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13 photos: Memorial Drive’s impressive metamorphosis today

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Along one of Atlanta’s most rapidly changing corridors, a photographic tour from downtown to Reynoldstown

A photo of how Construction bustles near Memorial Drive’s intersection with the forthcoming Eastside Trail extension.
Construction bustles near Memorial Drive’s intersection with the forthcoming Eastside Trail extension.
Photos: Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta

Blink once, and it seems a full block of Memorial Drive has changed.

The vital east-west corridor linking East Lake, Kirkwood, Edgewood, Grant Park, Cabbagetown, Reynoldstown, and more with downtown Atlanta is undergoing significant changes across several miles.

For this installment of Visual Journeys, however, let’s focus on the epicenter: the rapidly developing blocks on either side of where the Beltline’s Eastside Trail will (allegedly soon) meet Memorial, extending off westward to downtown.

With a Greenway concept and planned road overhaul still in fledgling phases, Memorial might be downright hostile to non-drivers, but there’s no discounting its importance in Atlanta’s evolution.

Below, find but a few of the corridor’s more significant changes of late:

Today’s tour begins in the shadow of downtown, where the State Judicial Complex is going vertical at Capital Gateway Park off Memorial Drive, just down the street from the Georgia State Capitol. At $122 million, it’s the most expensive building ever put forth by the State of Georgia, set to accommodate Georgia’s expanded Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. Estimated completion: August 2019.
Photos: Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta
The Leonard (left) and the newer George Apartments consumer more than two blocks of real estate closer to Memorial’s downtown reaches. The latter’s site was the longtime home of Azar’s Liquor Store until 2015.
The rising Platform apartments can be seen from Memorial, just one block over. Expect 325 rentals here soon.
The Reserve at Grant Park is coming along, next door to Paces Properties’s adaptive-reuse The Larkin.
Nearing the Boulevard intersection, The Larkin—slogan: “Main Street in Your Backyard”—is starting to fill in with only ancillary construction left to go on the Grant Park property. The majority is already open, with offerings ranging from wood-fired pizza, kale, and ramen to oral surgery.
How The Larkin retained some esthetics of the site’s old buildings.
Just east of Boulevard, the recently opened Grindhouse Killer Burgers counts a patio that’s killer indeed.
Little has changed since last we visited the proposed site of 764 Memorial, a five-story condo venture with a smattering of townhomes. Developers said in March that half of the condos (priced from the $200,000s) had sold, with delivery expected as early as this fall. The site’s been a tomb of busted construction plans since the recession.
Across the street is the apartment component of another major Paces’s venture on Memorial, Atlanta Dairies.
Atlanta Dairies’s adaptive-reuse components especially have experienced hiccups, but developers expect residences and retail could begin to deliver later this year.
Construction moves up the block near 841 Memorial, from which Memorial’s roller-coaster topography is visible.
Hard to miss the newish 841 Memorial Apartments with the Play at Wagalot sign.
It’s not the end of Memorial’s metamorphosis, but today we’ll conclude at a $250 million project that could ultimately be the corridor’s most significant agent of change: Fuqua Development’s Madison Yards. Anchored by Publix and AMC Theatre, the redevelopment of Leggett & Platt manufacturing in Reynoldstown is expected to bring some 550 residences, 80,000 square feet of loft office space, 160,000 square feet of retail, and plenty of parking.