The resurrection of the long-dormant Atlanta Civic Center might finally be on the horizon, as the deadline for developers to submit overhaul proposals rapidly approaches.
Once property owner Atlanta Housing’s (AH) board of commissioners sifts through the submissions, due Jan. 28, they will invite developers with the best pitches for the 19-acre, Old Fourth Ward site to present plans to transform it into a mixed-use complex.
The public housing agency’s board could vote to select a developer as soon as next month, at its monthly meeting.
“We’ve got to make good decisions,” AH CEO Eugene Jones said. “We’re waiting to see who’s going to be coming up to the top and who’s going to be making a presentation.”
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens repeatedly invoked the need to redevelop the site while campaigning, and he’s touted the Civic Center’s revival as a top goal for his administration.
“This project is one of the most important mixed-income, mixed-use projects we can do, and it’s in a high-land cost, amenity-rich part of the city,” Dickens told Atlanta Civic Circle on Friday.
“I want it executed well and quickly,” he added.
Built in 1967, the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center was once a cultural hub — a place to see musicals, concerts, plays, and lectures — but the complex shuttered in 2014, and it has sat vacant since.
AH, which assumed ownership in 2017, issued a request for qualifications in August that envisioned a mixed-use community replete with housing — some affordable — plus offices, hotel rooms, retail offerings, and public green space. The agency also expects the developer it selects to preserve some of the cultural fabric of the site, including the famous 4,600-seat auditorium.
If all goes according to AH’s plan, the iconic site could one day host thousands of new residences in apartment towers — with 4.3 million square feet allotted for affordable and market-rate housing — according to the housing agency’s RFQ.
The property’s rebirth is long overdue, and city leaders have been advocating for the restoration for years.
“The thing I hear most from neighbors is, ‘Let’s just do something,’” said City Councilman Amir Farokhi, who represents District 2, where the Civic Center is located, in 2020.