A Relentless Ally from Beginning to End: Iconic Buckhead Atlanta
Buckhead Atlanta is a major mixed-use redevelopment project in the heart of Atlanta's premier entertainment and retail district. Phase 1 of the Master Plan opened in September 2014, a milestone for a project that began in 2005 as an urban design initiative to revitalize a major portion of the historic Buckhead commercial district.
Balfour Beatty has been involved with the project since its first developer, Ben Carter, broke ground on the then named “The Streets of Buckhead” in 2006. For several years, the project was fraught with challenges that led many to believe the dream for the development would never come to fruition. After Carter pulled out of the project, cranes sat idle over two expansive holes in the Buckhead landscape for a period of three-and-a-half years – a wrenching reminder of the country’s economic downturn that had hit all too close to home.
That was until OliverMcMillan took over the project in 2011, retaining Balfour Beatty as the contractor to manage the project’s three parcels which total over 1.5 million square feet. The decision would prove to be an auspicious one. The institutional knowledge of Balfour Beatty team members was vital to maintaining the project budget and schedule and reducing the impacts of unforeseen site conditions. Balfour Beatty completed work on all three parcels in just 16 short months, a fact rendered all the more impressive when considering the overall degree of project complexity, the 1.6 million man hours logged, and the fact that not so much as a single lost time incident was recorded – even with an average of 825 workers on site daily at the peak of construction.
While much of Buckhead Atlanta’s successes have been widely publicized, what many might not know is that Balfour Beatty remained actively involved in the project even after construction activities on all parcels were suspended in February 2009. Though the site may have been inert, behind the scenes, Balfour Beatty teammates were anything but idle. Not just a general contractor but a true construction partner, Balfour Beatty provided ongoing preconstruction support through the project’s change in ownership, aiding in reviewing, estimating, guiding, and responding to rapidly and continuously changing program requirements. In fact, Balfour Beatty’s preconstruction team priced dozens of options in attempts to resuscitate the project before the developer changed hands.
After OliverMcMillan acquired rights, Balfour Beatty priced dozens more options as the developer carefully examined the proforma and project program as well as revisited the streetscape and architectural design directions. When construction activities resumed in August 2012, Balfour Beatty expertly accommodated challenging revisions to the building footprints in accordance with the new design, including lower column loads, changes to the locations of vehicular entries and exits, and a new layout of plumbing penetrations among several other modifications.
Today, Buckhead Atlanta is home to prestigious retailers, world-class restaurants, and luxury apartments, because Balfour Beatty team members understood the importance of the job entrusted to them.
In recognition of its outstanding design, construction, and development planning, Buckhead Atlanta has received a number of design and real estate awards, including the 2013 Atlanta Business Chronicle Best in Atlanta Real Estate Award and the Atlanta ULI Project of the Year honors in 2014.