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Emory’s plan to urbanize Midtown campus (huh?) entails parking deck called ‘massive’

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Expect ground-level retail space, public art, and 3,000 parking spaces

a rendering of the proposed parking deck
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill Atlanta parking deck.
Renderings: Atlanta Department of City Planning

Emory’s plan to transform its Midtown hospital campus into an “active urban hub” is rather unorthodox.

Emory Healthcare, part of the university system, intends to build a “massive” parking deck, according to a blog post by Atlanta’s Department of City Planning.

At first blush, that might sound counterintuitive—and even anti-urban—but the approach, inspired by projects in Boston, Chicago, and Miami, could yield a more vibrant, active setting in and around the SoNo hospital campus.

via Atlanta Department of City Planning

The creation of this 3,000-space parking deck would also entail consolidating five lots within blocks of the hospital and earmarking them for future active development.

“Emory now uses shuttles to pick up employees parked across several leased lots in the area,” said Planning Commissioner Tim Keane, per the post. “By consolidating parking in one space, they’ll leave the option for more active land use on those lots.”

As parking decks go, this behemoth wouldn’t be as unsightly or inefficient as many other structures around town.

via Atlanta Department of City Planning

All of the proposed building’s street frontages, according to the masterplan Emory has mapped out with the help of the planning department, would be required to be “active use,” meaning pedestrian-friendly and useful as more than just an entrance to the deck.

“The base floor of the deck is also going to have active retail, further intensifying and urbanizing the area,” Keane says.

Expect public art on the west side of the deck, facing the Connector, which officials are predicting could be the most aesthetically compelling building in the area just south of North Avenue.

The masterplan also calls for Emory to subsidize MARTA passes at 100 percent for all its employees—an effort to put more people on mass transit, in anticipation of increased density.

The deck would also feature ride-hailing zones, commuter bicycle facilities, and more electric charging stations.