Heads up, restaurateurs of Atlanta: After more than two years of being complete but sitting idle, the striking modern restaurant space that overlooks Grant Park’s award-winning park atop a parking garage will soon be up for grabs.

Atlanta City Council member Jason Winston, whose District 1 covers Grant Park, announced Tuesday on Twitter that a Request for Proposals has gone live on the city’s Department of Procurement portal, seeking the right occupant for Grant Park’s “rooftop” space.

Beginning next week, Department of Parks and Recreation officials will be seeking a qualified business to design, construct, operate, manage, lease, and maintain the large, modern building at the southern end of the popular Grant Park Gateway.

Like leasing rates, the voluminous restaurant space’s exact size isn’t specified in RFP paperwork, but the Sustainable Sites Initiative pegs it at 4,000 square feet.

Aerial of the Gateway illustrating its proximity to the zoo's elephant habitat and downtown. City of Atlanta Parks and Recreation Department; via Epsten Group

A pre-proposal conference for interested restaurateurs has been scheduled the morning of February 16. All proposals will be due March 16.

Since officially opening in January 2021, the 2.5-acre greenspace has become a magnet for people flying kites, skateboarders, roller skaters, bicyclists, picnickers, and kids who spy elephants, giraffes, and zebras at Zoo Atlanta next door. But despite its city views and sprawling patio, the restaurant space designed by Smith Dalia Architects and Winter Johnson Group has remained strangely empty—and answers as to why elusive.

Winston said in December the city had taken ownership of the building from the Atlanta and Fulton County Recreation Authority a few months prior—a key first step in getting it leased and occupied.

The spacious interior of the Gateway building, as seen in early 2021, looks largely the same today. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

The city will be seeking a single operator for the full restaurant space. Winston has said the goal is to see the space built out and full of guests by the end of 2023, but that once a lease is signed, the city can’t dictate how long it takes an operator to open.

The $48-million Gateway replaced a parking lot with a park-topped garage. Last year, it earned the Atlanta Urban Design Commission’s Award of Excellence for sustainable design.

We’ve been asking—fruitlessly—for a couple of years, but here goes again: People of Atlanta, what type of food-and-beverage concept should go here?


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