Unveil the Future: The Centennial Yards Redevelopment Project

On November 17, 2022, a 5 billion dollar project broke ground to unveil the future for downtown Atlanta.  The Centennial Yards Redevelopment Project is underway to transform the downtown area known as “The Gulch”.  The Gulch is a 50 acre stretch of former rail yards and parking lots below street level that have been long neglected.  The site will need to be raised 40 feet using steel and concrete platforms to reach street level.  This will create 15 new city blocks that will be publicly accessible.   The major focus for this project is on the area surrounding the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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The Gulch


The Vision: A City Within a City

The idea for Centennial Yards didn’t sprout overnight; it evolved through years of careful observation, community engagement, and a fervent desire to revitalize downtown Atlanta.  The CIM Group affiliate, a developer based in California, and Tony Ressler’s group have joined forces to tackle the ambitious Centennial Yards Redevelopment Project. Tony Ressler is the owner of the Atlanta Hawks.  They merged to create the Centennial Yards Company (CYC).   The CYC Group will use its resources to provide support services, including investments, accounting, legal and property management.   This transformative endeavor aims to reshape downtown Atlanta, blending urban living with entertainment, culture, and sports. The project promises not just new structures but a re- imagining of the city’s core.

Upon reaching full completion, Centennial Yards is set to span a grand total of eight million square feet. This expansive area will be divided into four million square feet dedicated to cutting-edge residential structures and an additional four million square feet designated for a diverse range of commercial buildings. These commercial spaces will encompass offices, retail outlets, restaurants, and hotels, forming a dynamic and integrated urban landscape.

The Official Start

Construction started in 2022 to build two ground-up high-rise buildings, an 18-story full-service boutique hotel named Anthem and an 18-story 300 unit apartment tower located adjacent to Mercedes-Benz Stadium and State Farm Arena. They plan to complete both towers in 2025, preceding several key matchups in the 2026 World Cup hosted by Atlanta. The construction of these buildings has  contributed to the Downtown area by generating employment opportunities for hundreds of construction workers.

The glassy hotel structure, Anthem would rise 18 stories over the  northwest corner of Centennial Olympic Park Drive and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.  The hotel will have 291 rooms for guests.  The vision for the design is a fin-shaped building with lighted signage and a tapered edge with balconies nearest to State Farm Arena. A rooftop restaurant and bar with views across downtown, plus another restaurant managed by the hotel serving three meals per day at ground level. The building would include over 4,000 square feet of space on the base level for retail or other restaurant uses.  The plan also includes a pool deck and lawn with capacity to host large events.  Also an 8,000 square-foot ballroom with have a window wall with views across the area.

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Anthem hotel proposal opposite State Farm Arena


The second tower also ascending 18 floors will be a 300-unit apartment complex that will include underground parking and loading facilities. The building will offer a variety of one-, two-, and rare three-bedroom rentals. Onsite amenities will include a fitness center featuring TechnoGym equipment, a pool, multiple lounges, on-site co-working spaces, and a dedicated area for a dog run. Another feature will be a central pedestrian plaza and green space connecting Mercedes-Benz Stadium and State Farm Arena to Five Points.

Price of Redevelopment

Centennial Yards secured an incentive package potentially amounting to around $1.9 billion in bonds and reimbursements, excluding interest, until 2048.   CIM will receive a property tax break for 20 years. The first-of-its-kind public financing package allows the developer to recoup 20 years of future property taxes created within the development site and 30 years of future sales taxes on the property to help fund infrastructure and vertical construction. This financial support aims to fund infrastructure projects and vertical construction, including the development of office buildings and upcoming housing initiatives.

Completed Projects

Now complete are The Lofts at Centennial Yards South, a 162-unit apartment project at 125 Ted Turner Dr. . The totally refurbished railroad buildings dating from the early 1900s  house these distinctive loft-style apartments.  Available now for lease are studio, one and two bedroom lofts. The lofts feature high ceilings, huge windows and plenty of light with views of downtown landmarks.  A total of 15% of the loft-style units in the recently completed complex have been designated as affordable housing for residents with incomes below 80% of the area median income. For those who work downtown, living here will cut your commute down to only minutes.   Linked by a new pedestrian bridge to downtown’s main sports and entertainment venues.

The Nelson Street bridge, though not classified as a conventional development, stands as a crucial downtown infrastructure replacement. It supplants a deteriorating bridge that had extended across the Gulch for a century. The eagerly anticipated replacement for the 1906  bridge, which connects downtown and Castleberry Hill, has officially opened to the public in early 2023.

The 500-foot bridge, adorned in greens and blues, features a landscaped plaza, potted trees, and seating areas. It signifies the completion of the new construction project within the 50-acre South Downtown mega project. The new bridge will enhance pedestrian activity and improve access to our premier sports and entertainment facilities.

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Nelson Street Bridge


Apart from the launch of the lofts, construction is scheduled to commence on 80,000 square feet of office space, 50,000 square feet of retail options, and  “The Canyon,” a brewery- and restaurant.

Economic Impact

Centennial Yards Redevelopment Project holds significant promise for Atlanta’s economic landscape. Expectations suggest that the infusion of new construction, commercial spaces, and improved connectivity will stimulate economic growth in the district. The new mixed-use developments, and easy access to public transportation is expected to attract businesses.  Moreover, this will create job opportunities and contribute to the overall economic vitality of the region. The demand for skilled and unskilled labor will rise, injecting vitality into the local job market.

Altogether, there are plans for 1,000 new housing units in Centennial Yards.  However, the Downtown Development Review Committee in Atlanta has expressed that this figure is significantly inadequate. This is particularly concerning, especially given the expansive scale of the emerging neighborhood developing from The Gulch.  Centennial Yards apartments will reserve twenty percent to affordable housing.

In addition, the developer committed to contributing $12 million to a city wide economic development fund. Plans include building a new fire station with an additional $12 million set aside for the project.  Furthermore, a workforce program aimed at assisting citizens in securing better jobs will cost an additional $2 million. CIM will allocate space for an Atlanta police mini-precinct right in the downtown area.  The company also promotes economic diversity through its plans to reserve 38% of Centennial Yards’ retail contracts for local women and minority business owners in the development, construction and property management of the complex.

Connectivity and Accessibility

Centennial Yards places a high priority on connectivity, evident in its commitment to a pedestrian-friendly design, enhanced public transportation options, and improvements to the existing city infrastructure. This focus on accessibility is essential to ensuring that the redevelopment project seamlessly integrates with the surrounding neighborhoods. The emphasis on easy mobility aligns with the broader goal of fostering a cohesive and interconnected urban environment.

Centennial Yards places a strong emphasis on community engagement. The project includes spaces for public gatherings, cultural events, and community activities. This inclusive approach seeks to foster a sense of belonging and pride among Atlanta’s diverse population.

CIM is actively pursuing major apparel and technology companies, museums, and smaller concert halls as potential anchor tenants for Centennial Yards. Additionally, the development seeks grocers, hair salons, barbershops, and other service retail establishments catering to residents.

Centennial Yards will use a similar setup to the Atlanta Braves SunTrust Park. Retailers, bars, and restaurants will strategically position themselves near the Mercedes Benz Stadium and the State Farm Arena to serve concertgoers and sports fans.  This will give people an option to stay downtown to eat and socialize after events.

Although tailgating in the Gulch parking lots will no longer be an option, rest assured that Centennial Yards will offer dining and entertainment options that more than compensate for any disruption in the tailgating experience.


While the Centennial Yards Redevelopment Project in downtown Atlanta has garnered widespread attention and support, it has also ignited fervent opposition from various quarters.  A group called “Redlight the Gulch” has held protests to stop the development.  They claim that public cost is 55 times the public benefit.  However, even though the project is approved by the city council, Redlight the Gulch continues to battle it out in the court system.  They rely on donations for their legal fees.    Other critics raise concerns about the potential repercussions on the city’s socio-economic fabric, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.

Community Engagement and Transparency: A lack of transparent communication and community engagement in the planning process has fueled opposition. Critics argue that the project’s stakeholders should actively involve local residents and businesses in decision-making to ensure that the redevelopment aligns with the community’s needs and values.

As the city navigates this period of transformation, a constructive dialogue between proponents and opponents will play a pivotal role in shaping the ultimate outcome of the Centennial Yards project.

Upon its completion, the $5 billion Centennial Yards will span from South Downtown to Castleberry.   As the Centennial Yards Redevelopment Project progresses, the downtown core of Atlanta undergoes a remarkable transformation. The construction milestones, economic impacts and community engagement, shows a city evolving into a more vibrant, connected, and inclusive space.  The Centennial Yards development stands as a testament to the city’s commitment to progress, innovation, and a thriving urban future.  This year’s progress is a notable advancement in The Gulch’s transformation from an abandoned urban area to a focal point of downtown revitalization. The entire project is estimated to take 10 years.

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