Hotel project by Midtown’s Fox Theatre sets example for ‘better architecture in Atlanta’

City officials: Hotel project by Midtown’s Fox Theatre sets example for ‘better architecture in Atlanta’

Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 5.46.56 AM
City officials are touting the collaboration on a planned hotel by Midtown’s Fox Theatre as an example of “better architecture in Atlanta.”

Top Atlanta developer Noble Investment Group is planning the dual-branded Marriott hotel on an existing surface parking lot at Peachtree Street and Ponce de Leon Avenue. The other three corners at the intersection house historic buildings: the Fox, Georgian Terrace hotel and the Ponce Condominium.

When the design for the hotel was revealed to Midtown Alliance in January, the nonprofit group said: ““In light of the architecturally significant neighboring buildings, the committee requested that the design team continue to develop the façades to be more consistent within the surrounding context.”

In March, the city’s Department of City Planning began working with Noble to hone the design to respect the historic intersection. It resulted in a new façade design for the hotel, based on recommendations from the Midtown Alliance.

Charleston, S.C.-based LS3P Associates Ltd. completed the revised design and renderings. 

“It is critically important that Atlanta expect more from its designers and more of its buildings,” City Planning Commissioner Tim Keane said in a media release.

“Zoning can only take you so far,” he added. “Regulations don’t make great buildings, only design can do that. We intend to work in a productive way with developers like we did with Noble to improve the architecture in all of Atlanta.”

Noble had first proposed the project back in May 2016.

According to plans submitted in January, the hotel would have four floors with 154 rooms under the Marriott Courtyard flag and four floors with 128 rooms under the Marriott Element brand. The hotel would sit above five levels of parking.

It would also have a ground-floor restaurant, along with a lounge and bar with a second-floor terrace overlooking the Fox Theatre.

Noble is partnering with Interpark Holdings on the project, according to the Midtown Alliance.

Lindsay Pope Brayfield Clifford & Associates is the architect. That firm also designed the dual-branded Hilton hotels at 10th and Williams streets.

 “We wanted a building that represented the fabric of Midtown, and one that our community would be proud of,” said Ben Brunt, principal and executive vice president of Noble Investment Group. “This collaborative approach benefited all of us. We are thrilled with the result.”

By   – Staff Writer, Atlanta Business Chronicle
 Updated 
Link to original article

Facing Georgia Aquarium, downtown’s latest large hotel files plans to rise

Plans call for Hyatt Place Centennial Park to offer 174 rooms on Luckie Street.

Songy.0IMG_2447.0

The explosion of hotel options around the Georgia Aquarium continues.

A joint venture between Atlanta-based developer Songy Highroads and Hyatt Hotels has completed demolition phases and is now angling to go vertical a dozen stories over Luckie Street with downtown’s latest lodge. At the corner of Luckie and Latimer streets, facing the Georgia Aquarium, developers have filed a permit application to begin construction on the first components of Hyatt Place Centennial Park, reports What Now Atlanta.

In announcing the hotel in November, the partnership touted proximity to the “city’s best galleries, restaurants, and attractions,” most notably Centennial Olympic Park and its ongoing, $17-million expansion. A two-story midcentury building, which most recently served as a school, had occupied the .76-acre site but was demolished. The hotel’s footprint also includes a former parking lot.

 

Plans call for Hyatt Place Centennial Park to offer 174 rooms, a pool, parking deck, fitness center, lobby bar with food service, and about 2,500 square feet of meeting space. It won’t be the only new lodging option in the immediate neighborhood. A Hyatt House was built a block away a few years ago, and on the other side of the aquarium, construction recently finished on a Springhill Suites.

But news hasn’t been all rosy for hospitality ventures in the district.  Two years ago, a large dual-branded Hilton property was slated for a site a block from the proposed Hyatt Place (facing STATS restaurant) but was ultimately put on hold.

 

Written by Josh Green

Rendering: SongyHighroads.com

How EB-5 Funds Help a Luxury Skyscraper

Extell project would be one of the highest-profile buildings to use the visa program

NYC luxury EB-5

Written by Eliot Brown for Wall Street Journal on June 21, 2016:

A block south of Central Park in Manhattan, construction crews are working on the base of what is poised to be the tallest apartment building in the country and the latest condominium tower to cater to the super rich.

It is also poised to be the latest skyscraper to benefit from a provision of a federal immigration program meant to aid distressed neighborhoods and rural areas, offering a striking example of what lawmakers and critics have called a widespread abuse of the program known as EB-5.

The builder, Extell Development Co., recently began seeking foreign investors through the immigration program in a bid to raise nearly $200 million to help finance the tower’s construction.

Gary Barnett, the company’s chief executive, said he is following all rules for the program, and the tower is expected to create “thousands” of jobs that might otherwise not be created as traditional condo financing is tough to secure today. “Given the financing environment that currently exists, it’s a critical component,” he said of the EB-5 funding.

The EB-5 program grants permanent residency to aspiring immigrants who invest in certain U.S. businesses measured to create jobs. A minimum investment for a standard business is $1 million, but in an effort to aid development in struggling areas, investors can put in a lower amount—$500,000—if a project is considered to be in a rural area or a high-unemployment neighborhood.

Developers like Extell have flocked to the program in recent years, almost always for projects in prosperous neighborhoods that use the category meant for the rural and high unemployment areas, a level at which it is easier to find immigrant investors.

The practice is legal so long as state officials and developers craft special districts that connect the projects with high unemployment neighborhoods—a method termed “gerrymandering” by critics.

But because the program has rapidly ballooned to overcapacity—there is a yearslong wait for the 10,000 visas allowed annually under the program—many of the flashiest and largest projects are crowding out projects in rural and poor neighborhoods, EB-5 professionals say.

That has sparked a fight in Congress. Numerous lawmakers, Obama administration officials and academics have said it runs counter to the intent of the law. A set of real-estate developers who use the program have pushed strongly back against proposed changes, however, successfully winning the ear of some influential lawmakers sympathetic to their arguments.

A showdown could come in September, when the program is set to expire—though last year a similar deadline was extended with no changes.

Consultants for Extell in China this month began seeking up to 380 investors—at $500,000 each—according to multiple websites advertising the project. The skyscraper would be the tallest and most prominent of the recent spate of slender towers that aim at the superrich on the strip of 57th street that has been dubbed “Billionaires’ Row.” It would rise to 1,550 feet, 300 higher than the Empire State Building, and a website advertising the tower to prospective foreign investors says it would set a new bar for luxury, becoming a “new generation of top towers” in New York.

While construction is under way on the lower floors—to be home to a sprawling flagship for Nordstrom department stores—Mr. Barnett hasn’t yet secured all the financing necessary to build the condo tower atop. The super-high-end market has weakened significantly amid greater supply and less demand, causing lenders to pull back.

Despite the pullback, Mr. Barnett is trying to push ahead and secure financing, of which EB-5 would be a relatively small piece of a project expected to cost more than $2 billion. “There’s such a financing crunch that a lot of projects won’t get done without EB-5, and this is one of them,” he said.

Construction is under way on the lower floors—to be home to a sprawling flagship for Nordstrom department stores. But the developer hasn’t yet secured all the financing necessary to build the condo tower atop.  He said he is open to changes to the program that would set aside a portion of EB-5 visas for projects in poor neighborhoods, but for now, “we’re doing what’s available under the current procedures.”