A New Name and Fresh Start for the Buckhead Village District

In the heart of Buckhead is a retail district that has been fraught with difficulties since it debuted nearly a decade ago in 2011. Until recently known as “The Shops Buckhead Atlanta,” the 9 acre mixed-use development has gone by a number of names throughout the years. As the new owners, Jamestown Properties last week made their first significant change to the development with a new name and a slick rebranding.

The project began in 2006 when Ben Carter Properties, LLC started buying properties in the area to develop “Buckhead Avenue,” which was rebranded prior to opening as “The Streets of Buckhead” following a legal dispute. The demolition of existing structures, mostly part of Buckhead’s infamous party scene, began in 2007. Recession caused delays in construction and pushed the opening date by several years to 2011, by then the San Diego-based OliverMcMillan Inc. had purchased the land from Ben Carter Properties. 

Not so inclined to establish the retail development as a luxury “Rodeo Drive-type development,” OliverMcMillan Inc. instead leaned towards an urban village and named it simply “Buckhead Atlanta.” The first retailers and restaurants opened in 2014, and it was during this phase that the recognizable elements of the area were firmly established, such as the quaint cobblestone streets, retail, restaurants, cafes, apartments, and office spaces. Just one year later in 2015 it was announced that the development would change names yet again, this time to “The Shops Buckhead Atlanta,” in an effort to reduce confusion for shoppers. 

It has been 5 years since the last rebrand, and when Atlanta-based real estate development and management company Jamestown announced that they acquired the struggling Shops in July of 2019 rumors started to fly that maybe another name shakeup was in the works. Sure enough, during Buckhead Business Association’s annual luncheon in February 2020 Jamestown CEO Matt Bronfman announced that the development would change its name to “Buckhead Village District” in homage to the original name of the area. 

Along with the new (old) name, the signage in the area is getting a refresh with bright green and blue hues and a fun, vintage font. 

Bronfman’s BBA address mentioned some more sweeping changes as well, such as a return to more family-friendly and accessible retail with certain high-end shops set to depart when their leases expire. Jamestown has not revealed which retailers will be bidding the District adieu as of yet, but did indicate that they intend to “reimagine the property so visitors look at the Village as a place to go and spend the day” according to Jamestown President Michael Phillips. This likely includes more affordable retail, a coffee shop, and a bookstore, among other new shops. 

The infrastructure has already begun to undergo some more substantial change, such as the addition of the Veranda, a covered patio with couches, cafe tables, stepped seating, all centered around a grand faux fireplace, perfect for dining and working al fresco. 

“All of the property enhancements were designed to create an accessible shopping and dining destination for families built around a modern Southern lifestyle,” said Phillips. “The new Center Plaza and The Veranda offer comfortable places to relax outdoors.”

This summer the District will be hosting a number of socially-distant events, such as coffee pop-ups and outdoor sidewalk shop and strolls. New retail is coming as well; Kimberly McDonald will be opening their second boutique on Bolling Way in August. Learn more about the District and what to expect with this refresh by visiting their website.

Buckhead Village becomes most densely populated bar scene in the city

Relaxed laws on minimum parking lot restrictions encouraged a bar district with some famous venues like BAR, World Bar, Lulu's Bait Shack, Mako's, Tongue & Groove, Chaos, and John Harvard's Brew House. 

1980s - 1990s

The city cracks down on nightlife

In response to growing raucousness in the area and violence like the Ray Lewis altercation that left two men dead outside of the Cobalt Lounge, Mayor Sam Massell and councilwoman Mary Norwood convince the Atlanta City Council to pass an ordinance requiring bars to close at 2:30AM instead of 4, increases difficulty for obtaining new liquor licenses, and outlaws under-21 clubs.

2000-2003

Ben Carter begins purchasing parcels

Ben Carter of Ben Carter Properties, LLC starts buying parcels of land in the area for his Rodeo Drive-inspired luxury retail development he named "The Streets of Buckhead." By 2007 most of the area's nightclubs shut their doors for good and demolition officially begins.

2006-2007

Recession woes, delayed opening

The recession presents difficulties for construction, delaying the grand opening from November 2009 until Fall of 2011.

2009-2011

A New Owner

San Diego-based OliverMcMillan Inc. buys the property from Ben Carter Properties, LLC and reimagines the property to be more of an "urban village," renaming the development "Buckhead Atlanta."

2011

First retail and restaurants open

A grid system of cobblestone streets connects street-level cafes, restaurants, and retail to boutique offices and luxury apartments.

2014

Renamed, again

OliverMcMillan Inc. opts to change the development's name to "The Shops Buckhead Atlanta."

2015

Empty streets and struggling shops

The high-end retailers struggle to make sales, storefronts along Peachtree Street remain empty, certain key restaurants and shops open and flourish despite a lack of foot traffic.

2015-2019

A New Buyer, A New Hope

Jamestown, the Atlanta-based real estate development and management company behind successful retail centers like Ponce City Market and Westside Provisions District, announces they have acquired "The Shops Buckhead Atlanta." Hope springs eternal.

2019

Rebranded and refreshed

Jamestown CEO renames the area "Buckhead Village District," drawing applause from the crowd at the Buckhead Business Association's annual luncheon in early February. Plans are unveiled for more family-friendly and affordable retail paired with the departure of some of the less-successful luxury shops. 

Signage is changed from stark white on red to retro blues and greens with a vintage font. The Veranda, an open air covered patio with lounge and cafe seating, is officially opened.

2020