Last year, news of permit filings for 10 million square feet of development in downtown’s Gulch made headlines in an area long starved for investment.
The Gulch is the epicenter of historic Atlanta—once a spaghetti bowl of railroad tracks, topped by the ornate Terminal Station—but it’s festered for eons as overgrown parking lots and tailgating zones.
Talk of Gulch investment on an Amazonian scale is encouraging for the neighborhood (and the city at large), but a growing chorus is wondering what it could mean for a once-planned transit hub in the heart of the city.
A new column posted by ThreadATL explores the impact of just such a development.
Developer CIM Group hopes to build office, residential, hotel, and retail spaces atop a podium of more than 9,000 parking spaces. For advocates of regional rail transit, and those who question the sustainability of relying on cars as Atlanta continues to grow, the rise of the development seems to spell the end to the grandiose Multimodal Passenger Terminal proposal.
But could the two coexist?
Of course, the argument for investing in both development and transit makes sense. After all, with both elements in one site, the land will be that much more desirable and, subsequently, worth that much more.
If commuters from across the metro region could take a train into downtown and transfer to MARTA, the character of commuting in Atlanta could change drastically for the better.
And with tens (or hundreds) of thousands of commuters passing through the station each day, commercial, residential, and office space values could soar. Couple that with train service linking Atlanta to other cities across the Southeast—including Chattanooga via a high-speed line—and the Gulch could be one of the most important places in the city. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
To be sure, there are complications with the intricacies of weaving rail transit beneath a behemoth development, but it’s been done in other cities.
While plans for the Gulch development and funding sources for a Multimodal Passenger Terminal are still very unclear, discussions about the future of the area will likely intensify as construction of something—anything—moves closer to reality.
- Gulch plans knock passenger rail off track [ThreadATL]
- Mysterious permit filings could hint at future for downtown’s Gulch [Curbed Atlanta]
- Downtown Atlanta’s underused, unsightly Gulch—in photos! [Curbed Atlanta]