New owner for Underground Atlanta announced - CBS46 News

New owner for Underground Atlanta announced

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Underground Atlanta is getting a new owner and a facelift. WRS, Inc. is purchasing Underground Atlanta for about $25.8 million.

Officials said this marks another milestone for the city.

"We solicited the best, most innovative ideas for redevelopment," Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said.

WRS, Inc. will redevelop Underground Atlanta so it will be a place where people can live and shop.

Retail developers said it's in a great location that will attract large crowds.

"My parents used to come down to underground in the '60s in downtown Atlanta, and they had memories. We would love to bring it back," said one Atlanta resident.

They would like to start construction mid-2016.

The city has been trying to unload the property for years. Reed says the city was spending $8 million on the property in maintenance and subsidies.

"It's sometimes easy to forget that Underground Atlanta was once a thriving center for entertainment, dining and nightlife," Reed added.

Underground Atlanta first opened in 1969 and serves as a shopping district in the Five Points section of Downtown Atlanta, which is also the main hub for the MARTA train and bus service.

The district hosts the Peach Drop each year, which is the main New Year's Eve celebration in Atlanta.

Its new owners predict that residents in Atlanta will welcome the new development.

"Our goal is to put people there," said T. Scott Smith, who is the president and CEO of WRS, Inc. "People want to be back downtown. People want to be able to walk to where they want to shop. People want to be able to walk to the parks. They're getting out of their cars. They're getting out of those long commutes, and we have an awful lot of people in Atlanta."

They also claim that the environment around Underground Atlanta will improve as the property is developed. 

WRS Inc. has developed more than 30 shopping centers in the southeast since 2001.

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