Real estate firm exits Atlanta civic center redevelopment

ATLANTA (AP) — A New York real estate investment firm has pulled out of redeveloping Atlanta’s shuttered civic center, raising questions about the plans.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Tishman Speyer withdrew this week. The Atlanta Housing Authority had late last month contracted with Tishman Speyer and Atlanta-based H.J. Russell & Co. to build a mix of affordable and market-rate housing on the 19-acre (8-hectare) property.

The company told the housing authority that Tishman Speyer “determined that the project is not right 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 units of affordable housing in the city of Atlanta,” Jones said in a statement.

Tishman Speyer last year withdrew from a similar mixed-use plan to remake The Mall West End in Atlanta. The company has built a Buckhead office tower and is planning a large project in Atlanta’s west midtown neighborhood.

H.J. 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 previous private developer withdrew 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’s plaza and performing arts center as well as 1,300 housing units.

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