Things were different in late 1997, when Dewberry Capital Corp. acquired a three-acre tract at Peachtree and West Peachtree streets on Midtown’s northern edge. “Midtown was on a few people’s radar screens, like Jim Borders, back then, but not many,” said John Dewberry, president of Dewberry Capital. “Now it’s on everybody’s, for sure.”
Thanks in part to Blueprint Midtown, which provided an overall vision for development, Midtown is becoming one big live/work/play community. Some 5.5 million square feet of new office space is under construction or proposed; 5,600 new residential units are on the way.
High-tech companies such as iXL Enterprises and EarthLink have leased older buildings that they are turning into “funky office space.” The companies’ young workers want to live intown and near work.
The new residents and workers will prompt developers to build new retail space, which is lacking in Midtown. Dewberry is in discussions with major retailers to bring new stores found in Buckhead to his Midtown Square project at Peachtree and 10th streets.
As things fall into place, Post Properties Chairman John Williams thinks Midtown might
develop an around-the-clock atmosphere reminiscent of San Francisco or New York. It will take about 10 years, he has said, but Midtown will establish a true 24-hour atmosphere.
Meanwhile, more developers are discovering areas in Midtown not necessarily on Peachtree. That will help create a pedestrian community where people will be able to walk to restaurants, shops and plays, Dewberry said.
“What’s good is that the market is starting, to some extent, to move off of Peachtree,” he said. “It’s starting to get some depth to it.”