There’s still some uncertainty over how many trees will be axed to advance the Grant Park Gateway project, but fresh renderings unveiled by the City of Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation show no shortage of green.
The $48 million Gateway plan—an effort to replace 8 acres of surface parking with a parking deck for 1,000 vehicles—kicked off soon after a $38 million expansion was announced for Zoo Atlanta in early 2016.
It joins several in-progress green space initiatives across Atlanta that promise to be transformative.
The project’s backers say the additional parking should help accommodate the continuing growth of both the zoo and surrounding neighborhoods.
Opponents were up in arms that initial blueprints for the park’s additions called for the felling of 131 mature trees. Community outcry actually put the cutting plans on hiatus in October 2017—about a year after the Grant Park Gateway project was announced, according to Atlanta INtown.
But after a legal melee with the city, activists with Save the Trees of Grant Park were able to claim only a few small wins. Most of the trees earmarked for removal will fall.
It’s worth noting that the planned four-story parking deck is slated to be covered in green space—and equipped with a 4,000-square-foot restaurant—along the park’s eastern edge.
Last September, one of just two parking lots serving Grant Park and Zoo Atlanta was shut down as construction fencing was erected around the 500-space lot in preparation for site work.
Those spots are expected to be out of commission until 2019, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Meanwhile, the Zoo Atlanta expansion launched construction in February, led by Winter Johnson Group, which is also helping with the Grant Park parking overhaul.
The Gateway project is being designed by Smith Dalia Architects and landscape architect HGOR.