Real estate pros hate vacant space, but Starr Cumming loves it, and lots of it.
Without ample ground space at Atlantic Station, Hines’s retail director of specialty leasing wouldn’t be able to host ATP’s Atlanta Open every July at the 2 million-sq.-ft. center. Nor would she be able to have Cirque du Soleil headline its event calendar from October through December.
Vacant space’s gift to Cumming last year was Overtime Elite Arena, an NBA development league that pays salaries of $100,000 to hot young ballers who don’t care to showcase their talents at colleges.
Prior to Overtime Elite’s inaugural season in 2021, executives from the organization visited Atlantic Station looking for temporary office space and were put in touch with Cumming. When she learned what the company was about, she walked them down the road to an empty lot and asked, “How would it be to put your arena right here?”
“But we need this in six months,” one of the league execs replied.
“No problem,” Cumming said. “I know the guy who put up a temporary arena for Super Bowl Saturday night last time it was played here.”
Cumming called him, he erected the 103,000-sq.-ft. arena, and Atlantic Station became the home of Overtime Elite basketball.
Atlantic Station’s senior property manager Cornell Holmes said that he and Cumming have done specialty deals together that no one’s ever done before.
“Starr walks into my office and says, ‘Hey, I’ve got this crazy idea,’ and I already have my yes hat on,” Holmes said. “We like to focus on the experience as the way to drive traffic. What can we create for ourselves that no one else has thought of?”
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