TODAY AT THE PLAZA

Oldies are goodies.

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PROJECT NAME: The Plaza
Our Plan: Successfully Buy a Marquee Property

Affectionately called “The Plaza,” Briarcliff Shopping Center (aka Ponce de Leon Plaza), opened in 1939 and cost approximately $300,000 to develop. This was Atlanta's first shopping center with off-street parking and was designed by architect George Harwell Bond at G. Lloyd Preacher, the same architecture firm that designed the Medical Arts Building in Downtown Atlanta. More than a place to catch a film (or a buzz), and even greater than the iridescent glow at sunset, The Plaza as a place helps us know what Atlanta was. We believe the problem with progress is that too often our past becomes a casualty of the future.

 

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In the case of The Plaza, the evolution of the center ebbed and flowed as did the neighborhood — it occurred naturally. Early tenants included Dupree Dry Cleaners, Blick’s Bowling Alley, and the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Company. Yes, there were days when the center was seedy and the surrounding area was less than desirable. And, still, The Plaza continued. Today, stalwarts such as the historic Plaza Theatre, The Righteous Room, and the Majestic Diner continue to bring comfort and soul to our city, reminding us of our history and demonstrating its own form of success.

 The Plaza Theatre opened on December 23, 1939, screening of The Women starring Joan Crawford.

The Plaza Theatre opened on December 23, 1939, screening of The Women starring Joan Crawford.

 

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Above: The always iconic Majestic Diner opened in 1929 and is best enjoyed late-night — or so we used to experience when we were young(er).

So, when the news came out that the center had sold in 2017, many — perhaps rightly so given the track record of Atlanta’s wrecking ball — voiced concern. “Will this be another crappy apartment building? Is the Majestic leaving? Is The Plaza done for?” The answer was “no.”

For more than 75 years, the center remained an asset to the original owners and developers, a family business that had no intention of selling. Through a trusted decade-long relationship, we were able to guide a successful and happy transition to the new ownership, representing Asana Partners out of Charlotte in the $18.1mm transaction. At Gene Kansas, we don’t believe in tearing down our history, so Asana was the perfect client to represent. Their plans? “To clean up the property a bit, and make the neon a little brighter.” We dig it.

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