Transformative Design for Iconic Mixed-Use Property in Midtown Atlanta
North American Properties has enlisted Beyer Blinder Belle in collaboration with Atlanta-based Lord Aeck Sargent to “reimagine” Midtown Atlanta’s Colony Square.
A preliminary conceptualization was released today:
ATLANTA (May 23, 2016) – After nearly 200 interviews and five months of seeking the community’s input, North American Properties (NAP) and local branding firm Imbibe have landed on one word that summarizes its findings and the future for Colony Square: Urbane. Defined as “having the polish and suavity regarded as characteristic of sophisticated social life in major cities,” urbane serves as the inspiration behind the development’s new branding, logo and design. To bring its vision to life, NAP enlisted New York City-based Beyer Blinder Belle in collaboration with Atlanta-based Lord Aeck Sargent as the architectural design team.
For more than four decades, Beyer Blinder Belle’s work has focused on the revitalization and retail repositioning of iconic, nationally celebrated buildings and sites, including Grand Central Terminal, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Lincoln Center and the World Trade Center. The firm will bring its urban design expertise to Colony Square to transform Atlanta’s original mixed-use project into a modern, vibrant destination.
“The renewal of Colony Square represents an extraordinary opportunity to create a charismatic and welcoming public place at the heart of a growing neighborhood, on the corner of ‘Main and Main’ Atlanta,” said Richard Metsky, partner at Beyer Blinder Belle. “The design concept supports the ongoing transformation of Midtown into a vibrant commercial, retail, residential and cultural district.”
According to Metsky, a central challenge is to soften the hard edges and seemingly impenetrable buildings that make circulation through the complex difficult. The strategy is to dissolve the barriers between Colony Square and the adjacent community by creating visual connections - from the outside in and inside out - that will reinforce connectivity and promote an engaging pedestrian experience.
Lord Aeck Sargent will collaborate with Beyer Blinder Belle to bring local expertise and historical perspective to the project.
“Colony Square’s mid-century modern architecture is an important contribution to the real estate history of Atlanta and the Southeast,” said Jack Pyburn, principal and director of the Historic Preservation practice area at Lord Aeck Sargent. “NAP’s commitment to Colony Square is an opportunity to build on the special qualities of the complex to create an exceptional central gathering glace for the surrounding community.”
Initial design concepts are inspired by globally recognized public squares such as the Plaza De Santa Ana in Madrid, Spain. The new look reinvents the retail center, offering an indoor/outdoor space with terraces, lush landscaping, restaurant patios spilling into common areas and experiential retail.
“We are seeing a global resurgence of public squares,” said Fred Kent, founder and president of Project for Public Spaces and advisor to NAP. “Colony Square will become a sophisticated business, residential and cultural hotspot that, like all great squares, is alive with street-level energy and activity.”
The design responds to Imbibe’s in-depth branding research and the Midtown community’s feedback around Colony Square’s present and future. Initial branding will be revealed at Colony Square’s Streets Alive event on June 12 in collaboration with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.
“Currently, people describe Colony Square with words like ‘boring,’ ‘lots of concrete’ and ‘dated,’” said Ben Friedman, founder of Imbibe. “The brand we’ve built reflects Colony Square’s dynamic future – a 24/7 foodie and shopping mecca activated with events, retailers, restaurants and cultural experiences.”
NAP has already begun incubating a few design and placemaking concepts. The team recently installed the MIDTOWN letters, anchoring the corner of Peachtree and 15th Streets. The community has embraced the new icon, sharing photos with the letters using the hashtag #IAmMidtown. There are plans underway to reimagine the space facing Peachtree Street near the MIDTOWN letters into a pop-up restaurant with garden lights and outdoor seating. A well-know restaurateur is developing a new concept for the chef-driven eatery.
“Our philosophy is to curate the experience first, identify the right uses and then, design around it,” said Liz Gillespie, vice president of marketing at NAP. “We are excited to see how the community responds. In the meantime, we will continue our work with local cultural institutions to activate Colony Square with new and exciting events, activations and short-term installations.”
About North American Properties Founded in 1954, North American Properties is a privately held, multi-regional real estate operating company that has acquired, developed and managed more than $5 billion of mixed-use, retail, multifamily and office properties across the United States. Headquartered in Cincinnati, with offices in Atlanta, Dallas and Fort Myers, Florida, the company has developed 19 million square feet of retail and 17,000 apartment units in 12 states. In the past three years, North American Properties has launched 36 projects totaling $1.1 billion in total capitalization. In Atlanta, North American Properties owns Avalon, Colony Square and Anthem on Ashley. For more information, please visit naproperties.com.
“After 50 years, is Colony Square finally ready to grow up?” By Josh Green, Atlanta Magazine, June 2016