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Before and after: Midtown Atlanta is losing surface parking lots—and it’s awesome

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It’s easy to take Atlanta’s parking-lot-swallowing development for granted, so here’s a reminder of what Midtown looked like not long ago

A massive surface parking lot, filling an entire Midtown block.
A common sight/site in pre-2012 Midtown.
Google Maps

For many years, Midtown Atlanta consisted of sporadic high-rise development (islands, if you will), rising from a seemingly endless sea of asphalt parking lots.

But since the economy has roared back to life in the past five years, many parking lots have perished as new towers and mid-rise ventures have been constructed.

While it’s easy to get down about the remaining, vibrancy-killing parking lots scattered throughout Midtown, below is a visual reminder that things are getting better, from a densification standpoint.

Keep in mind this isn’t even a comprehensive list—other parking-lot cemeteries in Midtown span from The Connector to the cusp of Piedmont Park—but it lends perspective on how much has changed in a relatively short time.

Our journey starts in north Midtown, where in 2014, there was a large parking lot where 15th Street dead-ended into West Peachtree Street.
Google Maps
Looking up the glass and concrete highrise, which has a distinctive kink in it.
Now, AMLI Arts Center occupies the site, with plans to connect 15th Street through to Spring and Williams streets.
Michael Kahn, Curbed Atlanta
A massive surface parking lot, filling an entire Midtown block.
Near Midtown MARTA Station, the entire block bounded by Peachtree Place and West Peachtree, 8th, and Cypress streets was dominated by a parking lot as recently as 2014.
Google Maps
A grass strip is set up for cornhole, with the Midtown skyline just beyond.
Today, the block is filled by Alta Midtown, which features a one-acre park and rooftop greenspace.
Michael Kahn, Curbed Atlanta
Back in 2015, a deep surface parking lot faced Spring Street, just south of 18th Street.
Google Maps
Now, construction is plowing ahead to bring Ascent Midtown, complete with two towers, to the site.
Michael Kahn, Curbed Atlanta
Spring Street in 2012 was a pretty bleak place, with many parking lots (such as this one south of 8th Street) fronting the street.
Google Maps

Other former lots on Spring Street have been taken over recently by swanky student housing towers Square on Fifth (left) and University House:

Curbed Atlanta
Curbed Atlanta
By 2013, the parking lot at the corner of West Peachtree Street and Armstead Place was barricaded, following the relocation of the adjacent SunTrust branch in preparation for the construction of CODA.
Google Maps
An aerial view of the large construction site.
Today, the site is a large pit as work progresses to bring the new John Portman and Associates tower to life.
Michael Kahn, Curbed Atlanta
Just last year, a parking lot ran the length of the block along 7th Street between Peachtree and Juniper streets.
Google Maps
Today, work is progressing on the site for the new office/residential project Hanover Midtown.
Michael Kahn, Curbed Atlanta