- Adam Kincaid for the AJC
The Atlanta of the future will be much different from the one we know today.
Beyond the hopeful plans, there are a number of major projects already underway that promise to revitalize our in-town neighborhoods, suburbs, public transportation transit and quality of life.
Here are five of those projects that could change the concept of "live, work, play" around Atlanta:
When the last of the giant ribbons are cut by novelty-sized scissors in the hands of a local politician, what once was Braves country will become home to a decidedly collegiate experience.
Change is nothing new to the area. Take, for example, the land today serving as Braves game day parking. First, the grounds then lush with playing field grass and dirt lined white in chalk were canonized by the baseball legends of yesteryear playing at Atlanta-Fulton County stadium. Then they were paved over, in creating the "blue lot." Soon, they will again shed their skin and offer up a new city center for the students of Georgia State University.
Soon, according to the Livable Center Initiative master plan, GSU could transform Turner Field into a college football stadium (the Panthers Den, as the Olympic-turned-baseball-turned-football field will surely be cringefully nicknamed). Their new baseball field could also an abandoned Braves structure if it is built on the footprint Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium as the project plans call. The surrounding lots, areas and neighborhoods may evolve into a tapestry of high density housing, retail and office spaces, parks, senior living and student housing.
In all that change, at least one thing will remain —the plans call for preservation of the Hank Aaron home run wall.
Riverview Landing, a $300 million mixed-use concept is underway in Smyrna, that could transform an abandoned industrial site into a Chattahoochee River-adjacent multi-use community. Construction on the project is already underway at the 82-acre site, which was recently annexed by the City of Smyrna. The 82-acre site annexed in 2013 by the city of Smyrna today serves as a practice site for the Georgia Tech rowing team.
Though developers put the property up for sale earlier this year, Riverview Landing is slated to be a Cobb County community with a mix of homes, restaurants, green spaces, shops and nearly a mile of Chattahoochee River frontage re-imagined for public use. The site is about 15 minutes from downtown Atlanta. No word on whether Smyrna will indeed be get their own Ponce City Market.
Speaking of Ponce City, what is an in-town Atlanta neighborhood today without a revitalized market? Inman Park and the Old 4th Ward have seen their communities anchored by Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market, respectively. So, it should come as no surprise that six industrial warehouses in Grant Park will soon become The Beacon, in hopes that a $20 million re-imagining of the neighborhood market can bring to Grant Park the same mojo further up the Beltline. The Beacon is taking early leases now and planning for a 2017 opening to include an interval training gym, loft office space, shopping and restaurants.
Pull up a chair, Bankhead. You are about to witness the Bellwood quarry's transformation into Atlanta's next big thing.
Bellwood is a 400-foot-deep hole born of a century in mining. The soaring view from atop the quarry is one that fans of "The Walking Dead" and "The Hunger Games" might recognize from scenes shot at the expanse. Get used to Bellwood, because it is going to become the bridge neighborhood between the Westside and Southwest Atlanta; the quarry is being converted into a reservoir for the city of Atlanta that will provide a 1 billion gallon, 30-day emergency supply of water to bolster our current three-day reserve. The surrounding lands will be transformed into Atlanta's biggest park. Bigger than Piedmont.
By 2030, the $300 million dollar Bellwood transformation will be complete, giving Atlanta from the once famed "Bankhead" neighborhood of 90's rap infamy the newest of the Beltline's prosperous entertainment districts.
Roswell's open-container district on Canton Street, and its surrounding historic district (left, unlike much of Atlanta, largely untouched in Sherman's famous march to the sea) remains one of Atlanta's premiere OTP destinations. Local officials have responded to the high demand for walkable suburban living in the northern suburbs by approving a number of mixed-use developments to the historic district; the resulting city center could be a compelling, walkable community with a far denser footprint than today.
Projects at Vickers Village, Roswell City Walk, Forrest Commons, Hill Street Commons, Roswell Plaza, Vickery Falls, Parkside on Canton and the East-West Alley will fundamentally reshape the most popular OTP downtown experience.