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The Stitch:  Capping the Downtown Connector

What is it?

This transformative project envisions capping the Downtown Connector by constructing a ¾-mile platform over the highway, extending from the Civic Center MARTA station at West Peachtree Street to Piedmont Avenue. This new space would create urban greenspace and foster new development both atop and adjacent to the platform. The re-imagined Emory Square MARTA station (currently Civic Center MARTA station) is a key focal point of The Stitch. The station will be re-positioned as a major transit hub for this part of the City, stimulating both commercial and residential growth. Above all, the project will fill the void between Downtown and Midtown, disjointed years ago due to construction of the interstate. The "re-stitching" of the neighborhoods will bring about a unified central business district for the City of Atlanta. Click on the image below for an illustrative plan of The Stitch. 

Who is involved?

Central Atlanta Progress/Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (CAP/ADID) has been leading the charge to plan The Stitch and will continue efforts to advance the project. Nearby land owners have also been a part of the process by providing valuable input on the needs and opportunities for this area. Key partners include Cousins Properties, Portman Holdings, SunTrust Bank, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Emory University Midtown Hospital, Georgia Power, Compass Real Estate, Richard Bowers & Company, and the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

Initial Concept Study

In 2015, CAP/ADID contracted with Jacobs Engineering to produce an initial concept study of The Stitch. The study was based on a systematic process that generated a Fatal Flaws Analysis, a Vision Plan, and a Summary of Adjacent Development Potential. The Stitch Vision Plan’s core strategies embrace the concept of walkable urban neighborhoods, a mix of air rights development and open space over the Connector, and mixed-use performance-based planning.  

The concept study imagined three “character zones” programmed with a variety of uses.

  1. Emory Square: A dynamic urban plaza set atop a regional bus terminal. The plaza will connect St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on the west to a re-imagined Emory Square MARTA station, as well as to Emory’s future “Medical Arts Institute” building and to new retail and residential areas. (See photo at top right)
  2. Peachtree Green: A 3-acre town green with active program elements on all sides including water features, a restaurant and café, a pavilion space for markets and art shows, an art walk, a “Mayor’s Walk,” and a civic heroes memorial. (See photo at middle right)
  3. Energy Park: A mixed-use residential area intertwined with an urban park made up of lawns, a dog park, a playground, water features, a splash pad, a flex-use pavilion, and a garden walk. Its location next to Georgia Power’s headquarters will provide opportunities to use green construction and power technologies. (See photo at bottom right)

Next Steps

The project is still conceptual, so a construction schedule has not been determined. This is a long-term project that will radically change this neighborhood, and thus requires a significant amount of design and engineering work to complete. Next steps to advance the vision will include completing a detailed civil engineering survey, a technical feasibility study and a schematic design. Initial estimates based upon per acre costs for similar recent capping projects place the price at approximately $300 million. Fundraising is currently underway to secure the resources for this work.

If you have questions or need more information about The Stitch, contact Jennifer Ball at jball at atlantadowntown.com or 404-522-3344.

Read the Initial Concept Study