I was reading this article about the Allen Plaza development, and I wondered if projects like Allen Plaza or Atlantic Station can EVER truly succeed. Now, I think both of these projects have succeeded in many ways, but they are both roughly half-built. For all the early success of Atlantic Station, the Atlantic condos are sitting empty and there are a lot of unbuilt development pads along 17th Street. Barry did great with the Southern Company building and the Ernst and Young building. The W almost went into foreclosure, though, and Barry is barely hanging on to the land for the rest of the project.
These are two projects that started off very hot at the right time - Barry was leasing up the office space in 2004 and 2005, and the Atlantic Station offices started opening in 2004. Now, who knows when they'll get finished. Despite how hot things were, there is only so much that you can build and absorb before things begin to cool down.
Frankly, I wonder if you could have EVER expected these not to falter. The development cycle is simply too short to build as much space as folks were planning.
I actually do agree with Barry that long-term, the pictures still looks good for Allen Plaza. I admit that I am biased, because I want to see Downtown succeed. I think one lesson here is that if you want to do something of this magnitude, you have to plan for the long-term and riding out at least one downturn.