New public spaces proposed as part of Midtown office building revamps

plaza

The Midtown Development Review Committee (DRC) weighed in on the creation of new public spaces at two high-profile rehab projects at its July meeting.

According to a recap posted by Midtown Alliance, one of those spaces is the vast plaza outside the AT&T building at 675 West Peachtree St. The 49-story tower, located behind the Fox Theatre, was recently purchased by New York-based Ichan Enterprises and will be revamped inside and out as AT&T vacates the building and moves employees to other local offices by 2021. The AT&T building has also been rumored as possible space for Amazon’s second headquarters, HQ2, should the retail behemoth choose Atlanta.

The revamp project is being led by CBRE with landscape design by HGOR and interior design by IDEA|SPAN. The first phase focuses on interior updates to the lobby and reimagining the expansive, multi-level plaza that fronts on West Peachtree. The DRC was generally supportive of proposed plaza enhancements and encouraged the applicant to add more landscape elements and natural materials to soften the hard edges of the vent enclosures for the MARTA tunnel, which spans the length of the plaza below grade.

The DRC stressed the need for retail anchors in the plaza, whether temporary kiosks or more permanent structures similar to those in Bryant Park in Manhattan, to attract people to the space during the day and evening, such as after events at the Fox.

Over on Peachtree Street, Parkside Partners recently acquired three buildings at 17th Street and is working with ASD|SKY on an adaptive reuse concept. As part of repositioning 1389, 1401 and 1409 Peachtree Street, they plan to give the buildings a more contemporary facelift and provide active public space across the front, intended to function as an outdoor living room.

The DRC had concerns with the circulation pattern vehicles and thought the trellis feature (which can be seen in the rendering above) needed additional refinement to serve as an enhancement to the project rather than a distracting element. The committee encouraged the applicant to explore additional options for using the architecture of the buildings to engage the plaza and adjacent pedestrian environment. The DRC also recommended review and comment on the project by NPU-E.