Avalon developer North American Properties in final talks to buy Midtown’s Colony Square

April 17, 2012 - Atlanta: Colony Square office buildings are shown on Peachtree Street in midtown Tuesday afternoon in Atlanta, Ga., April 17, 2012. Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com

April 17, 2012 – Atlanta: Colony Square office buildings are shown on Peachtree Street in midtown Tuesday afternoon in Atlanta, Ga., April 17, 2012. Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com

North American Properties, the developer behind Avalon in Alpharetta and key part of the team that helped turnaround Atlantic Station in Midtown, is in final talks to acquire the well-known Colony Square complex near the Woodruff Arts Center, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The office and retail center, which includes two office towers, was among the first major mixed-used developments in the South. It was listed for sale by a joint venture including New York real estate giant Tishman Speyer and Rialto Capital. The deal is expected to close before the end of the year, the person said.

Tony Wilbert, a spokesman for NAP, said he could not discuss the matter, but more details may be made available at a later time.

The project will become the latest turnaround project for NAP, which along with CBRE Global Investors recently sold the retail core of Atlantic Station for a hefty sum of nearly $200 million.

NAP’s plans for Colony Square weren’t immediately clear.

Commercial Real Estate Direct, which first reported the sale, said the project is expected to fetch about $170 million. The sale involves two office towers and about 140,000 square feet of retail space, the real estate publication said.

Noted Atlanta developer Jim Cushman developed Colony Square, a mix of shops, restaurants, a hotel, residential and office towers in a project that was decades ahead of its time by Atlanta’s standards. Today, mixed-use is on everyone’s development radar, but in the 1960s, it was a rarity.

The acquisition could be well-timed for NAP. The Midtown office market is tightening as companies seek digs near Georgia Tech and the MARTA spine and the Colony Square campus is located at a the prime corner of 14th and Peachtree streets. Local assets include the Woodruff Arts Center, the Four Seasons hotel and the W Hotel Midtown next door (which is not part of the sale).

Though the NAP’s plans aren’t immediately known, given its track record at Atlantic Station, NAP will likely refurbish the buildings and attempt to fill vacant retail and restaurant locations with high-touch retailers and chef-driven restaurants.

The company has also taken on a more luxury hotel-like mentality for customer service, preaching a gospel of “experiential retail.”

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WhenDeKalbWasGreat
WhenDeKalbWasGreat

I worked at Colony Square for a couple of years while schooling at Tech. It was an awesome complex because of the mixed use, as the article stated. 11-Alive (I think it was 11...) used to come through the open mall part of the complex, filming people waving to the camera for the end of the 11:00 news. There I'd be waving for them at least once a week. People started to recognize me and talk to me on the street about it. That was cool.