South Downtown’s first brewery has set a firm opening date for late this year in what could be a clear statement the area between downtown’s Gulch, Underground Atlanta, and the Georgia State Capitol is on the rebound.  

LaGrange-based Wild Leap Brewing Co. plans to open a restaurant and taproom for beers, wine, and spirits in December as the first retail offering at Centennial Yards, a downtown megaproject expected to eventually span 50 acres. When the brewery concept was initially announced in April 2021, project leaders predicted it would be open last fall, and later this fall, but timelines were pushed back.

By all indications, Wild Leap’s two-story, 15,340-square-foot taproom won’t be an ordinary space.

The lower level will open to a corridor beneath Ted Turner Drive called the “Canyon.” The 740-foot linear retail space is shadowed by Atlanta’s circa-1923 viaduct system that separated downtown pedestrians from cars and trains.

Wild Leap’s outdoor patios are described as a key component of the Canyon, helping to link together other retail tenant spaces beneath what is now the Lofts at Centennial Yards South building.

The multilevel brewery and taproom aims to "respect the building’s architecture and history while infusing the space with greenery, pops of color, and wood accents," per the ASD l SKY design team. ASD l SKY

Moving inside, the ASD/SKY-designed interiors will be anchored at ground level by a central bar and monumental stair leading to the second level. Spaces become more intimate in the brewery’s upper level, where a speakeasy with a hidden entry is being installed. Ceilings are detailed to reference “a decommissioned, overgrown railway,” while vintage lighting and furniture will contribute to the throwback feel.

“Mural art and design surprises throughout the space harken to the building’s original architecture,” according to an announcement today. “[Those] include an abandoned brick elevator chase, building awnings, and branded stamps from the original steel union that constructed the building in 1912.”

The Centennial Yards build-out continues the award-winning brewery’s goal to revitalize historic areas. “For our LaGrange taproom, we renovated a 1940s auto building, and we’re excited to follow a similar suit with this project,” said Rob Goldstein, Wild Leap’s cofounder and chief revenue officer, in a statement.   

The Canyon, a 35,000-square-foot retail promenade below the street, is seen here as construction began in earnest last fall. Stairs from both Mitchell and Nelson street bridges will lead down to the 740-foot-long Canyon. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

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. Beyond the brewery, Centennial Yards South includes 162 apartments and a planned 88,000 square feet of creative office space. In the Canyon, plans call for 50,000 total square feet of retail throughout two lower levels, with a reconstructed Nelson Street Bridge next door.

Wild Leap has racked up more than 50 awards and recognitions since its founding in 2017, including Beer Connoisseur’s Brewery of the Year, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and USA TODAY’s Best New Brewery accolades.

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

Project officials note Wild Leap will operate near both Mercedes-Benz Stadium and State Farm Arena, a six-minute walk from MARTA’s Garnett station. The revived Hotel Row of historic retail and office buildings by another major player in downtown’s redevelopment, Newport RE, is around the corner. 

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 more than 8 million square feet of mixed-use development overall, equivalent to roughly seven Bank of America Plazas, Atlanta’s tallest building.

Recent downtown news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)