OliverMcMillan, a San Diego development firm, is taking over the Streets of Buckhead retail project from Buckhead developer Ben Carter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on its Web site Thursday.
Carter told the AJC that he was removed from the project, launched in 2006, so that Oliver McMillan can bring in new capital to finish the stalled project.
Once the site of the Buckhead Village's bar scene, the Streets of Buckhead was envisioned as a luxurious retail and residential site rivaling Los Angeles' Rodeo Drive. But the recession and the withdrawal of bank lending left work stalled and a big hole in the middle of Buckhead at Buckhead Avenue and Peachtree Road.
Carter said in an e-mail to Buckhead Patch that he would have no further comment, and that OliverMcMillan or CB Richard Ellis should be contacted. A voice mail to OliverMcMillan was not returned. The AJC reported that Oliver McMillan was brought in by CBRE, one of the project's investors.
In July, Carter said he was close to a $200 million deal to finish the project. But the loan never materialized.
The Buckhead Coalition, a Chamber of Commerce-style organization for the community, welcomed the news of OliverMcMillan taking over.
According to a Buckhead Coalition news release late Thursday afternoon, Carter was recently asked by the Coalition for a schedule going forward in response to widespread community concern with the negative appearance of the "hole in the ground", where construction had come to a dead stop well over two years ago.
Coalition president Sam Massell said, "The decision for the OliverMcMillan San Diego firm to restart the process is good news for Buckhead and Atlanta as a whole. We think it also to be good news for OliverMcMillan!"
The Streets of Buckhead is a focal point for this northern portion of Atlanta, and has national interest in the prestige of its plan, the Buckhead Coalition said.
The Buckhead Coalition said that OliverMcMillan has an impressive reputation in the real estate profession, yet is little known in this part of the Southeastern United States.. It has won many awards and works in partnership with CB Richard Ellis, which is well- known in these circles.
Massell added, "Our pleasure is not only the recommencement of this major mixed use construction, but the realization that the new developer has a history of good civic relations. Thus, we welcome them with our pledge of cooperation at every turn.".