Jun 10, 2022 - Real Estate

The megaprojects that will "redefine" Downtown

A rendering of Centennial Yards with new residential and retail buildings at The Gulch and Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the background
Rendering: Courtesy of DBOX for Centennial Yards

Downtown Atlanta is expecting a tidal wave of development as the city eases into a post-COVID vaccine world.

By the numbers: The private and public sectors will invest nearly $6.5 billion in over 65 acres in South Downtown alone over the next five years, according to new figures released by Central Atlanta Progress.

  • That includes the construction of 1,800 residential units and 1.5 million square feet of new commercial space — projects that "will redefine Downtown," says A.J. Robinson of Central Atlanta Progress.

Why it matters: A wheel is only as strong as its hub — and metro Atlanta is only as strong as its central core.

  • The neighborhood is one of the densest parts of metro Atlanta. It’s primed to grow big and bold in a way other communities aren’t ready or willing.

What's happening: Four major initiatives are underway not far from the site where railroad engineers placed the Zero Mile Post around 1850 and kickstarted what would become Atlanta.

  1. Centennial Yards: Work on The Gulch area includes breaking ground on a 232-unit residential building this summer, designing six buildings and finishing the reconstruction of the Nelson Street Bridge. Wild Leap Brew Company is expected to open within the next year and a hotel will break ground in 2023.
  2. South Downtown: Newport RE’s long-term vision to restore dozens of buildings within a six-block radius in the historic community — including the historically protected Hotel Row and 222 Mitchell Street, a 330,600-square foot former bank building — is moving forward.
  3. Underground Atlanta: Lalani Ventures is creating a master plan to transform the historic streets turned baffling shopping mall into a destination for locals and visitors, turning old storefronts into art galleries, restaurants, and entertainment space.
  4. Five Points: The central hub of MARTA's rail system is scheduled for a $150 million transformation which could include a tower on top of the station. Work will first focus underground on platform enhancements.

Yes, but: Residents are excited about the projects, says the Atlanta Downtown Neighborhood Association in a collective statement to Axios Atlanta, as long as they're accessible to everyone.

  • It's vital the city and developers make sure the new additions to the Downtown fabric include public access and public spaces — not private courtyards and ticketed-admission rooftops.
  • In addition, they say, MARTA and other forms of non-automobile transportation should play a central role or else the community risks gridlock and being burdened with parking decks.

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to show that the restaurants in Underground Atlanta are permanent, and not pop-up establishments.

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