From the Beltline to downtown, Atlanta’s most promising 2018 proposals

December 20,2018

Josh Green, Curbed Atlanta

For ages, Atlanta has been known as fertile ground for big (sometimes unrealistic) ideas, especially as it pertains to the built environment.

Recent years have done little to ding that reputation, as evidenced by proposals from Buckhead’s highway-capping park and Old Fourth Ward’s potential mini-city to downtown’s “Stitch” and the forthcoming Atlanta Beltline Southside Trail.

But this being the end of 2018, it’s time to recognize development ideas that either first came to light, became more focused, or actually launched construction this year.

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South Downtown

The gist: A planned $500 million revamp of a downtown section that’s commonly perceived as ailing.

Timeline: Information about project phasing should come to light early next year, at the latest, Newport officials told Curbed Atlanta in November.

Developer Newport’s plans for eight blocks of South Downtown weren’t exactly new in 2018, but last month provided the most specific indication yet of what the Germany-based company has in mind. Newport has been in talks with developers of the nearby Norfolk Southern Buildings and Underground Atlanta to ensure their plans can coexist, officials recently said.

The Gulch

The gist: Plans are tentative, and development would likely be rolled out in multiple phases, but CIM Group’s ambitions for the Gulch parcels it’s assembling could constitute between a dozen and 15 city blocks, with between seven and 12 million square feet of new construction. Essentially a mini-city, with privatized streets.

Timeline: TBD; in meetings this year, city officials have indicated it could take several years before signifiant development is finished.

What’s probably Atlanta’s most controversial development since the new coliseum next door also has the greatest potential for finally revitalizing the municipal embarrassment that is the downtown Gulch. With a lawsuit pending, CIM Group’s vision isn't a sure bet, and more than one aspect has rankled Atlantans (such as privatized streets), but in terms of transformative potential, few proposals in the Southeast region come close.