By John Schaffner

Phase 2 of the project to turn Peachtree Road in the heart of Buckhead’s financial district into Peachtree Boulevard is approaching a critical deadline in January with Simon Properties indicating its support as recent at Dec. 19 and the final ball mainly remaining in Macy’s court.

Simon Properties was one of four properties in the heart of Phase 2 of the project that had not reached final approval with the Buckhead Community Improvement District (CID), but CID Executive Director Scotty Greene said “they have indicated they are ready with a sizeable contribution” as a Jan. 15 deadline looms for the acquisition of the necessary rights of way between the Buckhead MARTA station and Roxboro Road along both sides of Peachtree Road.

The Buckhead CID needs to lock down $4.5 million in donated land from commercial property owners along Peachtree Road to launch the second phase. Greene said one-third of the property owners already have closed their deals with the CID and all but the four properties are ready to close with the paperwork in the hands of attorneys.

The project is the culmination of a $55 million project that originated in 1995 to ultimately to turn Peachtree Road from the Streets of Buckhead to Roxboro Road into a world-class, tree-lined boulevard with street-level access to stores, condos and offices.

Greene indicated that while there are still some negotiations to complete with Simon, owner of both Lenox Square Mall and Phipps Plaza, the most critical conversations remain with Macy’s, “which has what amounts to a 999-year lease that virtually gives them ownership say” regarding anything that affects their store property at Lenox Square.

The boulevard project does not directly impact the Macy’s store except for inconveniences that might occur during the construction phase. “However, Macy’s has indicated they are okay with the construction plans they have reviewed,” Greene said. He feels there is now a basis for making an agreement, and he plans to continue talking with Macy’s during the remainder of the holidays.

Greene said he also is still working to obtain final agreements from the owners of the Lenox Plaza and Lenox Towers office buildings, across Peachtree Road from Lenox Square, as well as the owners of the Target and Dick’s shopping center on Peachtree at Roxboro Road.

The land acquisitions need to be completed by Jan. 15 to be eligible for state and federal funding programs, according to Greene, and so the Georgia Department of Transportation has time to bid out the contracts in April so that work can begin on the project July 1.

But the Jan. 15 deadline is critical to all of that, Greene stated. “Time is our enemy now.”