Retail/Restaurants ECCO rendering

Published on January 7th, 2016 |

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Fifth Group Restaurants to open ECCO Buckhead next to Phipps Plaza

Atlanta’s Fifth Group Restaurants unveiled plans Wednesday (Jan. 6) to open a sibling of its ECCO European-style restaurant in Midtown in Buckhead at the corner of Peachtree and Wieuca roads. That property is the final piece of new development around Simon Properties’ Phipps Plaza mall.

Architect Bill Johnson, principal of Johnson Studio, explains the layout of the restaurant during the SPI-12 DRC meeting.

Architect Bill Johnson, principal of Johnson Studio, explains the layout of the restaurant during the SPI-12 DRC meeting.

Designed by The Johnson Studio—which also designed the ECCO restaurant in Midtown—the restaurant is expected to open in mid-2017 and would feature seating for 240 inside and a 50-seat landscaped dining patio.

Ecco logoThe Buckhead location would be the third for ECCO. The first opened years ago in Midtown and the second recently at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The exterior design of the ECCO Buckhead restaurant will be much different from ECCO in Midtown, but Johnson Studio principal architect Bill Johnson explained, “We are taking things we really like from Midtown” for the Buckhead restaurant.

ECCO owner Steve Simon

ECCO owner Steve Simon

Johnson told members of the Development Review Committee of SPI-12 (Special Public Interest district) the 9,000 square-foot restaurant “is not a huge restaurant….more a neighborhood oriented restaurant….we want a cozy feeling to the restaurant.”

Johnson explained that the steel structure of the building is minimalized, with lots of floor-to-ceiling glass windows. “There are a variety of experiences throughout,” moving from the main dining room area, to the bar area and two covered outdoor dining areas—one behind the bar and one off the main dining room—both with fireplaces.

The roof areas of the various sections of the two story structure step down from 24 feet, to 16 feet, to 12 feet and finally to 9 feet for the outside seating area. The tallest

Rendering shows view of the proposed restaurant from the corner of Peachtree and Wieuca roads.

Rendering shows view of the proposed restaurant from the corner of Peachtree and Wieuca roads.

part of the structure is two stories with the bottom level having the guest bathrooms and some kitchen functions. The lower area will have both elevator and stairway access.

“There really is no backside to the building,” Johnson said, explaining that the main entrance to the restaurant is off the valet driveway area, in what would normally considered the back of the building. There also is another entrance from a walkway off of Wieuca Road.

Members of the SPI-12 DRC discuss aspects of the restaurant design with the Johnson Studio architectural team.

Members of the SPI-12 DRC discuss aspects of the restaurant design with the Johnson Studio architectural team.

The driveway access to the restaurant is actually the driveway for the AC Marriott hotel, which is presently under construction directly north of the restaurant site on Wieuca Road.

One of the major issues in the design of the restaurant was lining up the motor dropoff area with the parking deck of the hotel and mall, due to the major drop in the topography of the land from the frontage at Peachtree and Wieuca roads.

The topography does not allow an entrance off of Peachtree Road, but the restaurant will have a Peachtree Road address.

Rendering of proposed restaurant from driving south on Wieuca Road. Driveway to restaurant and AC by Marriott hotel is in foreground.

Rendering of proposed restaurant from driving south on Wieuca Road. Driveway to restaurant and AC by Marriott hotel is in foreground.

Another significant challenge was the right of way off of Peachtree Road, which caused a setback of about 75 feet. To deal with that, the design incorporates a pedestrian plaza between the façade of the restaurant and the roads, with steps and a walkway leading down to the restaurant main level. The plaza will be hardscape and landscaping, but no seating is allowed by GDOT in the right of way.

While there were some discussions by committee members concerning the variations requested by the design and development team, DRC members expressed that they were pleased with the restaurant’s design and look forward to the opening.

Rendering shows the main entrance to the restaurant off the driveway at what most would consider the back of the restaurant.

Rendering shows the main entrance to the restaurant off the driveway at what most would consider the back of the restaurant.

Fifth Group owner/partner Steve Simon attended the DRC meeting with representatives from Johnson Studio, Kimley Horn consultants, Simon Properties development representative Patrick Petterman and attorney Jessica Lee.

Fifth Group’s other announced Buckhead venture is a new location of South City Kitchen, which is set to open this spring on the ground floor of 3350 Peachtree, an office tower where Pulte Homes

moved its headquarters in 2013.

Fifth Group also operates La Tavola Trattoria, Alma Cocina, The Original El Taco, Lure and catering company Bold American Events.

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