For ages, Atlanta has been known as fertile ground for big (sometimes unrealistic) ideas, especially as it pertains to the built environment.
Recent years have done little to ding that reputation, as evidenced by proposals from Buckhead’s highway-capping park and Old Fourth Ward’s potential mini-city to downtown’s “Stitch” and the forthcoming Atlanta Beltline Southside Trail.
But this being the end of 2018, it’s time to recognize development ideas that either first came to light, became more focused, or actually launched construction this year.
These five projects leap to mind. Not all are universally beloved, but each has the potential to reshape this changing city in interesting, important ways.
The gist: A mixed-use overhaul of underused land west of Midtown that could eventually encompass about 70 acres on either side of the newly opened Proctor Creek Greenway, across from the Bankhead MARTA Station.
Timeline: First phase is expected to break ground in the second quarter of 2019, covering 27 acres and costing roughly $400 million.
At this site pitched for Amazon’s HQ2 that neighbors the under-construction Bellwood Quarry park, the Quarry Yards venture could one day deliver more than 800 new residential units, a 300-room hotel, plus nearly 600,000 square feet of offices, alongside a retail component, as zoning allows. For now, developer Urban Creek has teamed with REI for programming that includes on-site cycling and photography classes.
Former Atlanta Braves player Mark Teixeira and his co-developers at Urban Creek have been cobbling together properties for nearly a decade in the area. The first components, as officials told Curbed Atlanta in September, are expected to be 50,000 square feet of loft offices and 32,000 square feet of retail. That’s planned to include the adaptive-reuse of two existing buildings, which stand now as the ruins of facilities used for asphalt equipment and other machinery.
The gist: A planned $500 million revamp of a downtown section that’s commonly perceived as ailing.
Timeline: Information about project phasing should come to light early next year, at the latest, Newport officials told Curbed Atlanta in November.
Developer Newport’s plans for eight blocks of South Downtown weren’t exactly new in 2018, but last month provided the most specific indication yet of what the Germany-based company has in mind. Newport has been in talks with developers of the nearby Norfolk Southern Buildings and Underground Atlanta to ensure their plans can coexist, officials recently said.
The gist: A 31-acre overhaul of a former trucking facility, just south of downtown Atlanta, that’s been shaped by community input. The Beltline’s Southside Trail will swoop along the southside of the property in coming years.
Timeline: The project’s $26 million first phase is expected to come online in fall 2019.
At a site long planned for redevelopment, construction launched in March on Pittsburgh Yards, a multifaceted adaptive-reuse venture spearheaded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a philanthropic organization that aims to better the lives of American children, alongside partners Core Ventures and Columbia Ventures. The goal is to make Pittsburgh Yards as welcoming to welders, carpenters, and graphic designers who work there as Beltline bikers and pram-pushers.
The gist: An expected $450 million, multifaceted venture by S.J. Collins Enterprises.
Timeline: Under construction and scheduled to open in summer 2020
At the primo corner of Howell Mill Road and 14th Street, development talk has been percolating for years, but it wasn’t until May that The Interlock was unveiled. Components are said to include the mixed-use gamut: 350 apartments, 70 single-family homes, offices, 105,000 square feet of retail, and a 145-key Marriott Tribute Portfolio hotel. Construction launched last month.
The gist: Plans are tentative, and development would likely be rolled out in multiple phases, but CIM Group’s ambitions for the Gulch parcels it’s assembling could constitute between a dozen and 15 city blocks, with between seven and 12 million square feet of new construction. Essentially a mini-city, with privatized streets.
Timeline: TBD; in meetings this year, city officials have indicated it could take several years before signifiant development is finished.
What’s probably Atlanta’s most controversial development since the new coliseum next door also has the greatest potential for finally revitalizing the municipal embarrassment that is the downtown Gulch. With a lawsuit pending, CIM Group’s vision isn't a sure bet, and more than one aspect has rankled Atlantans (such as privatized streets), but in terms of transformative potential, few proposals in the Southeast region come close.