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Three communities across Atlanta team with architects to envision new downtown hubs

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Part of the “Open Studio” event, TSW offered pro bono services to Brookhaven, Clarkston, and Atlanta/West End CID

Ideas for a downtown core that Clarkston is lacking.
Ideas for a downtown core that Clarkston is lacking.
Images courtesy of TSW

If the cities of Brookhaven, Clarkston, and Atlanta/West End CID develop new downtown hubs in coming years, this could be viewed as the starting point.

As part of its “Open Studio” event, TSW Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture donated its professional time to create plans for the municipalities during a recent full-day intensive brainstorming session.

The results could serve as launchpads for transforming sections of the three distinct metro Atlanta places.

For the City of Brookhaven, the focus was on creating an active, walkable city center at and around the Brookhaven MARTA station on Peachtree Road. The plans took into consideration the needs of not only Brookhaven residents, but also those who work in Brookhaven, Oglethorpe University students, and bike and MARTA commuters.

The result is a City Center with a City Hall, including a library and food hall, a boutique hotel, mixed-use space containing office and retail, a transit-oriented commercial and residential development, an outdoor amphitheater, and pedestrian plazas at each corner.

Some facets echo MARTA’s transit-oriented development plans that Brookhaven shot down two years ago.

In addition, the TSW brainstorming called for a plaza spanning Peachtree Road to connect both sides of the corridor, using green space to bring it all together. Proposed realignment of surrounding streets also was incorporated in order to improve pedestrian and vehicle flow.

City of Brookhaven officials wanted a design concept for an active, walkable City Center.

In the City of Clarkston, known as America’s most diverse square mile, city officials wanted plans that would convert a two-block area of the city’s downtown into the new heart of the city.

Officials also wanted the design to reflect the city’s diversity to honor its residents.

In the incremental plan designed by TSW, abandoned and underused buildings would be reclaimed to create multi-purpose shared spaces with municipal offices, coworking and incubator/maker’s spaces, and market and food stalls.

Also, a new City Hall design features a rooftop brewery and green space. To enhance visibility from Ponce de Leon Avenue and improve flow, redesigned streetscapes call for gateway elements, signage, and public art.

The City of Clarkston looked for ways to reimagine a two-block area in downtown into the new heart of the city.

For the City of Atlanta, the TSW team faced a challenge to brainstorm solutions that would be relatively quick and easy to implement in an area near West End MARTA Station.

To meet this challenge, the team looked at strategies for growing businesses in place and finding ways to connect people to the culture and experience of West End.

Those solutions include creating public/private/nonprofit partnerships to plan festivals and events, including local vendors, that celebrate West End and increase the perception of safety. To enhance the pedestrian experience, plans call for new crosswalks, murals, and on-street parking.

Serving as a gateway to the area, the existing bridge at the MARTA station will draw people in, with existing sidewalks and alleys serving as public spaces and outdoor seating.

In Atlanta’s West End, the challenge was to grow businesses in place while connecting people to the area’s culture and experience.

At this time, the plans are simply the result of a creative brainstorming session.

No discussions were held regarding possible funding or timeframes for implementation, project leaders told Curbed Atlanta.

However, with potential designs in place, it’s not unreasonable to assume each municipality could use these ideas as a jumping off point for future development.