Axios Atlanta

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Happy Tuesday!

โ›ˆ๏ธ Today's weather: Windy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. High around 65.

Situational awareness: MARTA plans to close its Airport Station for six weeks starting April 8 to renovate its concourse and platforms.

๐ŸŒฎ Member alert: All this week, please support our newsroom by becoming an Axios Atlanta member starting at $50+ per year.

Today's newsletter is 847 words โ€” a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: New MARTA stops and grocery shops

Mayor Andre Dickens speaks during the 2024 State of the City address at the Woodruff Arts Center. Credit: Courtesy of the City of Atlanta

Mayor Andre Dickens wants to build new MARTA rail stations and a southside grocery store to "close the tale of two cities" in Atlanta.

Why it matters: If you want to build an equitable Atlanta, Atlantans need reliable transportation and food security.

Driving the news: Dickens told the audience at yesterday's State of the City address that the proposed "infilll station" at Murphy Crossing, a planned mixed-use district in Oakland City, would be MARTA's first direct connection to the Beltline.

  • The stop would also be the heavy rail system's first new station since 2000.

What they're saying: "Our current MARTA system is underutilized in part because we don't have enough stations located where residents need them the most," Dickens said.

  • "A better, more accessible rail station system is key to Atlanta's future, and I am committed to ensuring that Atlanta residents have access to quality transportation that they deserve."

Zoom in: City officials studied a $407.6 million package of infill stations at Krog Street, Boone, Armour Yard, Mechanicsville and Murphy Crossing when drafting the More MARTA project list in 2017.

  • Additional locations and details will be announced in the coming days, a Dickens spokesperson told Axios.

Meanwhile: Dickens also announced plans to open a grocery store selling fresh food and produce on the south side of the city. A large percentage of people in those census tracts live on low incomes and have low access to a grocery store, according to the USDA.

  • City spokesperson Michael Smith told Axios that Dickens has asked the city's chief policy officer to work with Invest Atlanta to "explore options" and details about a specific location that will be released later.

What's next: Dickens said the public safety training center will be finished by the end of 2024, and the city will launch additional shipping container villages like South Downtown's Melody to provide semi-permanent housing.

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2. Massive downtown development Centennial Yards moves forward

Rendering: Courtesy of CIM Group

The developer building a $5 billion mini-city next to Mercedes-Benz Stadium is launching its next phase of construction with an eye on the 2026 World Cup.

Why it matters: Centennial Yards, CIM's mixed-use district rising from the expanse of railroad tracks and pavement called "the Gulch," says it will be the largest entertainment district in the Southeast.

  • Once completely built, the developer says, Centennial Yards will add an estimated 8 million square feet to downtown.

Zoom in: Developers say they aim to break ground on the next leg of construction this summer.

  • The centerpiece is an entertainment district featuring a 160,000-square-foot venue, plaza and 14-story hotel. Other buildings include a 236-unit apartment midrise and two 18-story high-rises.

Of note: The entertainment venue and retail tenants likely won't be open and filled by the World Cup in summer 2026.

State of play: An apartment and hotel are currently under construction at the site.

What they're saying: "You cannot get in a more visible place for eight games of the World Cup than right in front of the stadium," A.J. Robinson, the president of downtown civic group Central Atlanta Progress, told the AJC.

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3. Freaknik founders: Look forward, not back

Freaknik founders James "Tony" Anthony Towns Sr., Monique Tolliver-Logan, Amadi Boone, Sharon Toomer and Emma Horton. Photo: Courtesy of Monique Tolliver

Freaknik's founders say folks should stop trying to revive Atlanta's culturally revolutionary event of the '90s because it's time to initiate a new safe space for Black people.

The big picture: Monique Tolliver-Logan, James "Tony" Anthony Towns Sr., and Amadi Darryl Boone tell Axios that Hulu's new documentary, "Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told," accurately shows its origins as a safe space for historically Black college students.

  • They said the film showed Freaknik's commercialization after "students lost control" of the event.

Context: "Freaknik" was originally a picnic planned by the D.C. Metro Club, an Atlanta University Center group for students from Washington, D.C.

  • But the gathering โ€” which started with 50 students in Piedmont Park โ€” eventually grew into a citywide traffic-blocking party with more than 200,000 people.

The three founders said they're glad Freaknik helped Black artists blossom, but they're "saddened" by what it turned into.

  • "No one wants to be around any criminal activity and abuse of women," Towns said about public safety concerns and reported sexual assaults at later iterations of the festival.

What's next: The founders created the D.C. Metro Club Reunited group to host annual cookouts with Freaknik's original participants.

  • Freaknik isn't coming back. But they want young people to create the next event for themselves.
  • "We are never going to be short on creativity to create new things," Boone said. "Let's all leave a legacy."

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4. Where's Phoenix 3000?

Phoenix 3000 loves art. Photo: Kristal Dixon/Axios

Phoenix 3000 is obsessed with murals. Can you guess where this latest photo shoot was taken?

๐Ÿ“ฌ Reply to this email with your answers. If you're correct, we'll give you a shoutout in a future newsletter.

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5. Five-ish Points: Chick-fil-A to allow some antibiotics

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios. Photo: GraphicaArtis/Getty Images

๐Ÿ—ณ๏ธ A candidate for the Cobb County Commission is challenging a Board of Elections ruling that disqualified her from running for the District 2 seat. (AJC)

๐Ÿ” Chick-fil-A says it will allow the use of antibiotics in its chicken if the animals become sick. (Chick-fil-A)

๐Ÿ›‘ Georgia lawmakers have brought back a bill that would put a three-year moratorium on mining near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. (The Current)

๐Ÿ“บ Kristal will finally watch the Freaknik documentary this week.

๐Ÿ‘‹ Thomas is giving a shoutout to longtime reader Ted. Thanks for saying hi yesterday!

๐Ÿคญ Wil is still laughing at the jokes from Saturday's KevOnStage show.

This newsletter was edited by Jen Ashley and copy edited by Natasha Danielle Smith and Anjelica Tan.