The last two weeks have brought a cascade of (mostly) good news for downtown Atlanta, including new apartments, the future transferring of streetcar operations to MARTA, passage of a contentious measure to create an “Arts and Entertainment District,” major foreign investment, and the long-awaited closure of the Peachtree-Pine shelter.
Now, the Atlanta Hawks are coming to the court, unveiling plans to create an entertainment district in the heart of the city.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the team is working to acquire parcels of land in The Gulch to build a mixed-use area complete with retail, restaurants, and possibly residences.
Many in downtown would welcome the redevelopment of The Gulch, which for the first 100 years of the city was the epicenter of activity as the home of Atlanta’s main train stations. Since the demolition of the stations in the 1970s, The Gulch has been nothing but a low sea of parking lots.
Still, some aren’t too keen on the land’s use as an entertainment district.
Opponents cite plans that have been tossed around for at least a decade to restore rail service in the city to the heart of downtown by constructing a multi-modal transit hub in The Gulch. Advocates for that plan fear an entertainment district will foil the rail-based desires, stifling the chance for walkability and transit access in this part of the city.
Specifics about the deal, which could be valued at nearly $1 billion, could be released in the coming week or two. The announcement follows the commencement of a $200-million renovation of Philips Arena.
- Hawks in talks on mixed-use complex near Philips Arena [Atlanta Journal-Constitution; subscriber]