Once a capital of sprawl and 16-lane highways, Atlanta is becoming known for some of the most innovative renewal projects in America.
The city is buzzing with ambitious efforts to rebuild, redefine and reinvigorate lagging neighborhoods. And when it comes to test cases, there is no bigger success than The BeltLine.
This 22-mile loop has revitalized 45 intown neighborhoods, from well-heeled Inman Park and Virginia-Highland to neighborhoods in need of love, like Mechanicsville and West View.
The Birth of Something New
After decades of urban contraction and collapse, Atlanta began reshaping its urban core with Lindbergh City Center and the 2005 opening of Atlantic Station — a 138-acre collection of condos, restaurants, office and retail space on the site of the former Atlantic Steel Mill.
Branching off from The BeltLine’s success, Ponce City Market turned an abandoned Sears factory into a destination filled with unique retail and restaurant options. The massive 16-acre project also transformed the Old Fourth Ward, sparking development and sending home values soaring.
The Phoenix City’s Next Phase
With the launch of The BeltLine, Atlanta is capitalizing on a trend that’s sweeping cities large and small. People want to live in walkable, grid-like neighborhoods filled with shops, restaurants, offices, cultural attractions and greenspace. They’re looking for places with personality, character and history.
What’s waiting on the horizon? Read on to discover Atlanta projects that will jumpstart neighborhoods, increase home values and invigorate neighborhoods.
Regardless of whether Amazon chooses The Gulch as the site of its ambitious HQ2 project, the scar at the foot of Philips Arena is set to become a vibrant new Downtown district.
Part of the original City of Atlanta, the site has seen nothing but rail for over 80 years, so the street network will be raised and rebuilt. Standing at 27 acres, this $1 billion project will include at least six towers and a million square feet of retail, office and apartment space.
Post Georgia Dome and Turner Field, Atlanta has learned its lesson. Stadiums should be part of the city’s fabric, blending seamlessly into their chosen community.
The Atlanta Braves’ SunTrust Park does just that. Revitalizing Cobb County’s Cumberland neighborhood, the $1.3 billion stadium was built in conjunction with The Battery, a development packed with offices, apartments, restaurants and entertainment options.
Enlivening Cumberland like never before, The Battery has jumpstarted neighboring projects like an 18-acredevelopment just South of Paces Ferry, which will include apartments, condos, a hotel and 25,000 square feet of retail space.
GSU & Summerhill
Though Turner Field wasn’t built with the community in mind, the area is being redeveloped to reflect the character and values of South Downtown’s Summerhill neighborhood.
Turner Field is now the home of Georgia State’s football team. And the surrounding area is poised for a $52.8 million redevelopment project that will include 85,000 square feet of retail space, 19,000 square feet office space and 120 multi-family apartments, with an emphasis on affordable housing.
The proposed redevelopment of Georgia Avenue will focus on adaptive reuse — rehabbing historic buildings that have been a part of the community for decades.
Atlanta Civic Center
After sitting vacant for several years, the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center is being torn down to make way for something new. In 2017, the Atlanta Housing Authority purchased the property for $300 million, with plans to build a mixed-use, mixed-income redevelopment with 30 percent of the units dedicated to affordable housing.
Replacing the outdated eyesore, located at a crucial nexus between Old Fourth Ward and Downtown, the new development will include retail and commercial space, new restaurants, greenspace and perhaps even a performing arts venue.
Constructed after the Civil War, this historic city beneath the railroad tracks has great bones that are primed for renovation. Underground Atlanta has been “revitalized” several times, but with urban momentum finally going in the right direction, all signs point to success this time.
Recently acquired by a developer for $35 million, the new Underground Atlanta will feature 150,000 square feet of retail, office and communal space.
The Downtown project will preserve the history and charm of Underground through period details, street art, murals and hand-picked tenants like The Masquerade and Post-Office Cowork.
With a $100 million investment, Atomic Entertainment is reinvigorating Kirkwood’s historic, but blighted, Pratt-Pullman Yard. But this space isn’t just for the city’s burgeoning film industry. In addition to a sound stage, the 27-acre development will include residential, office and retail space.
Known for its barn-like vaulted ceiling, the property recently received landmark status from the city. The new Pullman Yards will also feature a boutique hotel, green space for movies and concerts, and a “food bazaar” constructed in the former train bays.
Besides adding a striking new silhouette to Atlanta’s skyline, the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium is revitalizing long-neglected neighborhoods like Westview and West End.
Capitalizing on the stadium’s development, a $500 million project will rise from the dilapidated buildings and vacant parking lots between the stadium and Atlanta City Hall. The 1.8 million-square-foot project in South Downtown includes adaptive rehabilitation of more than 40 buildings — creating plenty of new office, residential and retail space for Atlantans to enjoy on the west side.
The long-neglected west side is experiencing a major rebirth with the help of some ambitious greenspace. The community is located near Bellwood Quarry’s Westside Reservoir Park, the planned Proctor Creek Greenwayand the Beltline Westside Trail.
Adjacent to Bankhead MARTA station, Quarry Yards will be a massive, mixed-use development with a price tag of $400 million. The 70-acre property along Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway will feature office, retail and residential space, along with a boutique hotel and a food hall.
Quarry Yards will pay homage to the area’s industrial roots with an emphasis on metal, brick, glass and concrete materials. Shipping containers will become new restaurants and start-up businesses, and stone foundations and metal roofs will be reused and repurposed.
Home to Westside Provisions, Brickworks and other historic, mixed-use redevelopments, West Midtown is a thriving corridor filled with renowned restaurants, dynamic employers and indie retailers like Crafted and Octane Coffee.
Now the Westside is poised to redevelop a Coca-Cola packaging plant featuring 2 million square feet perfect for adaptive reuse.
Called Elsas West after the original owner, Elsas May and Co., the building is located near hotspots like King Plow and Miller Union, a future segment of the BeltLine’s West Side Trail and West Side Park — the city’s largest greenspace.
One of the most ambitious redevelopments in the country, Atlantic Station isn’t done making its mark. In fact, the renovated steel mill site is less than halfway developed.
This year Atlantic Station is expanding its Central Park and redesigning storefronts with a bolder, more modern look. New towers are also set to rise, including a 300-unit AMLI apartment tower along Market Street.
With 90 percent of existing retail filled, 57,000 square feet of additional retail is planned — the largest expansion since it opened a decade ago — with a focus on local boutiques and first-to-market retailers and restaurants.
Atlantic Station’s pinnacle site — the asphalt pad used by Cirque du Soleil — is still looking for the perfect permanent tenant.
Walkable, mixed-use communities are becoming popular everywhere, including the ’burbs. And now Gwinnett is getting in the game with a massive entertainment and retail district built by the developers behind Alpharetta’s highly successful Avalon.
Set to open in 2020, the communal space will include a 25,000-square-foot food hall with more than a dozen different stalls, a beverage market, a premium movie theater, a fitness center, a grocery market, a hotel and abundant office space.
The new development will capitalize on the growth surrounding Gwinnett’s Infinite Energy Arena — fast becoming one of the county’s most desirable hoods.