When it comes to South Downtown good-times destinations, Magic City may have met its match.

Wild Leap Brewing Co. expects to open the doors Dec. 26 (tentatively) on a Gulch attraction like most Atlantans have never seen in their lifetimes: an adaptive-reuse, multidimensional brewery and events space that aims to increase pedestrian vibrancy, activate forgotten corridors, and generally enliven downtown blocks that lost vitality decades ago.

The award-winning brewery’s cofounders, Rob Goldstein and Anthony Rodriguez, pulled off a property transformation in the same vein in 2017, opening their LaGrange headquarters in a derelict, 1940s Art Nouveau-style former Chevy dealership near that city’s downtown.

“We looked at a ton of places in Atlanta for a taproom,” says Goldstein. “Centennial Yards and South Downtown Atlanta are like south downtown LaGrange on steroids, obviously, and to be the first tenant on a $5-billion development—it was just kind of a dream come true.”

That’s not to say the process was easy.

Once the cofounders discovered the space (via a photo essay on Urbanize Atlanta’s predecessor news site) work actually began in 2019, unbeknownst to most of the public. But the COVID-19 pandemic slammed the brakes on progress and all focus turned to meeting a huge spike in demand for Wild Leap beer and canned cocktails.

Goldstein says the space’s first major use will be a “blowout” on New Year’s Eve “for our friends here at the Peach Bowl,” where Georgia is taking on Ohio State in the College Football Playoffs. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

The team came back to the proverbial drawing board in early 2021, announced the concept that April, and fully intended to open a year ago—until the great supply chain and labor crunch of the past year obliterated all timelines.

“When you build something this custom, you’re going to run into issues, especially now,” says Rodriguez. “Custom pieces have to be built. Lighting fixtures were scarce. And smaller things you expect to be off-the-shelf were completely gone for months. Finally, all of our stuff is starting to show up.”

Beyond outdoor zones, expect nearly 16,000 square feet of brewery space designed by the ASD/SKY architecture firm across two levels, with capacity for 750 people, four bars, one “speakeasy,” and 96 taps. As a brewery, distillery, and winery, Wild Leap will offer signature and experimental beers, wines it's partnered with a Northern California winery to produce, plus its vodka, coconut rum, spiced rum, two different types of whiskies, gin, and as of early next year, an in-house tequila. Each bar will also have slushy options.

Head up to the gallery for an exclusive first look at an adaptive-reuse project in its final phase of construction that’s sure to have South Downtown buzzing.

Recent downtown news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)