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Breaking: City of Atlanta strikes deal to ‘close the loop’ on Beltline’s Southside Trail

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Mayor schedules Thursday press conference to detail railroad corridor purchase

A rendering released last year of the Beltline’s Southside Trail as it would pass beneath the Connector near University Avenue.
A rendering released last year of the Beltline’s Southside Trail as it would pass beneath the Connector near University Avenue.
Atlanta Beltline

Atlanta’s new mayor is set to drop some colossal news for fans of the Beltline.

According to a city release, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is preparing to announce the purchase of a railroad corridor needed for the Beltline’s Southside Trail at a press conference scheduled for Thursday afternoon at City Hall.

The proposed Southside Trail beneath the Connector.
Atlanta Beltline

The city and Beltline officials “have concluded the largest single purchase of land needed to close the loop on the Beltline’s Southside Trail,” states the release.

Joining Bottoms at the meeting will be Brian McGowan, Beltline president and CEO, and Craig Camuso, CSX Transportation’s regional vice president of state government affairs.

CSX has long owned the corridor in question and put it out of service for trains several years ago.

No other details about the Beltline deal have been provided.

The Southside Trail will be a crucial four-mile stretch of Beltline that promises to lend uniformity and greater functionality to the entire project, eventually linking existing Westside and Eastside trails.

Enticing Southside Trail renderings emerged last year, but that vision was tempered with news from Beltline officials that the southern crescent wouldn’t open—according to projected timelines then—until at least 2023.

City officials have said TSPLOST funding, overwhelmingly approved by Atlanta voters in a 2016 referendum, would be used in hopes of striking a deal with CSX.

Meanwhile, developers have been making moves well in advance of the Southside Trail’s arrival.

The team behind a large Boulevard Heights townhome community called The Swift recently said the first three phases of an eventual 120 units have sold out. Priced from the high $300,000s, the project is rising from former brownfields.

As another example, Pollack Shores is moving forward with plans to develop a 325-unit apartment project in Chosewood Park, where Boulevard crosses the future Beltline corridor, south of Grant Park.