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‘Atlanta’s first park-oriented development,’ Harp Transmission, moves forward next week

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Website launches for what developers envision as a “front porch” for nearby residents, with no additional parking

At the Harp Transmission project, plans call for a future hub of activity on Memorial Drive.
Plans call for a future hub of activity on Memorial Drive.
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The redevelopment of a former Memorial Drive auto repair shop that hopes to set precedent as “Atlanta’s first park-oriented development” is taking an important step forward next week.

The Harp Transmission project—named for the longstanding business whose building will be incorporated into new designs—has launched a website in anticipation of being presented next Thursday at the Grant Park Land Use and Zoning Committee meeting. Held at Zoo Atlanta, the meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

Next door to Oakland Cemetery, the 350 Memorial Drive venture is expected to cost $16 million and infuse office, retail, and restaurant uses into what’s now a desolate block.

Notably, the project would add—gasp!—no onsite parking. And its backers are seeking public support to help push it all through.

Developers Pellerin Real Estate and Clark Property R+D plan to submit a parking variance that would eliminate the need for 15 off-street parking spaces, which the project is currently required to have. They’ve also lodged a rezoning request to allow for office uses on the top floors, where plans also call for event space.

The first floor, meanwhile, would be a mix of public and private spaces with “family-friendly food and beverage as well as neighborhood retail” that collectively creates a “front porch” gathering place for people who live nearby, developers say.

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Adjacent Georgia Street would be the domain of bikes and pedestrians only, while a public breezeway at the building’s ground floor “will encourage seamless pedestrian connectivity through the park space.” The automotive building would be preserved, adorned with metal screening, and crowned by a “super roof” that would act as a sort of park pavilion, providing shade and rain protection for possible events, per the developers.

It all draws inspiration from famed greenspaces in Dallas (Kyle Warren Park) and New York (Bryant Park) and could be a key addition to what Friends of Memorial Drive Greenway and Park Pride envision as a grand, human-scale overhaul of the key thoroughfare.

Developers will be aiming for LEED certification and have already begun cleanup efforts by removing multiple underground storage tanks used by the automotive shop.

If the rezoning application is approved by the city this year, construction could begin as soon as 2018.

In the meantime, the Harp Transmission building will host Argha Noah, a pop-up arts and cultural event space.

Expect gatherings there throughout the summer and fall this year.