Maybe it’s too early to declare downtown Atlanta on a roll, but recent weeks have seen the city’s tallest hotel in years move forward, Centennial Olympic Park finally reopen, and what appears to be progress at Underground Atlanta.

Now, a beloved Georgia alcohol brand is making a major commitment to Atlanta’s oldest district.

Wild Leap Craft Beverages announced this week it will anchor the rechristened Centennial Yards South project, opening a brewery, distillery, and events space spanning more than 15,300 square feet sometime this fall.

Plans for Wild Leap's two-story space where the two former Norfolk Southern Railroad Buildings meet. DBOX for Centennial Yards

A joint venture between Stream Realty Partners and CIM Group, Centennial Yards South is a $100-million redevelopment of the vacant Norfolk Southern Railroad Buildings along Ted Turner Drive—downtown landmarks since they were finished in 1912 and 1928, respectively.

It’ll be the first district to open at California-based CIM Group’s planned Centennial Yards redevelopment, expected to consume 50 acres of parking lots and former railroad property downtown, replacing the eyesore Gulch with what developers call the largest mixed-use build in the Southeast.

The overarching Centennial Yards vision.

Wild Leap was founded four years ago in LaGrange, an hour southwest of downtown, where they renovated a 1940s auto building next to a new city plaza used for festivals and other events. Rob Goldstein, Wild Leap’s cofounder, said his team spent several years scouting Atlanta for the right location and was ultimately sold on “the size and scope” of the Centennial Yards vision.

Come this fall, Wild Leap’s space is expected to occupy two levels of what’s called “the Canyon,” a pedestrian promenade tucked below street level next to the former railroad buildings and a viaduct.

The Canyon spans 740 feet overall, and Wild Leap’s portion will see multiple bars, lounge areas, outdoor seating, and space for events, with its main level opening directly into the unique subterranean space.

The raw Canyon space at the south end of the property, at right, as it appeared in 2018. Courtesy of Jonathan Phillips The Canyon space, as seen in 2018.Courtesy of Jonathan Phillips

More images depicting the Canyon's potential uses in marketing materials.Stream Realty Partners via Loopnet

“As we plant roots in the neighborhood,” Anthony Rodriguez, another Wild Leap cofounder, said in a prepared statement, “we’re excited to watch it grow with and around us.”

Beyond the brewery and distillery, Centennial Yards South is expected to see 88,000 square feet of creative offices and 162 apartments. Plans call for 50,000 total square feet of retail throughout two lower levels, with a reconstructed Nelson Street Bridge next door.

Centennial Yards South's frontage along Ted Turner Drive, with the Canyon space between the street and buildings. DBOX for Centennial Yards

Christopher Dean, Stream Realty’s senior vice president, called Wild Leap's plans at the adaptive-reuse project “just the tip of the iceberg for what’s in store.”

Overall, Centennial Yards could cost $5 billion—partially covered by a public-funded incentive package of up to $1.9 billion in future tax dollars—and span the equivalent of a dozen new city blocks. Tentative plans call for about 12 million square feet of mixed-use development, or more than nine Bank of America Plazas, Atlanta’s tallest building.

As an eagle-eyed reader recently pointed out, marketing materials for the broader Centennial Yards project show the number of expect hotel rooms has been doubled to 3,000 and residential units tripled to 3,000, with 20 percent of those reserved as affordable housing.

Sounds like bullishness for the area is contagious.   

Recent downtown news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)