Gensler and SHAPE join Atlanta’s Centennial Yards megaproject

The list of big-name architects working on Atlanta’s largest development project recently got a little bit longer. Gensler and planning firm SHAPE have joined on for Centennial Yards’s second phase that will add 470,000 square feet of entertainment, retail, and restaurant space to an underutilized site in the heart of the city’s downtown.

The 50-acre project was master planned by Foster + Partners and Perkins&Will. Centennial Yards Company is the lead developer of the project, working alongside CIM Group. The project’s prominent location borders State Farm Arena and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It looks to further develop the district into an entertainment-driven venue where patrons could see Beyonce in concert and later go bowling with a group of friends.

Already work is underway to transform the neighborhood, an area known to locals as The Gulch, a stretch of empty space underneath railroad viaducts built in the 1920s. The 18-story Anthem Hotel is now under construction and in 2022 SOM unveiled the design for an office tower planned for the site.

“The district will feature communal spaces and walkways, interwoven with greenery and pedestrian-focused design elements. It will also pay tribute to the site’s rich railroad heritage,” the development shared in an Instagram post.

aerial rendering
Phase two adds to the area’s revamp as an entertainment district. (Courtesy Gensler)

These grand plans are evidenced in the new set of renderings for phase two, shared recently by Gensler. The visuals for the 7.5-acre site show a street-level plaza that pours out from the road itself. The open space is surrounded by a cluster of buildings and dotted with umbrellas for dining outdoors. The proposal calls for these buildings to house a hotel, shopping ventures, and even an “immersive eatertainment concept.” The buildings are topped with green roofs and faced with vibrant graphics, such as colorful LED lighting.

Centennial Yards developers hope to break ground on phase two this summer, with the hope it can serve as stomping ground for those attending the FIFA World Cup in 2026. A final completion date for the entire development is still several years out.

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