The massive GM Doraville plant redevelopment is on track to becoming a transformative mixed-use community, Egbert L.J. Perry, chairman and CEO of Integral Group LLC, told a packed audience at a breakfast event hosted by Arnall Golden Gregory LLP.
Integral closed on its purchase of the 165-acre site northeast of Atlanta in late September following months of negotiations with General Motors.
Mr. Perry described the project’s master plan, which was just recently completed. A dense, corporate campus is planned on the east side along I-285. “The Yards” in the southwest corner will be a “funky,” youth-oriented area. In the center, buildings with a mix of uses will ring a large park. A new road will bisect the development and tunnel under the 13 rail tracks that now form a barrier to downtown Doraville.
The new road will connect with Doraville’s Park Avenue. “There was a message there” about the prestigious name, Mr. Perry said.
The project is big enough to be “a destination with many themes,” he said, and “we’re satisfied and pleased that we’re on the right trajectory to getting there.”
Arnall Golden Gregory has been Integral’s counsel since 1993, when Mr. Egbert founded the company. Just three years later, Integral made headlines when it redeveloped the nation’s first public housing project, Techwood Homes, into Centennial Place, a mixed-income community that served as a model for similar projects around the country.
Mr. Perry noted that Jonathan Eady, co-chair of the firm’s large Real Estate Practice, has represented Integral since the formation of the company.
Preparation for the GM site demolition that began last year and will continue for most of this year included 17 months of due diligence, much of which involved understanding the environmental impact of a vehicle assembly plant that operated for six decades. GM’s factory buildings consumed 90 acres. Some 78,000 tons of debris will be removed as they are taken down.
Mr. Perry praised the counsel of John Spinrad, who leads AGG’s Environmental Practice, commenting, “He did help us navigate successfully through this process.”
AGG will continue to work with Integral on its public / private financing and other issues as the development takes shape.
In the meantime, Mr. Perry sees the perception of the project changing from unwieldy industrial “monstrosity” to once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Already, “we’re talking to several prospects,” he said.
About Arnall Golden Gregory LLP
Arnall Golden Gregory, with more than 150 attorneys in Atlanta and Washington, DC, employs a “business sensibility” approach, developing a deep understanding of each client’s situation in order to find a customized, cost-sensitive solution. Selected for The National Law Journal’s prestigious 2013 Midsize Hot List, the firm advises on corporate, litigation and regulatory matters for numerous industries, including business services, healthcare, life sciences, logistics and transportation, real estate, franchising, information services, energy, and manufacturing. AGG is a solutions partner that subscribes to the belief “not if, but how.”