Next to Zoo Atlanta, the end could finally be in sight for the Grant Park Gateway building’s long, strange quest to find an actual use besides looking really cool.

For the second time since the City of Atlanta took ownership of the architecturally striking building, the Department of Parks and Recreation issued a Request for Proposals in February to solicit ideas for the large retail space, which overlooks the LEED-certified parking garage’s green roof and downtown beyond.

Now, at last, three potential suitors are on the line.

Atlanta City Council member Jason Winston, whose District 1 covers Grant Park, tells Urbanize Atlanta the parks department has received three official bids from companies. Their concepts could become the first tenants since the structure was completed nearly three and ½ years ago.

The 2.5-acre park space in relation to the restaurant structure. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

According to Winston, the three finalists are listed as:  

  1. Savi Provisions, LLC

This bidder is well-known. Started more than a decade ago in the heart of Inman Park, Savi Provisions is a gourmet market and grocery known for its wine selection and organic foods. It now counts locations in North Carolina and 16 stores in metro Atlanta, spanning from the city’s airport to Howell Mill Road, Decatur, and Brookhaven to the Crabapple district up in Milton.

The nearest Savi outpost to Grant Park remains the original one in Inman Park, roughly two and ½ miles away.

  1. Terminus Commercial Real Estate Partners, LLC

This is an Atlanta-based CRE firm that focuses on intown real estate, though many of the company’s current retail space listings and projects are north of the city in places like Chamblee and Roswell.

Past deals have included buildings on Krog Street in Inman Park and Old Fourth Ward (the property that became Ammazza Pizza), in addition to the Grant Park retail building on Boulevard that’s home to Ziba’s Restaurant and Wine Bar.  

  1. The Rease Group Holdings, Inc.

This company is based in Atlanta, headed by CEO Andy Rease, and was founded in 2010, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. Little else is known. No website or contact information for the company could be located today.

Exactly what each bidder has in mind is not yet clear. Winston says he was prevented from asking colleagues further questions about the concepts by a mandatory blackout period that lasts until a selection has been made.

That selection should come in 45 to 60 days, according to the councilmember.

“It could happen sooner if there are no issues with the received bids,” Winston wrote in an email. “[I’m] curious about the concepts from the bidders myself.”

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

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

The latest RFP was an improved pitch to businesses that could fill such a large space. It provided drone footage and specified how large the shell space is: 7,056 square feet. It also reiterated that a single operator is being sought to fill the entire building. Site visits for prospective tenants were scheduled in February.

The RFP called for an enterprise that will use the Gateway space “to create something” 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 city managed to take 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 a similar RFP issued in February 2023 didn’t attract a single bid from prospective tenants.

The city’s Department of Procurement, which is 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 has since partnered with Invest Atlanta to offer financial assistance to the right operator during the current solicitation process.

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

Since officially opening in January 2021, the 2.5-acre greenspace has become a magnet for picnickers, skateboarders, roller skaters, bicyclists, and kids who watch elephants, giraffes, and zebras at the zoo next door. But the retail/restaurant space—designed by Smith Dalia Architects and Winter Johnson Group, situated at the elevated park’s south end—has never been used. 

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


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