A fundraising campaign for “HUB404 Atlanta GA,” a proposed park capping Ga. 400 in central Buckhead, will resume after the recent pandemic-related pause, according to the treasurer of the group planning it.

“COVID put everything on the back burner,” said Jim Durrett, treasurer of the HUB404 Conservancy, at an Oct. 19 meeting of the Rotary Club of Buckhead. But, he said, the Conservancy board met last week “and decided now is the time for us to come out of hibernation and yawn and stretch.” He did not give a new timeline for the fundraising.

An illustration of what the HUB404 park might look like, as shown in the draft concept study.

Durrett said the pandemic shutdowns in March came about six weeks before HUB404’s first major fundraising event, which was to be held at Buckhead’s Flourish event facility.

A fundraising campaign began a year ago. The initial goal, Durrett said, was to raise $4.5 million to $5 million for an engineering study that would get the project to a design stage where its cost could be calculated. Then even bigger fundraising would begin. HUB404’s backers have previously estimated the project’s cost at $175 million to $200 million.

Jim Durrett.

HUB404 fundraising hit another snag early this year when former Conservancy board chair Jay Gould was fired from his position as president and CEO of flooring company Interface on claims of misconduct; Gould in turn sued the company, alleging wrongful termination.

Though it doesn’t exist yet, HUB404 is already affecting plans for redevelopment along the Ga. 400 corridor between Lenox and Peachtree roads. In one example from earlier this month, Cousins Properties proposed capping an expanded parking garage at its 3350 Peachtree Road tower with a green space that could connect to the adjacent HUB404.

Durrett spoke to the Rotary Club in his dual role as executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District and president of the Buckhead Coalition. He recapped his intention to unify those groups and some of the programming under consideration, such as a “Buckhead Blue” private police force.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.