Emory University wanted to acquire the 60-acre Executive Park office site in metro Atlanta to develop a mixed use complex, including a state-of-the-art training facility for the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association, a sports medicine, rehabilitation and orthopedics facility, multifamily residences and general office and medical uses. The site included nine existing office buildings with approximately 400,000 square feet of space. Emory sought the help of Arnall Golden Gregory because of the firm’s experience with complex mixed-use developments.
In the deal, Emory first had to acquire the property, with the intent of (i) ground leasing a portion of the property to the Hawks, on which the Hawks will build a 90,000-square-foot building, including the team’s new world-class practice and training facility with two NBA quality basketball courts, and leasing back approximately 30,000 square feet of medical office space for the operation of an Emory-sponsored sports medicine clinic; (ii) ground leasing a portion of the property to a national multifamily residential home builder, and (iii) leasing the remaining office and medical spaces for complimentary uses, including relocating many of the existing occupants to allow for the implementation of the development plan. Arnall Golden Gregory guided Emory and its affiliates on the acquisition of the property, including complex environmental, wetlands and tax issues, the ground lease and development transaction with the Hawks for the mixed-use building, the lease-back of a portion of the building to an Emory affiliate, the ground lease transaction with the national residential home builder, and multiple leases and amendments with the other users.
In a statement issued at the time of the acquisition, James Wagner, then president of Emory, said, “This significant parcel, which is in a location accessible to all of metro Atlanta, coupled with the fact that we have successful programs in orthopedics, brain health, medical science education, continuing education and health information technology already located in the park, presented an extraordinary, once in a generation opportunity for Emory and the region.”