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Grant Park the latest front in Atlanta tree canopy fight

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Plans for a new green-roofed parking deck are causing consternation over the loss of 131 mature trees

A terraced lawn with glassy restaurant beyond.
While the top of the new deck will be green, it will require the removal of longstanding trees.
Smith Dalia

The battle to preserve Atlanta’s lush tree canopy—a hot-button issue over the last few months—has become national media fodder, with U.S. News and World Report now spotlighting the planned Grant Park Gateway and one aspect some neighbors aren’t thrilled about.

The project, which will replace a surface parking lot with a parking deck, topped by an expansive green lawn and restaurant pavilion, will provide space for more than 1,000 cars at the eastern edge of Grant Park.

The parking deck is meant to ease congestion caused by a lack of on-street parking in the area and accommodate increased patron parking for the expanded Zoo Atlanta.

While advocates for the deck point to the need for parking in the area—as well as the creation of the new deck-top park—opponents are concerned about the removal of 131 mature trees on the site.

Even the City of Atlanta arborist tasked with protecting the city’s tree canopy conceded that the loss of the trees was lamentable, and that the city was attempting to mitigate the removal.

An aerial view of the project.
Smith Dalia

Plans have been in the works for a year, and now work is slated to get underway with the removal of trees, which have been tagged with orange Xs.

The $48 million project, designed by local architecture firm Smith Dalia and landscape architect HGOR, will begin construction soon, barring any last-ditch, tree-preservation-induced changes.

A view of the site, as it looks today.
Google Maps