It's still got a way to go before it even begins to rival Michigan Avenue, but the Midtown Mile definitely holds promise as Atlanta's signature urban boulevard. What could make it better sooner than later? Art, of course! The Atlanta Chapter of the American Institute of Architects will be launching a program this spring with just that idea in mind known as URBANfronts. The idea is to infuse empty retail space with creative wonders, filling in the gaps and giving residents and visitors more reason to put their feet on the street ... er, sidewalks. Not that anyone asked, but here's a few Midtown spots that come to mind as needing some buzz ...
1) The old Houston's at Colony Square: What was originally built as an Abercrombie and Fitch (no kidding) has languished for years as that odd little building that sits apart from the rest of the mixed use development's shopping/eating offerings. The corner of 15th and Peachtree was vastly improved as a pocket park, but so far no takers for this one. Its location so close to the Woodruff Arts Center makes perfect sense as an art venue.
2) Jock's and Jills/Mamanoes/Blakes #1: There have been plenty of cries to put it out of its misery, but the little building that can't at the corner of 10th and Peachtree seems here to stay, at least until John Dewberry sees fit to develop the prime block.
3) Viewpoint: Okay, maybe it's a little too obvious. The retail space at this Novare property hasn't exactly been a smashing success — which could hopefully change with some newly announced remodeling — but the visibility of this block begs for visual treats. Runnerup: the old "Noon" space on the back of 1010 Midtown.
4) Parking lots: The program is geared toward these as well as storefronts, and there are plenty that could serve a purpose other than degrading the streetscape, at least temporarily. How about 13th at Peachtree? 11th at Juniper? Or what might as well be a parking lot: the empty land that sits directly across from the High Museum?
What do you think?
— By Curbed Atlanta contributor Jonathan Carnright