer Dion Meltzer over the value of Meltzer’s investment in Underground. WRS, which filed the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Meltzer’s company had not filed a response as of Wednesday.
Lalani is not a party to the lawsuit and he said the case does not affect his development plans.