The Stitch is a proposed transformational investment that aims to reclaim approximately 14 acres of new urban greenspace atop a new, ¾ mile platform spanning the I-75/I-85 Downtown Connector between the Civic Center MARTA Center at West Peachtree Street and Piedmont Avenue.
Catalyze new development, including affordable housing. It is estimated that The Stitch could result in $1.7 to $2.5 billion in value creation and generate $21 to $58 million in new revenue.
Redress the long-standing physical separation characterized by largescale infrastructure, noise, pollution, and flooding in the community created by the construction of a 16-lane interstate highway.
Reconnect the local street grid through new street segments and retrofits of existing rights-of-way to create safe, pedestrian-oriented, bikeable, storefront oriented streets.
Improve access to jobs by fostering transit-oriented development at the Civic Center MARTA rail station and introducing an off-street local and commuter bus facility for improved passenger connections.
Create accessible and programmed urban greenspace to improve the quality of life for current citizens and those enticed to relocate here to occupy newly built affordable and attainable housing in the preeminent intown location.
Reestablish a vibrant community amenity with quality civic infrastructure and interconnected open spaces that contribute to health and wellness.
Enhance safety on the Connector through the addition of a compliant shoulder and reduction in recurring flooding due to improved stormwater management.
Improve the sustainability of Downtown Atlanta by locally addressing flooding and mitigating noise and air quality impacts, while broadly lowering emissions, increasing pedestrian and bicycle use, and incorporating innovative climate change mitigation strategies such as carbon capture technology.
A key focal point of The Stitch concept design is improving what is currently the Civic Center MARTA station by creating a dynamic urban plaza coined “Emory Square.” The Emory Square plaza would 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.
Spanning the Downtown Connector, northeast of the Peachtree Street and Ralph McGill Blvd intersection, would be “Peachtree Green.” This new 3-acre urban green space would feature 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.
“Energy Park,” an urban park surrounded by new mixed-use residential, continues the thread of reclaimed open space throughout The Stitch to the southeast from Peachtree Green to a new Gateway Pavilion at the Piedmont Ave and Baker Street intersection. Energy Park would feature 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 also provides opportunities to demonstrate innovative green construction and power technologies.
While ambitious, The Stitch is not unlike other projects recently completed around the country to reclaim and re-stitch large segments of urban areas that were fragmented by urban highway development. Costs to complete this transformative project are estimated, based on similar per acre costs for projects recently completed in both Dallas and Philadelphia, at approximately $300 million. It is also estimated that The Stitch could result in $1.1 to $3.1 billion in value creation, generate $21 to $58 million in new revenue, and increase the city’s bonding capacity by $308 to $847 billion by increasing the value of existing properties and catalyzing the redevelopment of underutilized properties.
The roots of the Stitch date back to 2001 and plans for a new “Mayors Park” to honor mayors Maynard Jackson and Ivan Allen Jr. In the subsequent years, the initial vision and proposals evolved through CAP/ADID’s Imagine Downtown Plan, an Urban Land Institute Center for Leadership Technical Advisory Program analysis, and the I-75/85 Connector Transformation vision plan. Building on the momentum of these studies, CAP/ADID funded and contracted with Jacobs to develop The Stitch Vision Plan in 2015. In 2018, CAP/ADID funded and contracted with DaVinci Development Collaborative to research and validate the Stitch concept by reviewing the project for fatal engineering, design, and constructability flaws. Following this technical feasibility effort, the development of The Stitch Implementation Plan further advanced predevelopment efforts.
In 2019, The Urban Land Institute (ULI) conducted an Advisory Services Panel regarding the Stitch vision plan to "cap" I-75/85 in Downtown Atlanta. The Panel provided expert, multidisciplinary advice on the complex land use and real estate issues related to realizing The Stitch. The Panel's work is aligned with ULI and the Trust for Public Land's "10 minute Walk Campaign" aimed at building healthy places. A video of the Panel’s presentation is here, and a complete and formatted report can be found here.
Central Atlanta Progress/Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (CAP/ADID) are currently developing partnerships and seeking funding to continue to advance the vision through a collaborative community planning process, preliminary engineering, and construction. The Stitch recently applied for a U.S. Department of Transportation RAISE Grant to conduct a robust planning process. Award annoucements are anticipated in the fall of 2021.
If you have questions or need more information about The Stitch, contact Jennifer Ball at firstname.lastname@example.org