Margaritaville Is Officially Set To Go Vertical Downtown

After battle over demolition of 'historic' buildings, site has been cleared and resort is expected to come online mid-2021.

Plans are officially moving forward to build a Margaritaville Restaurant and Wyndham Destinations and Margaritaville Vacation Club downtown.

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“We are in the demo mobilization phase so we are expected to open mid-2021,” a Landmark Builders rep confirmed with What Now Atlanta (WNA) over the phone Monday.

A permit filed with the City describes a 21-story highrise vacation timeshare and retail building with restaurant and retail areas on floors one and two, timeshare units on floors 3-22 and a pool and fitness center on the 19th floor.

Local preservationists have been fighting against the planned development—which overlooks Centennial Olympic Park and the Skyview Ferris Wheel in the Fairlie-Poplar district—since it was first proposed in 2014. 

Demolition on two nearly century-old buildings at the site—141 Walton Street and 152 Nassau Street—was slated for early-2019 as city officials across Mayor Kasim Reed and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ administrations wrangled with landmark status terms, incomplete zoning committee reviews, and whether initial Reed administration negotiations with the developers circumvented zoning designation protocol.

Nonprofit preservation group Historic Atlanta described those two buildings as “vital landmarks of the early days of Atlanta’s distinguished film and musical heritage.”

According to the PBS program “American Experience,” in June 1923, Ralph Peer traveled from New York to record Fiddlin’ John Carson’s ‘The Little Old Log Cabin’ and ‘The Old Hen Cackled’ which went on to sell more than 500,000 copies nationwide.

The Atlanta Independent, a now out-of-print Black Press newspaper, placed 152 Nassau Street as where these first country hits were recorded, historic preservationist and architect Kyle Kessler discovered.

141 Walton was a former film exchange.

Now, the project site triangulated by Centennial Olympic Park Drive, Nassau Street, and Walton Street has been completely demolished, according to Kessler.

“The landmark designation terminated in December 2017 and was not picked back up by City Council,” Kessler told WNA over the phone Tuesday.

There has been interest in picking back up some sort of landmark designation or marker for the site, continued Kessler, “but the City did not put any conditions on the agreements for the development to continue.”

The planned 14,200-square-foot not-yet-named Margaritaville Restaurant will span two stories situated along Centennial Olympic Park.

The new 22-story292,000-square-foot resort, and hotel will have roughly 207 “vacation ownership units” offered in a mix of studio and up to four-bedroom suites. 

Most recently, LLI Management Company, LLC, the group that has owned Lanier Islands since 2005, announced a new partnership with Tennessee-based Safe Harbor Development which, in partnership with Margaritaville, assumed management of LanierWorld, roughly 50 miles north of the city.

Over the next several years, the partnership will bring about a phased multi-million-dollar transformation of the 1,500-acre lakeside resort and entertainment venue, complete with party yachts.

Kamille D. Whittaker

Kamille D. Whittaker

Kamille D. Whittaker is an Atlanta-based journalist, editor and researcher.
Kamille D. Whittaker

Kamille D. Whittaker

Kamille D. Whittaker is an Atlanta-based journalist, editor and researcher.