The transformation of Underground Atlanta is moving a step closer to reality, following a year’s worth of negotiations between the City of Atlanta and State of Georgia surrounding land in Buckhead, of all places.
BuckheadView reports the Atlanta City Council is one step away from approving a deal with the state to swap a parking deck adjacent to Underground Atlanta at Five Points for a swath of land in Atlanta Memorial Park in Buckhead. In the trade, the state would come away with "active" areas of the park along Northside Drive.
The park, adjacent to a northern spur of the Beltline, is beloved by neighbors, who are understandably concerned about the specifics of the deal.
In the agreement, the City of Atlanta would take control of a parking deck adjacent to Underground, which WRS requires for their redevelopment efforts. In return, the State of Georgia would snag land including the Bobby Jones Golf Course and the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center on the west side of the Buckhead park. While residents fear the deal could ruin the neighborhood feel of the park, councilmembers swear that certain stipulations in the deal will ensure that's not the case.
Ultimately, the land swap would resolve more than a year of negotiations, which have stalled the sale of Underground Atlanta by the city to pave the way for private development. WRS, a South Carolina-based developer known for suburban shopping centers, is hoping to transform the long-downtrodden historic area and mall into a mixed-use hive with residences, offices, retail space, and even a grocery.
If all goes according to plan, the development could fundamentally change the area, breathing new life into what was the heart of Atlanta in the city’s early years.