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In south downtown Atlanta, redevelopment vision embraces history, arts, walkability

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Plans call for major preservation, revitalization, and MARTA accessibility over parking lots

A three-strory brick building on hotel row.
Some of the many historic buildings in need of love in south downtown.
Michael Kahn, Curbed Atlanta

Plans for the reinvention of south downtown are becoming a little clearer, with the U.S. chief of German investment firm and developer Newport laying out an ambitious vision for the long-languishing district.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the area’s future will rely heavily on the past, with the firm embracing existing buildings and seeking input from neighborhood residents.

Unlike the nearby Underground Atlanta development, which has been criticized for lacking in transparency and neighborhood involvement, the Newport plan is to gather input, leverage the surviving assets, and build from what currently exists, leaders insist.

Ironically, at one point in the recent past, Newport was actually a partner on the Underground development.

Preliminary plans call for the current sea of parking lots and half-abandoned old buildings to eventually be transformed into the city’s foremost walkable arts district, complete with workforce housing, retail, loft offices, and restaurants.

Overall, the $200-million vision is atypical by Atlanta standards, with plans to preserve all the existing buildings and build no new parking.

On Broad Street.
Curbed Atlanta

So far, the firm owns more than two dozen old building in the neighborhood, with the procurement of another dozen in the works, officials told the newspaper.

But the vision doesn’t stop with revitalizing old buildings, either. Newport hopes to acquire several block-filling parking lots and use the space for future development.

No word yet on when work could begin.