A New Approach to Street Vending

The City of Atlanta and General Growth Properties are rolling out the first phase of a landmark public-private partnership that is transforming the appearance and merchandise diversity of street vending throughout Downtown. After three years of intensive study, the City of Atlanta passed in 2008 legislation to reinvent the way it manages vending in the public right-of-way. General Growth Properties was selected to partner with the City of Atlanta to strategically design and manage a multi-faceted streetscape retail vending program. General Growth Properties (GGP) owns, develops, manages more than 200 shopping malls in 44 states including downtown urban marketplaces in Boston, Baltimore, Miami, New York, and New Orleans. GGP currently manages more shopping centers in Atlanta than anyone else, including: Cumberland Mall, North Point Mall, Perimeter Mall, Southlake Mall

The self-financing program will allow GGP to invest in infrastructure and program management and earn revenues through kiosk rentals and advertising on vending structures. The City will receive an annual payment based on a negotiated minimum fee or a percentage of advertising revenue whichever is highest. Key Goals for the program include:

  • A significant aesthetic upgrade of the City’s streetscapes to enhance the city’s international image and enrich the city’s vibrant, urban ambience while providing the City with a unique approach to street vending that will set it apart from other U.S. cities
  • A new, broader based selection of goods and services with a focus on offerings appropriate for the Downtown Atlanta clientele including office workers, residents, tourists
  • An exciting new opportunity for entrepreneurs and established business owners to promote and sell their products in a new and unique environment

Through the public-private partnership, GGP will be responsible for leasing vending sites managing the vendors and their license agreements, including communication and enforcement of operating protocols. GGP will also develop a set of merchandising standards for specific products and to provide display assistance as needed to ensure high standards for merchandising. The City of Atlanta Department of Public Works will manage the partnership agreement with GGP and will approve of all vending locations. Additionally, the Atlanta Development Authority is offering a transition plan for existing vendors including micro-loan financing and business advisory services, as well as franchise-purchasing support.

In cooperation with community representatives and with the approval of key City departments designs have been developed for permanent vending structures that will enhance Downtown streetscapes and provide a significant upgrade to current vending program. The new ‘kiosks’ are both attractive and functional. Constructed of durable materials intended to coordinate with existing street furniture designs, the kiosks will accommodate on-site storage and flexible merchandise displays to aid vendor operations.

The vending program will be executed in a phased approach to create a core group of merchants that have the greatest potential for success and that can preserve selected existing vendors. Phase One that is underway now will include 20 locations. Phase Two in early 2010 will expand the program to 50 to 75, with a final goal of 100 locations by 2011.