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Downtown parking garages set for $1M upgrade will sadly remain parking garages

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Real estate firm adds Underground Atlanta-adjacent structures to portfolio of 4,000 parking spaces across the city

An aerial photo of a parking garage structure and other buildings in downtown Atlanta.
Forty-year-old structures in line for a spruce-up.
Photos courtesy of Coro Realty Advisors

The subject of standalone parking decks has ruffled the feathers of urbanists and regular Atlantans in recent months, especially when it comes to possibly adding new ones in places like Midtown and next to a historical downtown landmark.

On that front, there’s good and bad news this week for anyone who considers parking decks not practical, convenient storage structures but vibrancy-killing dead zones that mar urban landscapes.

Two prominent decks connected to Underground Atlanta—MLK 75 and MLK 95—are in for $1 million upgrades. But they’ll remain standalone parking garages.

Officials with Coro Realty Advisors announced they’ve acquired the two decks, which were built in 1980, cover 1.6 acres in a historic downtown area, and house more than 1,250 parking spaces.

The firm will add them to a parking garage portfolio that includes almost 4,000 spaces in some of Atlanta’s most coveted submarkets—downtown, Buckhead, Midtown, Old Fourth Ward, Decatur, and Inman Park.

Holdings include six decks and substantial amounts of surface parking.

Two parking garages with autumn leaves at left and people crossing the street in front.
A view of both garages.

Coro plans to invest about $1 million in the garages. Improvements will be made, per company officials, to the elevators, lighting, signage, parking equipment, and stairs, which don’t offer the most pleasant olfactory experience right now, especially in summer.

Beyond Underground, the decks serve the Fulton County Courthouse and Georgia State Capitol complex, while billions of dollars of recent and planned development is a short stroll away.

The company is “uniquely positioned to own and operate urban parking,” said Robert Fransen, Coro’s president and managing partner, in a prepared statement. “This is an excellent opportunity given the existing need for parking in downtown Atlanta and exponentially so considering the trajectory of the submarket.”

On the bright side, even before the planned updates, these particular structures aren’t frontrunners for the most unsightly parking garages in downtown Atlanta. Picking a winner from so many options, however, isn’t easy.

An architectural canker sore on Baker Street.
Curbed Atlanta; 2014

Meanwhile, a few blocks away, the development team of Banyan Street Capital and Greystar is building Ascent Peachtree, a 345-unit apartment tower set to rise atop an existing parking garage.

Cranes for the $125 million project have been erected. It’s expect to climb to 29 stories, with 20 percent of rentals earmarked as workforce housing.

A building that’s under construction atop a parking deck, with trees at the base.
Now under construction.
Rendering: Banyan Street Capital and Greystar