While downtown might have been knocked out of the Curbed Cup in the first round this year, it’s hard to discount Atlanta’s center of commerce, tourism, and history as not being a victor in 2016.
With a range of projects from hotels, to housing, to retail announced for the area, the once nine-to-five district should be well on its way to enhanced vibrancy.
Now, Central Atlanta Progress (CAP) is spearheading efforts to shape the coming growth in the neighborhood with a new Downtown Atlanta Master plan.
The project kicked off earlier this month with a public meeting evaluating transportation needs and opportunities in the neighborhood.
With nine of MARTA’s 38 rail stations located in downtown, and nearly 1 million monthly boardings at Five Points alone, downtown is well-positioned as far as transit is concerned. In fact, 34 percent of the 26,850 downtown residents reported that they bike, walk, or take transit to work.
While the residential makeup of the city’s core pales in comparison to other ‘hoods, some other numbers released from a preliminary study are downright staggering. According to the Master Plan introduction, more than 150,000 Atlantans stream into the core of the city to work every day in some 37 million square feet of offices.
Add to that visitors in more than 12,000 hotel rooms, and 13 million annual attendees at downtown’s sports, cultural, and music venues, and you get a lot of activity — $34 billion (yes, with a “b”) in annual economic impact, per CAP.
Beyond major infrastructural interventions, the plan also hopes to address quality of life issues for those who live and work downtown every day. Small additions like cycle tracks can go a long way toward building on positive initiatives like the launch of Relay bike share earlier this year.
As more investment comes to downtown in the coming years — an expected $4.4 billion is anticipated by 2020 — it is CAP’s goal to be prepared for the growth.
Look for more ways to get involved with the planning for downtown as the study progresses next year.