File this one under the "It's about time" category. With the intown housing market growing faster than caffeinated kudzu, MARTA is finally getting the ball rolling on developing mixed-use hubs above urban stations. An Atlanta Business Chronicle columnist opines that this development cycle could be "precisely the right time" for new projects to surmount Lenox, Arts Center, Midtown and North Avenue stations. The article makes a compelling case for success, and it seems to hinge on ease of access to cocktails. Imagine the top of the Midtown MARTA Station, for instance, being rimmed with a thriving bar and restaurant scene.
MARTA had a go at transit-oriented-development more than a decade ago with Lindbergh Center. While the economic downturn is a convenient excuse for the twelve-year lull, the lack of developments at other stations is also an indictment of the limited success of the Lindbergh project.
The ABC columnist pins the problem on Lindbergh's relative isolation between Midtown and Buckhead, and offers that the stations selected this round are "surrounded by a dense mix of high-volume uses, and this will aid MARTA's end goals this time." Come early November, when the proposals have been submitted, we'll see what the professionals think.
— Michael Kahn