Three and ½ years after it was finished, the Grant Park Gateway’s dusty but architecturally unique retail component will officially have a familiar name as its first tenant.

The City of Atlanta Departments of Procurement and Parks and Recreation have picked Savi Provisions, a local gourmet market and grocery chain known for its wine selection and organic foods, to fill the entire 7,056-square-foot retail space overlooking the 2.5-acre park that tops a parking garage next to Zoo Atlanta.

Despite the award-winning building’s prime location in a historic neighborhood beside a top tourist attraction, the recruitment process for its first occupant took city officials two attempts across more than a year.

Savi, one of three finalists vying for the space, is expected to “boost the area’s diversity of food options and convenience, acting as a central gathering place for both residents and visitors,” according to an announcement from Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens’ office.

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

Founded in 2009, Savi counts locations in North Carolina and 16 stores in metro Atlanta, spanning from the airport to Howell Mill Road, Decatur, and Brookhaven to the Crabapple district in Milton. The nearest Savi outpost to Grant Park remains the original one in Inman Park, roughly two and ½ miles away.

According to city officials, Savi’s award recommendation will now be forwarded to the Atlanta City Council for approval, following a vetting process described as “thorough.”

City Council member Jason Winston, whose District 1 covers Grant Park, said the goal of the Gateway retail project will be to “maximize the fresh and convenient options available to the neighborhood while building on the vibrancy and historical nature of the community.”

We’ve inquired with representatives from Winston’s office for information on when Savi’s buildout could begin, or an estimate on when the market might open. We’ll update this story with any additional details that come. [UPDATE: 11:03 a.m., Tuesday, June 11: Winston's office responds that "180 days for opening has been the timeline discussed" regarding Savi in Grant Park.] 

Another finalist for the retail space was a concept called “Gateway Park and Market,” as put together by a team that included Terminus Commercial Real Estate Partners, an Atlanta-based CRE firm, alongside Kraig Torres, owner of alcohol purveyor Hopcity, and Mike Walbert, a longtime Atlanta event curator. That called for a micro food hall “foodie destination” and “cultural experience” that would lean heavily into public programming and capitalize on proximity to Zoo Atlanta, as its creators detailed for Urbanize Atlanta last month. 

The third finalist was Rease Group Holdings Inc., an Atlanta-based company led by CEO Andy Rease and founded in 2010. 

The underside of the patio's roof comes to life with lighting at night. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

City officials took ownership of the Gateway space from the Atlanta and Fulton County Recreation Authority early last year, a key first step in getting it leased and occupied. But the first Request for Proposals issued in February 2023 didn’t attract a single bid from prospective tenants.

The city’s Department of Procurement, charged with helping lead the tenant search, concluded that rising construction costs spurred by inflation, combined with increased interest rates, contributed to the initial lack of bids. The city later partnered with Invest Atlanta to offer financial assistance to the right operator during the more recent solicitation process. Exactly what sort of financial carrot was offered hasn't been specified. 

The latest RFP was an improved pitch to businesses that could fill such a large space. It provided drone footage, set up tours for potential tenants, and specified how large the shell space is: 7,056 square feet. It called for a single enterprise to create a Gateway concept that will “increase the property value of the neighborhood, improve the area’s livability, serve as a convenience to neighborhood residents and visitors, and continue Atlanta's forward progress.” 

The $48-million Gateway project replaced a parking lot with the park-topped garage, officially opening in January 2021. In 2022, it earned the Atlanta Urban Design Commission’s Award of Excellence for sustainable design.

Clearing the cobwebs from the Gateway building will be a clear win for the area. But how do you feel, Atlanta, about another Savi occupying the entire facility?


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• Grant Park news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)