Real estate firm exits Atlanta Civic Center redevelopment

ATLANTA (AP) — A New York real estate investment firm has pulled out of the redevelopment of Atlanta’s gated Civic Center, raising questions about the plans.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Tishman Speyer retired this week. Late last month, the Atlanta Housing Authority contracted with Tishman Speyer and Atlanta-based HJ Russell & Co. to build a mix of affordable and market-priced housing on the 19-acre (8 hectares).

The company told the housing authority that Tishman Speyer “has determined that the project is not suitable for us at this time,” said Atlanta Housing Authority President and CEO Eugene Jones.

“Despite Tishman Speyer’s sudden withdrawal, Atlanta Housing remains committed to its mission and will ensure the Civic Center site is developed with a strong affordable housing component, which will also advance Mayor Andre Dickens’ goal of creating 20,000 affordable housing units in the city of Atlanta,” Jones said in a statement.

Last year, Tishman Speyer pulled out of a similar mixed-use plan to redo The Mall West End in Atlanta. The company has built a Buckhead office tower and is planning a major project in the Midwest Atlanta neighborhood.

HJ Russell is still involved, but Jones said the housing authority is reviewing its requirements for selecting a redevelopment team.

The city closed the civic center in 2014. A former private developer pulled out in 2016. The housing authority bought the site for $31 million in 2017.

The latest proposal would transform the civic center into a large retail space that preserves the site plaza and performing arts center as well as 1,300 housing units.

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