The inclusion of more than 2,000 parking spaces in the revamped configuration of Underground Atlanta was a hot-button issue that’d worried downtown advocates when plans were initially revealed last year. (Those concerns clearly hadn’t subsided as of Monday morning, when we mistakenly reported that parking could still be at those elevated levels, following the release of updated plans that did not include parking information).
Now, the COO of developer WRS, Steve Howe, has sought to assuage concerns, stating the company and their partners are doing everything in their power to minimize parking in the historic heart of Atlanta.
Howe said the development team is working with multifamily and student-housing partners to determine how to decrease the required number of parking spaces for their planned portions of the project. As plans come together in the next several months, a more reasonable (and scaled back) estimate for parking will be available.
The team is “actively trying to minimize” the amount of parking, recognizing that the neighboring MARTA transit connection will have an impact on the number of people who drive to the site, Howe said.
Additionally, Howe hopes many of those who ultimately live at Underground will also work in the neighborhood, further decreasing the need for parking.
There are no definitive projections for parking counts yet. But a deck originally proposed at Kenny’s Alley will not move forward, he said.
The first phases of development will feature mid-rise construction, maxing out at between 10 and 15 stories. There’s no guarantee that taller towers will be part of the development, as later phases will be dictated by tenants and market conditions. Howe did confirm that New York-based S9 Architecture is still working on the project.
As part of the update, a clearer picture as to what will be developed on each block is emerging, as per WRS:
Block 1: Northwest corner of Pryor and Upper Alabama
With a vision for higher density hotel, office, retail, and additional housing, Block 1 will be the last phase of the four-block transformation.
Block 2: Northeast corner of Pryor and Upper Alabama
Featuring student housing from development partner Peak Campus and multi-family housing from partner Prestwick Companies, more than 800,000 square feet of new construction will begin on this block in fall 2018, with an estimated delivery date of fall 2020 and early 2021 respectively.
Block 2 will provide much-needed new housing options to support the community being created as well as the broader downtown population. Both buildings will feature a mix of street-level retail focused on the needs of the neighborhood and Georgia State University’s growing student body. Between block 1 and 2 there will be nearly 175,000 square feet of retail space to add neighborhood necessities and conveniences to the mix.
Block 3: Southwest Corner of Central and Alabama
Here WRS will create a place, space, an ecosystem that fosters creativity and supports Atlanta’s growing community of makers and doers. Filled with a mix of retail, office, and communal areas to support a 24/7 lifestyle, a more extensive rehabilitation of older buildings and other existing structures of Block 3 will begin in early spring 2018.
The lower level of Underground Atlanta closed on Aug. 13 to assess the condition of the central hub, utility set up and structural safety. Block 3 is also the permanent home of The Masquerade and the recently announced coworking pop-up Post-Office Cowork at 86 Pryor.
Block 4: Southwest corner of Pryor and Alabama
More than 40,000 square feet of retail storefronts line Upper Alabama to Peachtree Street and currently house many longterm Underground Atlanta tenants who relocated from the now-closed lower level to continue day-to-day business above ground.