Atlanta newcomers could be surprised to learn that long before Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, the real estate mogul and reality TV boss was all set to become a player in ATL’s development scene.
But like The Donald’s quest for reelection, his sky-high ambitions for Midtown ultimately didn’t come to pass.
It’s been five years since a shorter tower with fewer residences—upscale, but a more standard affair overall—opened on the parcel between Spring and West Peachtree streets where Trump’s paean to high-rise, deluxe living would have stood. Which got us thinking: Did Midtown dodge a bullet when Trump’s fanciful vision crumbled? Or did we miss an opportunity to add more than 300 for-sale housing units with designs that were anything but banal?
Trump’s plans for a weedy lot just west of the Woodruff Arts Center initially came to light in the summer of 2006.
At the time, Trump expected to develop two glassy towers on the site and loop in his son, Donald Trump Jr., and daughter, Ivanka, to help pull it off. Donald Trump Jr. actually predicted that year the next winner of “The Apprentice” reality show could be offered an opportunity to work on the Atlanta development, too.
“I think [Atlanta is] a city due to have an ultra-luxury project,” the younger Trump told the Associated Press at the time. “They’ve done a great job of rejuvenating the city, adding a substantial cultural element around the project.”
Finalized plans for the shimmering buildings, both sheathed in crescent-like shields of glass, called for a height of up to 47 stories, with a lavish amenities deck set between them. A three-story “TRUMP TOWERS” sign with, yes, a waterfall was expected to rise over Spring Street, near an extension of 15th Street that still hasn’t materialized.
After bringing Atlanta-based developer Wood Partners into the deal, Trump once enthused to local media the development was “no risk,” and even as the economy started to sour as the Great Recession dawned, he was bullish the project would happen because, “Atlanta is like New York.” Country music legend and budding interior designer Kenny Rogers, believe it or not, was actually tapped to design the buildings’ interiors.
Despite rumors of celebrity condo purchases—and around 100 of the 363 homes reportedly being pre-sold—the property was foreclosed on in 2010, as the recession’s economic slump lingered.
The 1.8-acre site reverted back to a surface parking lot for several years, until AMLI snapped it up for $7 million in 2013, according to property records, and plotted its own high-rise.
With 350 units in 30 stories, the AMLI Arts Center building finished construction five years ago. Today, it stands amidst a forest of high-rise residential buildings that’s far different from the landscape Trump encountered in the mid-aughts.
For kicks, see design highlights of Trump’s tall ATL ambitions that never were in the gallery above. Or for a deeper dive, the Trump Towers’ flyover rendering video compiled by Max Wave Media is still live here.
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