The high-end retail, office and housing complex known as The Shops Buckhead Atlanta has yet another new owner – the mastermind of Ponce City Market — who is seeking community input on the property’s future through “town halls” and an online survey.
The acquisition by Jamestown, an Atlanta-based real estate firm known as the developer of the Old Fourth Ward’s Ponce City Market, has been in the works for months and officially announced July 18. The first “town hall” will be held July 23 at The Shops, located along Peachtree Road between East Paces Ferry and Pharr roads. To register for the meeting, see the website here. The online survey is available here.
The survey indicates that Jamestown is rethinking the retail mix at the sometimes struggling Shops. As for the complex’s name, which has changed frequently and is widely criticized as confusing, Jamestown spokesperson Fallon McLoughlin said it’s “too early to say” whether another rebranding could happen.
Jamestown president Michael Phillips said in a press release that his team considers the Peachtree-East Paces intersection area to be “the centerpiece of Buckhead and we are excited to be incoming stewards of this community asset.”
Now on its third owner-developer and fourth name, The Shops has had a tortuous development history and branding struggles. The six-block, $1.5 billion development in Buckhead Village sprang from a notorious stabbing during the 2000 Super Bowl, which crystalized local concerns about crime and energized a push to gentrify what at the time was one of the city’s biggest nightclub districts. Notably, Jamestown’s new survey asks what “entertainment and/or nightlife” options residents would like to see at The Shops, possibly including a “night club/bar.”
Originally conceived under the name “Buckhead Avenues,” which drew a legal challenge over a similarly named retail outlet, the project was renamed “The Streets of Buckhead” by developer Ben Carter shortly before construction began in 2007.
In 2009, the project stalled, leaving a massive construction hole for over a year. Carter was forced out by investors in 2010. In 2011, developer OliverMcMillan took over the project and renamed it again to the widely mocked “Buckhead Atlanta.”
The first stores in the complex opened in 2014. The following year, OliverMcMillan changed the name yet again to The Shops Buckhead Atlanta.
The Shops has some long-term tenants, such as the luxury designer Hermès and the headquarters of the underwear firm Spanx. But it has seen high turnover in many other tenants among its 60 or so stores. Local residents frequently say the luxury business focus is too similar to the nearby Lenox Square mall and too expensive for neighborhood needs.
Besides its famous work on Ponce City Market, Jamestown also owns the Westside Provisions District on Howell Mill Road and recently bought two shopping centers in the heart of Sandy Springs. The company owns and manages many other properties in eight states.