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The e-bike revolution has arrived in Atlanta

E-bikes Atlanta
McKenzie Wren

Photograph by Growl

McKenzie Wren, a 56-year-old equity facilitator and consultant, had long relied on a bicycle to get around Atlanta. However, as traffic delays worsened, she grew weary of showing up to client meetings sweating like an ultramarathon runner in July. Fortunately, a little over four years ago, she discovered Edison, then a brand new Kirkwood-based company that’s still Atlanta’s only electric motor–assisted bike builder. Edison’s vehicles quietly zip along at more than 20 mph, for up to 40 miles per charge, zooming up hills with little effort from the rider, although pedaling does increase mileage and provide a better workout. Purchasing one of these bikes changed Wren’s life and helped preserve her professional image. “I’m proud to say I was an early adopter,” she says.

Recently, e-bikes have been enjoying an explosion in popularity that defies demographic categorization. Fans of all ages are weekend joyriders, devout commuters, families consolidating to a single car, or avid cyclists recovering from injuries. Metro Atlanta’s ubiquitous hills, months of steamy temperatures, burgeoning tech community, and growing system of protected bike lanes and paved trails are all factors that have fueled the local market.

Edison bikes were developed from scratch by owner Ryan Hersh, a former motorcycle and BMX racer who spent years honing or outsourcing each component, from the lightweight frame to the welds. Since the official launch with its current vehicles in 2017, four-employee Edison has managed to sell more than 1,200 bikes, mostly to ITP clients at $2,199 apiece (or two from $4,098). “It’s been really wild to see the [sales] trajectory,” says Hersh, 35, who maintains a full-time job as an IT professional and assembles each bike with Edison’s two mechanics in his Kirkwood garage. “Every single year, it’s bigger. September was the busiest month we’ve ever had.” Sales for Edison tend to peak in spring and fall months. While pandemic-induced equipment shortages caused longer waits for bikes last year, Hersh typically has his two variations—the size of the bikes is based on the height of the rider—in stock.

Atlanta’s battery-powered bike companies
Ryan Hersh, the founder and owner of Edison, says the Kirkwood-based company has sold more than 1,200 of its battery-powered e-bikes since 2017.

Photograph by Growl

Business is equally gangbusters at ElectroBike Georgia, which opened five years ago in Brookhaven as the city’s first full-service e-bike shop (the shop only works on brands it also sells) and recently doubled showroom space to accommodate demand. They’re typically stocked with nine e-bike brands (including a new iteration from Mercedes-Benz), ranging from $1,500 to about $5,500. “We’ve definitely seen a boom, especially during the pandemic,” says Caroline Hunger, vice president of sales. “We’ve had a lot of sales with people desperate to get outside, to get moving.”

E-variations include folding bikes, long-tailed cargo bikes for lugging groceries (or kids), comfy beach-style cruisers, road bikes, and even some resembling vintage motorcycles. Recent innovations like aircraft-grade aluminum and internalized battery components have made e-bikes lighter, stronger, and safer. “If you said ‘electric bike’ five years ago, you’d think of some kind of clunky thing,” says Hersh. “Now, there’s so much elegance and innovation.”

The craze hasn’t been relegated to e-bike buyers, as other riders have rented them via apps for exercise and last-mile connectivity. In 2019, Uber pulled its Jump e-bikes out of Atlanta, and plans for rolling out a citywide e-bike fleet to replace Relay Bike Share’s nonelectric bikes didn’t materialize; but the city has granted a one-year operating permit to a new player, micromobility company Helbiz, which dispatched rentable e-bikes locally in November. Elsewhere, along the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail, ElectroBike rents e-powered options for $15 per hour at Atlanta Bicycle Barn.

Another convert, Tyler Riberdy, ditched his BMW to commute exclusively on Edison, though he hadn’t ridden a bike since his teens. He’s since logged 18,000 miles on the same e-bike. And that’s earned him “superuser” status in the eyes of Hersh, who hired Riberdy to help run the boutique Kirkwood shop. “On your e-bike, you’re excited to go wherever you’re going, even if it’s raining,” says Riberdy, who advocates for fenders and a good rain jacket to deflect nasty weather. “You get to know all the side streets, see all the smaller neighborhoods. You start to see familiar people. You feel more welcome in places; in a car, it just blows by, and you don’t notice it. On a bike, you get to know the city in such a different way. I feel more alert, and there’s an undeniable difference in your daily attitude.”

This article appears in our March 2021 issue.

“Pocket neighborhoods” could be crucial for variety and affordability in Atlanta

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La France Walk
La France Walk

Photograph by Fredrik Brauer

A two-and-a-half-acre parcel in Edgewood, wedged between a Lowe’s and a MARTA station, bears vestiges of the countryside escape it once was, with an 1880s farmhouse formerly owned by a cigar magnate. For decades, the lot has been largely overlooked. But now, it has morphed into what could be a glimpse at the city’s future, as its population, by some recent estimates, is expected to triple in the next 30 years.

La France Walk—a 24-home “pocket neighborhood,” in urbanist lingo—has entered its final construction phase, aiming for a timeless look that reflects the farmhouse style of the lot’s original house (which still stands). Like other recent intown builds claiming vacant, larger lots in Reynoldstown (Abode’s Mattie Branch project, with its studio flats and light-commercial component) and Summerhill (European-influenced townhouses by Hedgewood Homes, some as small as 750 square feet), La France Walk is more innovative than a typical cluster of townhomes or a subdivision-style community carved into historic neighborhoods.

For starters, each standalone house comes with an attached guest suite. They’re used for long-term rentals, Airbnb suites (generating up to $1,800 monthly), home studios or offices, or in-law crash pads. Garages are scarce. Solar arrays, rainwater barrels, and Tesla battery packs abound. Duplexes commingle with one-bedroom units of just 720 square feet, allowing for some “workforce housing” sales in the $200,000s and maximizing density and income diversity.

The architect and developer, Eric Kronberg, says three duplexes are being reserved for renters. “Part of that’s a screening mechanism,” he says. “So, if you carry a mentality that renters are bad, well, this [project] may not be accommodating.”

Tim Keane, Atlanta’s planning commissioner, says fundamental changes to land use are necessary in a city where 70 percent of properties carry single-family zoning, allowing for just a standalone, often expensive house. As the 316th densest U.S. city—lower than, say, Smyrna—Atlanta is hardly full, Keane posits, and remains a relative infant in its growth trajectory.

“We should be seeking and encouraging everything we can to enable incredible density and ingenuity, if we really care about having a diversity of incomes in the city,” says Keane. “Whether it’s Edgewood, Kirkwood, Reynoldstown, Cascade Heights, or Pittsburgh, it’s essential to what I hear so many Atlantans say is important in the city’s future.”

This article appears in our Winter 2020 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

One of Atlanta’s largest remaining forests has been saved. Now what?

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Lake Charlotte Nature Preserve
Once eyed for a landfill, the Lake Charlotte Nature Preserve in southeast Atlanta is key to creating a rustic greenspace escape.

Photograph by Growl

One Saturday morning about 40 years ago, Shirley Nichols wandered down an overgrown road near her home in the woodsy fringes of southeast Atlanta, enticed by a strange, old sign that read “Lake Charlotte.” Deep in a hilly, oak-hickory forest, she found a few ornate but decaying, vacant houses around a small body of water. The air was so fresh, it felt like a countryside dawn, though Nichols stood just 15 minutes from both downtown and the city’s burgeoning airport. “It’s like you were in a different world,” Nichols, a recent retiree, remembers. “You can’t imagine: It was so serene.”

That bucolic air was replaced a few years later by the oppressive funk of a new landfill next to the woods, brimming with household waste. And until recently, the unmarred forest was a constant source of worry for Nichols’s 600-home neighborhood, South River Gardens, where she’s long served as community association president. But thanks to her neighbors’ decades of “badgering city councilmembers to keep an eye on that property,” she says, and no shortage of serendipity, the forgotten forest long known as Lake Charlotte Nature Preserve stands to become one of Atlanta’s largest public parks, an archaeological treasure trove, and a model for urban forestland preservation.

Lake Charlotte Nature Preserve
Shirley Nichols has watched the area around Lake Charlotte devolve from pristine woods to industrial sites over the past 40 years.

Photograph by Growl

The densely canopied property in question consists of 216 acres—picture Piedmont Park and Centennial Olympic Park combined—and an estimated 60,000 trees, including mature species such as shagbark hickory rarely found south of Georgia’s mountains. It’s positioned just south of Starlight Drive-In along Moreland Avenue, bisected by a tributary of the South River and a wide, winding path, with Interstate 285 as its southern border. The land’s natural beauty and resources have drawn people for centuries; Native Americans carved stone bowls from an ancient soapstone ridge still dimpled by their handiwork.

According to research by Atlanta writer Hannah Palmer, who’s studied the area for nonprofit the Nature Conservancy, the land’s tumultuous modern history dates back to six country estates in the 1920s, dotted around a lake in a then remote pocket of Fulton County. Atlanta annexed the property in the 1950s; the name “Lake Charlotte” appears on a map a few years later; and, by Mayor Maynard Jackson’s administration in the 1970s, the city had purchased it to create an idyllic nature preserve. But the Atlanta Child Murders saga scuttled momentum when a body was found nearby, and the scenic lake was drained. Then came the opening of DeKalb’s Live Oak Landfill next door in 1986. That cast an odorous pall over the area—and infuriated neighbors—until the Environmental Protection Agency shut the dump down in 2004.

Lake Charlotte Nature Preserve
The property includes a tributary of the South River, large white oaks, and rare shagbark hickory trees

Photograph by Growl

Today, the landfill is capped, and conservationists think it could be fully remediated in 20 or 25 years and cleared to become accessible to the public again.

The landfill’s owner, Houston-based Waste Management, had owned the Lake Charlotte property since the late 1980s and once tried to wipe out the forest for landfill expansion, per Palmer’s research. Waste Management was recently under contract to sell the forest to an industrial developer, echoing similar land uses in the area.

“We would have had a bunch of asphalt, concrete, and essentially nobody working there, but a lot of trucks there, destroying one of the most pristine forests in the city,” says Tim Keane, Atlanta’s planning commissioner.

The forest’s saving grace was threefold: A few years ago, a Georgia Tech study of urban tree canopy loss clued in the Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit based in Virginia, that Lake Charlotte should be a top priority. After more than a year of tough negotiations, that group convinced Waste Management to sell to them instead of the industrial developer, says attorney and local acquisition specialist Stacy Funderburke. Meanwhile, the overarching Atlanta City Design project, spearheaded by Keane and BeltLine visionary Ryan Gravel, alerted city leaders about the importance of preserving one of Atlanta’s largest privately owned forests. Around that same time, the city tweaked its tree recompense fund—a coffer filled by developers who pay fees to ax trees—to allow for not just planting replacements but purchasing and protecting forestland. That provided the $5.3 million the city paid in August for Lake Charlotte’s land, its planned improvements, and an upkeep strategy. Says Keane: “This is the first—but not the last—property that we’ll use tree trust money to protect.”

Lake Charlotte Nature PreserveOver the past 17 years, the Conservation Fund has helped add more than 400 acres of green space to Atlanta’s portfolio, but Funderburke calls this deal the highlight. “We have a lot of beautiful forests—you think of Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, Fernbank Forest, and Deepdene [Park],” he says. “Honestly, this is like those places on steroids.” Environment assessments have shown the forest wasn’t impacted by the landfill. Following some parking and trail upgrades, as well as removal of kudzu and other invasive species, Funderburke predicts it could be partially accessible to the public in 2021. Passive uses will likely include hiking trails, maybe campsites, possibly educational markers for kids on field trips. “This isn’t going to be a park where we have barbecue grills and playground equipment and all that,” says city councilwoman Joyce Sheperd, who represents the area.

Gravel calls the Lake Charlotte purchase integral for a much grander concept he’s working on with the Nature Conservancy: the South River Forest, a potential 3,500-acre linkage of existing nearby parks and forests, plus historic sites like the city’s old prison farm. “It’s metro Atlanta’s last chance to have a forest this big—bigger than Stone Mountain [Park]—inside I-285,” says Gravel.

Sheperd, Gravel, and others note the area is relatively unpopulated and ripe for a development boom as Atlanta’s population swells. But Nichols, the longtime neighbor, says most homeowners are happily retired and less concerned with increasing property values than having a gorgeous, city-maintained amenity down the road—something they never considered possible.

“We just want a neighborhood that’s friendly and clean and nice,” she says, “and that draws people that want to come and partake in all the beauty we have over here.”

This article appears in our January 2020 issue.

A look on the bright side of god-awful 2020, right before it ends  

Exploring Georgia one of the few good things about the 2020 pandemic
A November adventure to Bell Mountain in Hiawassee

Photograph by Josh Green

Six months into this gnawing, exhausting calamity that is our Current Situation, I decided it’d be okay if my daughter masked up and accompanied me on a quick visit to the grocery section at the back of Target.

It was the type of errand that, in the grand pastoral normalcy of 2019 or even January, would have bored a 9-year-old. Instead, as the automatic doors spread open and that air-conditioned, commercialized Target fragrance swept over us, you’d have thought the girl was beholding the Magic Kingdom for the first time. “The smell!” she blurted, arms raised, pink mask puffing with her breath. “Like popcorn! Oh, I missed it!” Her talking ceased, however, when we rounded a corner. A lighted makeup display on an endcap and aisles of colorful options—so much Aveeno, L’Oréal, Covergirl!—rendered the girl speechless, genuinely bedazzled. Not because she fancied those products, or being fancy in general. Because she hadn’t seen anything like a big twinkling lipstick display in half a year.

That’s 2020 for you, I thought, from the optimist’s perspective. The year big-box banality became amazing.

I remember thinking on Valentine’s Day, which was definitely eight years ago, how everything was going all right. A story project had just afforded my family a long weekend on enchanting Jekyll Island. I was due for a raise in a few months, my car was nearly paid off, my two daughters were excelling in school, my wife was settling into a new role with Atlanta Public Schools, and there was no reason to believe 2020 wouldn’t be a springboard toward another year of generally pleasurable American existence. As part of that assignment on Jekyll Island, I spent hours speaking with retirees who flock there in RVs to enjoy temperate coastal winters beneath the Spanish moss. They were well-to-do, worldly people from across North America—the type of folks who stay abreast of current news. But not a word was spoken about an impending viral threat. They were more concerned about late-winter island gnats.

Ten months later, on a chilly afternoon in December, I found myself enjoying that same sense of adventure, purpose, and progress while driving to an ATM in Decatur. It had come to the point that depositing a check felt like escapism, an honorable duty in the real world. That’s what happens when you’ve had no justifiable reason to leave the house for three days. Or when a career trajectory you’re proud of has devolved into a monthly scurry to cobble together the mortgage payment. When frustration infiltrates optimism. When necessary restrictions tighten like hot wool into a sort of homebound claustrophobia. When strangers, for another dismal month, are vessels of potential danger, another set of tired eyes over cloth in the dairy section. When the fear still won’t let go.

If there’s a bright side to god-awful 2020, maybe it’s the premium this long year has placed on so many small, good moments. The tiny victories. Things that were always there but overlooked; gold veins in the previously mundane.

Exploring Georgia one of the few good things about the 2020 pandemic
High Falls State Park

Photograph by Josh Green

I think of the first blazing days in May when we’d inflate a cheap little pool on the back patio and watch the girls cackle and splash for hours. I think of loading into the car for random summertime wanderings outside the city and finding, as one example, High Falls State Park, maybe a half hour south of the airport; down there, the Towaliga River tumbles with enormous power across mossy stone shelves toward the brick ruins of a hydroelectric plant as kids along the shore chase lizards into the hills. Another time, while hiking around Lake Nottely, a gorgeous mountain-girded reservoir near Blairsville, we stumbled on a rope swing and spent hours plunging into its cool blue waters—in street clothes. Bundled up in November, we discovered the craggy peak of Bell Mountain with sparkling Lake Chatuge beneath, which we immediately declared our favorite view in Georgia. On Sunday afternoons, back in the city, we’ve made a ritual of pedaling to Dairy Queen, where that creamy soft serve, in the estimation of my daughters, provided sugary, Red Bull-like boosts for biking back home.

Exploring Georgia one of the few good things about the 2020 pandemic
Lake Nottely in July

Photograph by Josh Green

Exploring Georgia one of the few good things about the 2020 pandemic
Exploring the first phase of the Peachtree Creek Greenway

Photograph by Josh Green

For a while in the summer we got pretty much addicted to HGTV’s Home Town, though my hypercritical 6-year-old was consistently aggravated by those amicable Mississippians’ kitchen selections. (“Wait, green cabinets, with gold handles? In there? Green? No!”) And I’ll never forget, back in April, the girls’ enraptured glee while sitting and watching, of all things, the NFL Draft. I’m not sure they fully understood the draft process or its implications, only that some live and important event was happening. Plus, all those elated, whooping, crying families on TV were proof that—somewhere out in the bleak world, beyond the sanitized sanctity of our house, in The Plains, Ohio and Grand Prairie, Texas; in Opelousas, Louisiana and Sugar Hill, Georgia—dreams were still capable of coming true.

The pessimist’s perspective goes that normalcy is extinct, and that’s fine. I think we’re due for an upgrade on the old normal.

Exploring Georgia one of the few good things about the 2020 pandemic
Bell Mountain

Photograph by Josh Green

Just beyond the horizon, I like to think, is the new unprecedented—an era of insuppressible happiness, relief, and gratitude. A time in which we can congregate to burn our protective masks around backyard firepits, toasting the arrival of easier days. When debit card readers don’t make your fingers feel radioactive. When even a really shitty band sounds great because they are playing live, to a gathering of people. When the magic of lipstick displays is fully appreciated.

This year, at least to me, Target smells less like popcorn than plastic cotton candy with back notes of buyer’s remorse. But it’s the scent of having gone somewhere, however unremarkable and mass-produced, and taken part in society, if only for five fleeting minutes. And for what it’s worth, I think that smells delicious.

Developer: Conversion of “sleepy” Lindbergh to “Uptown” will launch in January

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Lindbergh City Center transformation
The Hambidge Center gallery has taken over several vacant businesses along Piedmont Road.

Photograph courtesy of Hambidge Center

In that nebulous part of town where broader Midtown meets lower Buckhead, or what Atlantans generally refer to as Lindbergh, four storefronts along Piedmont Road have transformed into a hub of creativity in recent weeks. Gone are Wet Willie’s, Jimmy John’s, and a bank branch, and in their place is what’s called a Cross-Pollination Art Lab, a 12,000-square-foot series of galleries, performance spaces, and studios where artists, writers, musicians, and other creatives might cheaply rent space, collaborate, and sell their wares during these fraught times.

It’s an initiative put together by the Hambidge Center, which operates a 600-acre artist sanctuary—the Southeast’s oldest residency program—in the North Georgia Mountains. In explaining why that particular intown location could work, Hambidge’s executive director Jamie Badoud recently called the area “one of Atlanta’s most connected and visible neighborhoods, which provides great exposure and accessibility” for artists who might be having a tough go of the pandemic.

The latest owners of Lindbergh’s commercial and office components would concur. They’d just prefer you start calling it by another name.

The art lab marks the first visible step in developer Rubenstein Partners’ ambitions to transform Lindbergh’s dated, mostly empty mixed-use core into a more energetic district called “Uptown.” Hambidge will occupy the four combined Piedmont retail spaces through at least June, and the lab concept could be woven into a different section of the district as part of a planned $70-million redevelopment, says Taylor Smith, Rubenstein’s regional director in Atlanta.

Lindbergh City Center transformation
The main corridor of Lindbergh City Center

Photograph by Josh Green

Hambidge’s presence “has already started to change the environment,” says Smith. “It’s been a pretty sleepy project for the last 20 years, prior to our ownership, and that’s the kind of activity that we want onsite.”

It’s not the first time a developer has floated the “Uptown” moniker as a natural extension of downtown and Midtown. John Dewberry—aka, Atlanta’s “Emperor of Empty Lots”—has attempted to rebrand the area along Peachtree Street north of Midtown as such for years. But Rubenstein officials are confident the 47-acre component of Lindbergh City Center they bought in September 2019 for $187 million has enough attributes that the Uptown branding will not only stick but spread to neighboring shopping centers and multifamily communities.

The idea is that Uptown would refer to basically everything between Interstate 85 and central Buckhead. Smith says a partnership with MARTA—and potential renaming of the Lindbergh MARTA Station, among the system’s busiest stops—could help.

When it debuted in the early 2000s, Lindbergh Center’s twin 14-story towers occupied by AT&T were applauded as Atlanta’s first transit-oriented development, or TOD, a model that MARTA has since replicated in places like Edgewood and Avondale Estates. More than 700 apartments and roughly 160,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space followed. But about half of that commercial space is vacant, and a large apartment component that Rubenstein doesn’t own, Avana on Main (formerly “Uptown Square”), was heavily damaged by a fire in August that also claimed two businesses. Rebuilding could take years.

In scouting the area, Smith and associates saw Lindbergh as “the hole in the proverbial doughnut,” a destination for patrons of Taco Mac, Tongue & Groove, Dunkin’, LongHorn Steakhouse, and 26 Thai Kitchen and Bar, but a place most Atlantans passed by. The combination of so much office space with direct MARTA connectivity, interstate accessibility, and the promise of three multiuse trails one day converging in the area—the BeltLine, PATH400, and Peachtree Creek Greenway trails—proved savory. And once AT&T’s lease expires on New Year’s Eve and the company officially vacates, Rubenstein will have 1 million square feet of office space to work with, or roughly twice that of Ponce City Market. Rubenstein, a national firm, counts metro Atlanta office properties at the Perimeter and in Alpharetta, plus the 8West project that’s recently taken shape over Howell Mill Road in West Midtown.

“It all starts in January,” says Smith of the Uptown plans. “You’ll see a lot more construction, and by next spring, sort of a blooming of our vision on site.”

Specifically, plans call for a reimagining of office spaces and a refreshed, 35,000-square-foot atrium at the towers’ base loaded with millennial-friendly amenities: a fitness center, game lounge, wine and food options, and a conference center fit for 500. Rubenstein seems to be eyeing large tech tenants—following major intown moves by Microsoft, Google, and others—with a workforce that might work untraditional hours and appreciated access to trains. “We’re expecting a much young, more dynamic workforce to come in,” notes Smith.

From the exterior, expect more balconies and storefronts to be reconfigured to allow for more covered gathering spaces and outdoor dining. Local art will also be a focus.

Lindbergh City Center transformation
Soccer in the Streets constructed this Station Soccer field this summer.

Photograph by Josh Green

In terms of programming, plans call for activating the site’s public lawn with more family friendly movies and, beginning in December, comedy shows. Elsewhere, two new fields installed by Soccer in the Streets near the MARTA station will host pre-match events staged for Atlanta United supporters next season.

Smith says a series of pop-up restaurants where local chefs can test new concepts is in the works for this upcoming spring. The goal would be for chefs to eventually lease a brick-and-mortar space, and that “hyper-local, chef-driven focus restaurants” would complement existing businesses and make Lindber—err, Uptown—more appealing to the hundreds of renters next door.

“I’ve been coming to the old Lindbergh for my entire time in Atlanta . . . everybody knows it, it’s so central, it’s got so many attributes that are irreplaceable,” says Smith. “If we, with our capital, can just get the energy going, which we think we can do, bringing all these people onsite until they get [businesses] going, that can be a winning formula. You will see changes—whether everybody embraces them, that’s left to be seen—but you will see changes.”

The Hambidge Center’s Cross-Pollination Art Lab is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 2450 Piedmont Road NE. Face coverings are required, and visitor capacity is limited at all times.

What to know about Ponce City Market’s newly announced expansion

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Ponce City Market expansion
A rendering of Ponce City Market’s newly announced expansion

Rendering courtesy of Jamestown

In Old Fourth Ward, Atlanta developers’ ambitions for creative—and relatively tall—projects continue to rise up.

Like the under-construction future headquarters of digital marketing titan Mailchimp a block to the south, Ponce City Market has unveiled substantial growth plans that could literally take the landmark property to new heights soon.

This new component, at the corner of PCM’s block nearest to Midtown, would add 500,000 square feet of office and living space near the former Sears, Roebuck & Co. distribution center’s existing 2.1 million square feet—what developers Jamestown have called the country’s largest historic restoration project. The main tower piece is expected to house an eco-friendly “hospitality living” concept like Atlanta hasn’t seen before.

We caught up with PCM officials to help flesh out exactly what this second phase might bring to the Old Fourth Ward, where 40 percent of the 5,200 people who work at PCM live. Since it began to open in 2013, the redeveloped, circa-1926 building has become home to 90 businesses, including technology firms and an eclectic food hall.

Where will the second PCM phase be, exactly?
Picture the large surface parking lot outside West Elm at the corner of Ponce de Leon Avenue and Glen Iris Drive. Directly across the latter street is Mister Car Wash—or what many Atlantans will remember as the popular Cactus Car Wash. Phase II is expected to consume that corner of the block.

How tall will it be?
Design phases are ongoing, but current plans call for the tallest component to lord over PCM—which stands about a dozen stories, including its Neoclassical tower—at a height of 225 feet, according to a PCM spokesperson.

For context, that’s about half the height of what used to be called the Equitable Building downtown (now the headquarters of Georgia’s Own Credit Union), a 32-story landmark built in the late 1960s.

What does “hospitality living” mean?
The second phase’s tower will have roughly 400 units, all one and two-bedrooms. But don’t call it another apartment building. Or a hotel. The concept is something in between, spurred by what officials say is a growing need for more flexibility in urban living options. The building will have services and amenities reminiscent of a hotel (think: housekeeping and laundry), a rooftop terrace with pool, storage units on site, and about 13,000 square feet for retail.

Who might stay there?
For starters, the planned “short-term” living options could be as brief as a single night—aimed at, say, a businessperson in town for a meeting who might appreciate eating at PCM or walking the BeltLine next door.

Otherwise, someone working on a film project in Atlanta, for instance, would have the option of staying for several months. Other units could be occupied by the same tenants for several years, per the spokesperson. Rates haven’t been finalized, but price points are described as being “accessible.”

And more offices, too?
At the foot of the larger tower, facing Ponce, a four-story, 100,000-square-foot office building is planned to be that rare Atlanta project constructed of cross-laminated timber, or CLT, as the T3 West Midtown offices at Atlantic Station were last year. That’s expected to help Jamestown achieve LEED-Gold status and reduce net operational carbon to zero across the company’s full portfolio by a goal of 2050.

At the office building’s ground level, 25,000 square feet of restaurants and retail space is planned, opening to a new courtyard. Other green aspects throughout the development are expected to include an electric bike share program, electric car charging stations, and bike and scooter parking to encourage micro-mobility.

What’s the ETA?
All of PCM’s second phase is still being designed, and a launch date for construction—like the goal for eventually delivering the project—has not been finalized. Jamestown is still working out financing, and an overall cost is also TBD, the spokesperson said.

Any other big plans?
Meanwhile, the existing PCM building is set for a change in look and function soon.

A planned expansion of the Central Food Hall will consume the current Onward Reserve store space and a property management office (both are being relocated elsewhere within PCM) near the freight elevator to the Roof. In those two spaces, visitors can expect four new market kiosks and another bar.

How a racetrack north of Atlanta sold $8M worth of condos in two months

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Atlanta Motorsports Park condos
An overview of the track—with fall foliage on full display

Photograph courtesy of Atlanta Motorsports Park

A couple of weeks into Covid-19 lockdown, Jeremy Porter sat at home and typed out a long email he thought was surely pointless.

As creator and CEO of Atlanta Motorsports Park, a gearhead wonderland built on rolling hills about an hour north of downtown in Dawsonville, Porter had watched pandemic restrictions decimate his corporate events business, as all public access was cut off and race events were cancelled. So he began writing an email to a few associates about long-planned new condominiums, of all things, that would not only be built amid widespread economic distress, but would overlook a roaring racetrack—basically the opposite of a tranquil beach or the mist-shrouded North Georgia Mountains just up the road that many have flocked to during the pandemic.

“I said to my wife, ‘I’m going to send this email,’” Porter recalls, “‘but I don’t think we’re going to sell anything.’”

That was at 11 a.m. By day’s end, five trackside condos were under contract—at an average price of $250,000 for only the barebones shells of units. Each buyer would have to add bathrooms, kitchens, car lifts, and any other accoutrements they could dream up themselves, customizing their interiors, like a car’s, from headliner to floormats.

Six months later, Porter is astonished at the appetite for urban-style condo offerings far removed from Buckhead’s towers or Inman Park’s restaurant scene. The blueprints beckon buyers to trade “oceanfront for asphalt” and soak in the high-octane life—dining, sleeping, and entertaining in what’s billed as the ultimate trophy cases for car fanatics. Following a few more emails and no advertising, about $8 million in condos had gone under contract in 10 weeks prior to groundbreaking in October, nearly selling out the first and second phases. The concept draws inspiration from condo-garage projects that have sprouted far and wide, especially M1 Concourse near Detroit, but it’s a first for metro Atlanta.

Atlanta Motorsports Park condos
An example of the condo buildout from M1 Concourse near Detroit
Atlanta Motorsports Park condos
Another example of the condo buildout

Photograph courtesy of Atlanta Motorsports Park

“People are always looking for something unique and fun to do, and to say you’re a member of a motorsports country club, and, ‘Oh, by the way, I’ve got a condo that overlooks the racetrack,’ the needle completely comes off the record,” says Porter. “People [around Atlanta] are like, what the…?”

The forthcoming bank of condos—crash pads in one sense only—will rise around the two-mile track’s extreme first turn, at the end of its full-throttle straightaway. They’re the latest component of a business success story that could be called unlikely, if not a longshot from the start.

• • •

With his spiked blondish hair and sunglasses, Porter might look the part of a debonair Formula One driver, but in truth he’s a high school dropout and former hellraiser who once ended up living in a homeless shelter. A turning point came with a one-way bus ticket to see his brother in Georgia, who slapped some sense into Porter and put him to work in the restaurant equipment industry, whetting his appetite for business.

As a weekend driving hobbyist and former go-kart racer in the year 2000, Porter sensed a void in the market and put together a business plan for building a secondary public racetrack and country club at Road Atlanta’s Turn 12. Despite initial enthusiast from track leaders, 9/11 and general trepidation about such an unproven venture squashed those plans. Seven years later, Porter shifted his attention to 150 forested acres in Dawson County, home of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, tucked about 10 minutes off Ga. Highway 400. He consulted with “rich friends” in his business development and headhunting spheres, including a SunTrust Bank executive, penned another business plan, launched a website, and made one promise after the next—until “the world fell apart in 2008,” he says.

Porter had no money or experience in construction or racetrack operations. No billionaires, the traditional financiers of new tracks, were in his corner. But the dearth of new construction worldwide proved a blessing, in a sense, because contractors agreed to finance their own work—an unthinkable proposition before—and the activity caught the attention of legendary Formula One racecourse architect Hermann Tilke in Berlin, who was eager to break into the U.S. market. Tilke’s team drew up the full Atlanta Motorsports Park plans for less than $70,000, incorporating cutting-edge safety measures and a replica of the famed “Carousel corner” at Germany’s Nürburgring track. Local government eventually approved the plans, and Porter hustled to sell $3.5 million in memberships to keep quickly accruing bills paid. Chipper Jones, actor Patrick Dempsey, and former Atlanta Falcons receiver Michael Jenkins all bought in before ground even broke, attracted to the prospects of driving a technical, Tilke-designed course with roller-coaster elevation changes.

Atlanta Motorsports Park condos
A corner of the track where condo construction has begun

Photograph by Josh Green

Colloquially called AMP, the track alone debuted with about 100 members and 50 garage spaces in time for the 2012 summer season, but in a relatively primitive state: The welcome center was a double-wide trailer, the parking lots made of dust-spewing gravel, and the temporary control tower just three big containers stacked atop each other.

Much has changed in the ensuing eight years. Garage spaces have quadrupled, and paid memberships (with initiation fees from $10,000 to $50,000) have swelled to 680, making AMP what Porter calls the world’s biggest country club for the industry. The largest clientele by far is doctors, though membership ranks include players from all major sports—many of them joining undercover, to not void contracts that prohibit activities such as snow-skiing, let alone rocketing at 120 mph into a hairpin turn—and notables such as U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler and husband Jeffrey Sprecher.

Atlanta Motorsports Park condos
The new pool outside the conference center

Photograph courtesy of Atlanta Motorsports Park

In preparation for the condos, the property has assumed more of a resort feel. The 20,000-square-foot conference center counts a gym, game room, playroom for kids, putting greens, and outdoor pool with slides, fire pit, grilling bar, and Jacuzzi. Elsewhere, there’s a skid pad and ice hill to simulate hairy driving conditions, a nonprofit teen driving school, and several racing programs that contribute to about 150 jobs the facility provides. Road and Track magazine has named the course itself among the top 10 in North America.

AMP’s second marquee attraction, a .8-mile go-kart track, debuted a couple of years ago. It’s billed as the most extreme kart facility in the country, with mini racecars that can reach 60 mph and elevation changes equal to a four-story building. (Tip: Heed the pre-ride kart safety briefing, which I skipped during a recent facility tour and went stupidly fast over “Thrill Hill,” promptly spinning into a field like the last-place player in Mario Kart.)

Atlanta Motorsports Park condos
The go-kart track features elevation changes equal to a four-story building.

Photograph courtesy of Atlanta Motorsports Park

Around the corner from the kart garages, backhoes are churning dirt where the first two phases of 46 metal-clad condos are expected to open next summer, with an eventual 146 planned. Options of 640 square feet have started at about $137,000, climbing to units twice as large for just shy of $300,000. Porter expects most buyers to spend between $75,000 and $100,000 to finish the shell spaces, though deluxe build-outs costing north of $1 million won’t be uncommon.

“If I’m to really break down the essence of [the condo appeal],” he says, “you’ve got these guys or gals that have built these car collections; and here, if you want, you can roll back your garage door, show it to all your neighbors, see theirs, do garage-crawl parties, and you get to tell the stories behind all of it. These cars mean something to them.”

That social potential wasn’t lost on Alan Barge, CEO of AERO Systems Engineering, who was poring over blueprints for his forthcoming 15,000-square-foot condo—four units combined, shared with a pal—with his McLaren and race-ready Lamborghinis parked nearby. After a long day of revving around the track, Barge says nothing beats kicking back with beers and toasting fellow car nuts without having to drive back, in his case, to Smyrna.

“The condos will just take the whole thing to the next level,” says Barge, a member for the past two years. “It’s just such a cool place to hang out if you’re into cars, because you see everything. I absolutely drank the Kool-Aid.”

There’s more to the Alpharetta’s explosive mixed-use growth than Avalon

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AlpharettaOn a warm mid-March afternoon, Tom and Lisa Werner were lounging on a bench beside the fountain at Town Green, the new social nucleus of downtown Alpharetta. Residents of a nearby subdivision for the past decade, the Werners were marveling at recent changes: a stately brick City Hall, stacks of upscale apartments, early imbibers enjoying the new open-container policy, and the bright-white exteriors of Lapeer Seafood Market—like a landlocked echo of Florida’s idyllic 30A. It’s the kind of vibe the couple used to drive to Roswell to enjoy.

“We had a choice of like five restaurants to walk to, and now, there must be 40 or 50,” said Tom. “I mean, this was really a dumpy area.”

The metamorphosis of Alpharetta’s formerly sleepy downtown was no accident, albeit a few years behind the rest of metro Atlanta’s post–Great Recession construction boom. Founded in 1858 as the county seat for now extinct Milton County, the town had remained largely agrarian until the 1980s.

Around the turn of the millennium, city leaders began assembling 26 acres in the heart of town, where no projects had been built or redeveloped for nearly three decades. The real estate was deemed obsolete: 1960s-era shopping strips, a gas station, underused low-rise buildings, and numerous parking lots. After finishing City Hall and adjacent Brooks Street Park, city leaders in 2014 picked Atlanta-based Morris & Fellows—which is also spurring Woodstock’s downtown revival—to lead a group of developers in designing and building a six-block center that felt like an organic extension of the city’s vintage storefronts, along with 40 single-family houses. Indeed, it’s difficult today, in places, to determine where the previous downtown ends and where the $130 million infusion of 25 retail shops and 12 restaurants (no corporate chains), 168 apartments, and an office building (now DataScan’s headquarters) begins.

City Center was fully leased months before the last pieces debuted at the end of 2019. As of early June, Alpharetta’s Community Development Director Kathi Cook said no businesses had closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and homes and townhomes keep selling (some for well over $1 million), as hotel construction and land deals continue. That’s contributing to nearly $550 million in recent investment—some 50 projects since 2015, including a one-mile section of the BeltLine-style Alpha Loop linking downtown to Avalon.

Back in the park, Tom Werner said, “I ask people all the time, ‘Have you been to Alpharetta lately? If not, you won’t know where you are.”

This article appears in our Fall 2020 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

Route unveiled to extend Atlanta BeltLine into more west side neighborhoods

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Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail Extension
The Westside Trail northern extension on the western side of the Washington Park Tennis Center.

Photograph courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine

The Atlanta BeltLine is moving forward with projects to link together two of its key assets—the existing Westside Trail and what’ll eventually be Atlanta’s largest park—through several neighborhoods west of Midtown.

Three individual trail segments are now moving forward on the west side, with the goal of providing transportation and exercise options while connecting areas long divided by roadways, rail lines, or underused land. One of those—the Westside BeltLine Connector Trail, a partnership with the PATH Foundation that shoots like a three-mile spoke from downtown’s Centennial Olympic Park—is on pace to open for public use in a matter of weeks.

But the breaking news, as relayed during a Westside Study Group public meeting this week, is that the BeltLine section that now bends through neighborhoods such as Adair Park, West End, and Westview is making strides to become significantly longer. Exactly which route the Westside Trail might take as it grows toward the 22-mile loop’s eventual top end in Buckhead is becoming clearer, too.

Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail ExtensionDeclared an essential activity early in the COVID-19 pandemic, construction on BeltLine pieces from Piedmont Heights to Pittsburgh has continued largely unabated this year. In September, the BeltLine hired Alta Planning + Design to study how the Westside Trail might best be extended northward. The firm has drafted multimodal trail plans around the world and previously worked on projects in the area, including the Proctor Creek Greenway.

The Westside Trail’s northern terminus, as is, dead-ends west of Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 25-acre Washington Park, the centerpiece green space of a historic Black neighborhood of the same name. The BeltLine’s goal is to snake that trail northward for another 1.3 miles, to the doorstep of Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry, which is planned to one day dwarf Piedmont Park at 280 acres.

In a virtual meeting Monday, more than 100 participants Zoomed in from neighborhoods the new BeltLine sections would impact: Ashview Heights, Mozley Park, Hunter Hills, Bankhead, Vine City, Washington Park, Knight Park/Howell Station, English Avenue, Rockdale, and Grove Park, among others. During live polls conducted during presentations, a majority (33 percent) said they were most interested in using the BeltLine for exercise, followed by connectivity. Seventy-two percent of voters said they were generally excited by the plans presented—the others replying that more information is needed—though concerns did emerge about MARTA connectivity and new foot traffic on specific streets.

As outlined by Donny Donoghue, an Alta senior designer, the most feasible route of several considered would take the extended Westside Trail along the western edge of Washington Park, then pass through the park’s northern edge to cross an existing MARTA rail tunnel without the need for a new bridge.

Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail ExtensionFrom there, it would link to existing cul-de-sac roads and cross busy Joseph E. Boone Boulevard with added safety features, including a possible “scramble crossing” that stops traffic in all directors for pedestrians and cyclists. Next it would enter an overgrown former railroad berm, the appropriately nicknamed “Kudzu Line,” elevated some 30 feet over surrounding areas with a skyline “viewshed” to the east. The goal, as Donoghue outlined, is to extract the kudzu and plant seasonal, flowering species as part of a “superbloom” scheme.

The final section would cross Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway via an underpass and tie into the aforementioned Connector Trail at a new plaza. Within a short walk of that point is the Proctor Creek Greenway and monumental quarry park project, where the first phase is nearing completion.

Like the rest of the Westside Trail, the extension would be 14-feet wide with lighting and security cameras installed before it opens.

In terms of next steps, Alta and BeltLine officials will continue vetting ideas and gathering community input, with hopes of finalizing construction documents and putting the extension out to bid in “shovel-ready” form in November 2021. Then, there’s the matter of money.

BeltLine spokesperson Jenny Odom says total costs of the Westside Trail extension have not been estimated, and funding sources have yet to be identified. It’s possible the corridor, in the meantime, will be opened as an interim trail, similar to the BeltLine’s crescent-shaped Southside Trail a couple of years ago.

Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail Extension
The Westside Trail northern extension alongside MARTA’s Green Line to Bankhead station.

Photograph courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine

For those with a fever for more BeltLine sooner, PATH Foundation executive director Greta deMayo says the Westside BeltLine Connector Trail will be open for public use by the end of 2020. It’ll begin kitty-corner to the Georgia World Congress Center and travel over three new bridges before passing through a tunnel at Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway in English Avenue.

Come January 1, as deMayo notes, PATH is set to break ground on another one-mile section of the Westside Trail’s mainline, continuing where the extension outlined above will eventually end.

That on-street project will reduce Marietta Boulevard to two travel lanes for vehicles, a center turn lane, and a 12-foot-wide multiuse trail buffered from traffic by an arboretum, all neighboring the quarry park. That work’s expected to wrap in about a year.

Atlantic Station at 15: Leaders talk project’s influence, splashy openings, what’s next

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Atlantic StationBack on October 21, 2005, after years of hype, development heavyweights Jacoby and AIG Global Real Estate Investment Corporation cut the proverbial ribbon on 138-acre Atlantic Station, a mega-venture—large enough to have its own zip code—that had risen from a century-old steel mill’s ruins. The architecture and streetscapes were designed to evoke “authenticity,” as the development’s vice president put it at the time, and “some semblance of soul,” insomuch as IKEA, Dillard’s, and later, “singing planters,” could be soulful. Not since pioneering Colony Square, unveiled three decades prior, had Midtown seen a mixed-use addition of such scale.

Heralded as the nation’s largest brownfield redevelopment at the time, the private Midtown property overlooked a much different Atlanta. There was no Georgia Aquarium (it opened a month later), no Ponce City Market, no buzzy BeltLine restaurants, no Atlanta United, no Great Recession, no COVID-19. Braves veteran Freddie Freeman was a sophomore in high school, and Hawks dynamo Trae Young had just turned seven. Atlantic Station’s initial retail lineup included—longtime Atlantans, prepare to giggle—The Grape, Guess?, Claddagh Irish Pub, FOX Sports Grill, that big place with “cheesecake” in the name, and other bygone hotspots. Which is all to say: Times have changed, and especially in the past three years, Atlantic Station has been changing with them.

“We’re not the same Atlantic Station we were in 2005—or even in 2010, or 2015,” Cornell Holmes, the property’s general manager, said this week.

Atlantic StationAtlantic Station set the regional template for how a massive, walkable, open-air hub of shops, eateries, trendy flats, hotel rooms, and office towers could be whipped up from scratch. That blueprint echoes today in places like Avalon, Forsyth County’s Halcyon, and The Battery. But Atlantic Station’s evolution hasn’t avoided turbulence, especially as the recession took its financial toll. It was criticized for being a chain-heavy outdoor mall, an elevated island disconnected from the intown fabric, a hub of unruly teens and petty crime, and then an urban shopping district that piped in country music in an attempt to clean up its image. But as the city’s economy and development surged from recessionary depths, a pivot came when Houston-based Hines acquired Atlantic Station for $200 million in 2015—and bold predictions about a new day weren’t far behind. “This project is going to change more in the next 24 months than it has in the past decade,” Nick Garzia, Hines’s former director of leasing, told this magazine in early 2018. Garzia left Hines this month to join CIM Group and lead retail, restaurant, and entertainment leasing for the multi-billion-dollar redo of The Gulch downtown, which suggests CIM bigwigs believe he got something right in Midtown.

On the eve of its milestone birthday, we caught up officials now taking the reins on Atlantic Station’s future—Holmes and Kristie Ray, director of marketing—for a Q&A about the nearly 3-million-square-foot project’s reboot, its influence, recent challenges, and the uncertain future ahead. Answers have been edited and condensed for space, with some context added.

Next week, it’s worth noting, the property will launch a new website and ad campaign branding it as “The Heart of Atlanta.”

Is Atlantic Station still a regional attraction, as it was in 2005? Or has the advent of other developments from PCM to Halcyon made it more of a neighborhood, Midtown, or intown hub?

Holmes: Since it debuted, Atlantic Station has been an attraction for visitors traveling in from other cities and states and those making their way from surrounding suburbs. We see more than 11 million visitors to our property each year, and those guests are looking for options like our flagship retailers, our convenient and diverse restaurants, or to take part in one of our 300-plus property events each year.

We continue to see regional visitors, such as for school or holiday shopping traditions. And we also serve as an intown hub for Midtown employees and college students looking for a delicious lunch, Atlanta United fans in need of the new kit, or just families in search of a day at the movies and then dinner. [Note: All screens at the recently overhauled Regal Atlantic Station are temporarily closed for COVID-19 precautions.] We’re delighted to provide an outdoor experience for Atlantans who are looking for safe ways to reenter the shopping and dining environment.

Though this year has been challenging, Atlantic Station remains one of Atlanta’s most highly sought-after mixed-use destinations and neighborhoods with new and exciting opportunities, as well as long-standing traditions for each visitor. Though new developments have and will continue to rise, Atlantic Station is special because it grows and evolves with the city.

What did Atlantic Station do for places like Avalon?

Holmes:
At the time of its development, Atlantic Station was one of the largest mixed-use developments in the city. The neighborhood’s successful repositioning opened the door for new markets to thrive, but it also laid the groundwork for what a successful open-air development in metro Atlanta looks like.

Atlantic Station was one of the first in the city to attract national flagships to locations outside a traditional mall and combined those heavy-hitting retailers with local and national restaurant and entertainment options. Though it’s a private development, Atlantic Station has become ingrained in the community.

What’s the latest on the new green space, retail signings, and construction progress on significant office pieces?

Homes: Hines first launched the massive property transformation in 2017 with the goal of creating a more meaningful, human-scaled environment with best-in-class retail, restaurant, and entertainment offerings. Since then, we’ve added over 96,000 square feet of retail and restaurant tenants, most recently the 12,000-square-foot Nike Store and 10,000-square-foot multicultural book store and cafe, Book Boutique.

We recently celebrated the grand reopening of Atlantic Green, our expanded central greenspace. Later this year, we’ll celebrate the grand opening of Bowlero, HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern, Azotea Cantina, and envegan.

How has Atlantic Station confronted COVID-19?

Ray: It hasn’t been easy for anyone, and we’ve seen some delays in openings, but overall, the Atlanta community is rallying, and we’re proud to be a part of this resilient city.

When the pandemic first caused the city to shut down, we, as with everyone else, had to cancel events as our tenants closed their doors and began pivoting to a new game plan. As tenants started to open their doors for outdoor dining and carry-out, we wanted to show support and begin to drive traffic back to the center. We took the attitude of, ‘When you’re ready, we’ll be ready for you,’ and shared the new safety measures.

When our Wellness Wednesdays launched this year, we had a great plan in place—10-foot rings that helped maintain social distancing during yoga, led by our tenant, atl kula. It was important to continue Wellness Wednesday this year, more than ever, since we had the space for social distancing outside, and we wanted to help our community alleviate the stress associated with this time. This year’s Wellness Wednesdays have actually seen a record number of sold-out sessions, and we’ve decided to extend the series a few more weeks.

We got creative and began offering a picnic program through our concierge for those who wanted to eat on the Atlantic Green. We’re debuting a walking history tour that highlights Atlantic Station’s history, as well as Atlanta’s history. And we’re focusing on ways to safely attract visitors to the district in ways they can enjoy on their own time—such as with our art initiative, which will include the Unity Art Exhibition, featuring murals by five local artists, and a giant new Thomas Turner mural that faces the Connector.

Atlantic StationWhat does the near-term and distant future hold? Is there a specific timeline for finishing Atlantic Station, so to speak?

Ray: Atlantic Station will continue to adapt and mold to the needs of the community. There is still about 9.5 acres left to be developed, including the lot where the future AMLI Market Street will soon be underway in 2021. [That’s a planned apartment building that previous renderings have indicated will peer down on the Connector, in a space where BB&T Atlanta Open tennis tournaments have been staged.]

Hines is also evaluating the open space known as ‘Block B’ that sits between Atlantic Tower and Atlantic Yards that is perfectly positioned for future office development, along the edge of the project nearest to Georgia Tech.

After 15 years, do you find that people, especially younger Atlantans, appreciate Atlantic Station? In fairness, it’s a pretty stark contrast to the brownfield mess that was there before.

Ray: We recently did a call for AS memories on our social media channels, and you’d be amazed by the number of engagements, first dates, family dinners, and events people from across the region mentioned.

The neighborhood has adapted to meet the city’s needs and has experienced growing pains along the way. [But] we believe the city, and the younger demographic specifically, will experience Atlantic Station in a new way. We’re reintroducing the property to the city and urge those who haven’t visited us in a while to stop by and take a second look—safely.

To commemorate the 15th anniversary, Atlantic Station is launching a free, audio-guided walking tour for guests later this month to highlight key moments in the project’s (and city’s) history. It’ll be 5,745 feet long—one foot for each day Atlantic Station’s been open. Find more details here soon.

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