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Video: Central Atlanta Progress unveils new vision for downtown Stitch project

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A 14-acre stretch of highway could one day score a $450 million mixed-use upgrade

a rendering of the proposed Stitch project
Officials want to activate the Downtown Connector for more than traffic uses.
Central Atlanta Progress

A decade from now, Atlanta’s Downtown Connector, as well as the hellish traffic it carries, could be covered with 14 acres of green space and new construction.

In all likelihood, the potentially monumental Stitch project, which seeks to cap the stretch of highway between the Civic Center MARTA stop and Piedmont Avenue, would take a lot longer than 10 years to realize.

After all, the Urban Land Institute’s Advisory Services Panel, which Central Atlanta Progress contracted to study the proposed project site and its surrounding environs, said the Stitch could cost upwards of $450 million to complete, and securing such a bankroll and mapping out how to spend it would surely be time-consuming.

Nevertheless, if CAP and city officials are able to pull the colossal project off, the mixed-use district created would stitch together the borders of downtown and Midtown that have been bisected by the Connector for decades.

And on Tuesday, during CAP’s annual meeting, officials unveiled a stunning video rendering that teases what the half-mile leg of highway could evolve into.

The video, produced by marketing agency Jackson Spalding and virtual reality company Cubic, pans south from the Civic Center MARTA station toward Piedmont Avenue, slowly phasing in CAP’s imaginations for the corridor.

Of course, the video is not exactly representative of what could be developed on the site; it’s mostly part of an effort to market the project to the community and potential investors.

“The video is intended to help the public understand the project’s location, vision, and impact and to foster support for advancing the project,” said Jennifer Ball, CAP’s vice president of planning and economic development.

an early rendering of the proposed project Central Atlanta Progress

“The private real estate investment potential surrounding the parks as depicted in the video is consistent with the vision plan, which detailed a land-use program (uses and intensity of space) that is reasonable to expect,” she told Curbed Atlanta.

Ball acknowledged the finished product won’t nearly be a carbon copy of what’s shown in the video, but, she said, “This program is realistic and feasible.”

According to Ball, CAP recently finished the pre-development phase of project feasibility studies, which yielded an “implementation plan that will guide the next steps in project development.”

“The delivery of the implementation plan coincided with the opportunity to commission the ULI Advisory Services Panel to provide specific feedback and advice regarding the plan,” she said.

A photo of downtown Atlanta’s the connector.
Imagine all that unsightly traffic hidden from the public eye.
Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta

The video Jackson Spalding and Cubic created also doesn’t take into account the recommendations laid out by the ULI panel, which included, among other things, suggestions to build a roughly five-acre park and get moving on fundraising efforts as soon as possible.

The implementation plan lays out a game plan for fundraising, courting governments for partnerships, and conducting additional research and design work—which would call for further community input.

“All of this work will continue throughout 2019,” Ball said.