The Atlanta City Council has approved two resolutions that will bring much needed improvements, and economic stimulation to the Downtown area. Resolution 13-R-0102 and 13-R-0107 were unanimously approved by council members. Each proposal, in its own way, focuses on developing the areas in and around Downtown Atlanta. With both business developments and new housing options the downtown area could see an exponential growth in residency and tourism. Midtown, Buckhead, and other parts of Atlanta are surpassing downtown in economic leaps and bounds. Even the neighborhoods and businesses surrounding popular attractions such as the Georgia Dome and Aquarium suffer from a lack of growth, and remain some of Atlanta’s most blighted areas.
Resolution 13-R-0102 gives Mayor Kasim Reed the authority to grant Dynasty Capital Partners, a real estate developer, $285,000 to begin a project around the Vine City MARTA station. The area surrounding the Dome, Phillips Arena, and the CNN Center can look forward to more than 30 new multi-family residences and over 3000 square feet of retail space sprouting up in the next year or so. MARTA’s Transit Oriented Development Guidelines, a set of guidelines that govern developments on MARTA property, has identified Vine City as a “neighborhood station”, believing it to be a viable area to develop low and mid-rise housing. The City of Atlanta and MARTA believe that this development will not only increase ridership, but also promote a sustainable and affordable future for the residents of this historic Atlanta neighborhood.
Even more exciting, Resolution 13-R-0107 discusses the planning of a facelift to Underground Atlanta. The “mall” and its surrounding business areas suffer from a lack of tourism. Residents and visitors alike complain that the area is unsafe, and quite frankly not appealing. Similar to the lively street life of New York, colorful characters are heavily sprinkled amongst the throngs of Georgia State students and downtown workers. The resolution calls for the creation of the City of Atlanta Downtown Development Technical Advisory Group (DDTAG). The group will consists of 25 members ranging from community representatives chosen by council members to Mayor Kasim Reed and MARTA GM Keith Parker. DDTAG will have six months to develop a Comprehensive Master Plan for Downtown Atlanta, for which the city will allocate $500,000 and not a dime more. The group will have to discuss how to creatively acquire private investors, and figure out how projects within the plan can flow in a continuum as to create consistent and dependable economic growth in the area. Projects already being assimilated into the plan include the National Civil Rights Museum, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal, the new Falcons stadium, and Turner Field redevelopment. How exciting for the City Council to finally realize that without a vibrant downtown Atlanta will consistently fall short of being the true “New York” of the South.