Nov 16, 2021 - Real Estate

Can a “tech-infused” project help revive South Downtown?

Rendering of the proposed Forge Atlanta redeveloment project.

Rendering of Forge Atlanta, which would redevelop 10 acres of property formerly home to Gourmet Foods International. Photo courtesy of Urbantec Development Partners LLC

A developer wants to transform 10 acres of industrial land in South Downtown into a mixed-use community where technology plays a central role.

Urbantec Development Partners LLC is the brainchild behind Forge Atlanta, a “technology-infused” project that will feature multifamily housing, retail and entertainment shops and a life sciences center, the company said.

Why it matters: If Forge Atlanta proceeds, it would join Newport's redevelopment of South Downtown's historic buildings, CIM Group's plans to revamp the Gulch, and the planned reboot of Underground Atlanta to resuscitate the historic heart of the city.

The site, located at the former Gourmet Foods International headquarters, is on Whitehall Street near Ted Turner Drive. It's close to the Garnett MARTA Station and the Atlanta University Center.

  • Urbantec purchased the property earlier this year for $26 million.

What they're saying: Urbantec chief operating officer Pietro Doran told Axios that the development will offer workforce, high-end and student housing.

  • “We want to create a village and that requires all income demographics,” he says.

Urbantec says Forge Atlanta will feature 3.8 million square feet of space, 1.2 million of which will be for residential uses. The project will incorporate technology to make life easier for residents.

The details: Urbantec CEO Jae Kim told Axios that they want to implement technology that can track how things are running in the housing units.

  • For example, if a maintenance issue is detected, the technology can notify the property manager, who can schedule a repair before residents even notice.

Yes, but: With this technology comes concerns over security. Urbantec said residents will have access to their data and a secure database will be developed within the complex to keep that information guarded.

Of note: Kim and Doran said they can't talk too much about the life sciences component but said Urbantec wants to partner with an institution to provide that center on site.

What's next: Urbantec told Axios it hopes to break ground on the project by the end of 2022.

  • “We think this complex that we are planning to develop has to be big,” Kim says. “It has to be of this scale to really activate this part of town.”

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