Study: Transit hub would create 15,000 jobs

January 27,2012

Read the full article by Dave Williams in the Atlanta Business Chronicle. 

A proposed transit hub in downtown Atlanta would create more than 15,000 jobs and add almost 6 million square feet of office, retail and residential space, according to a new study.

The report, released Jan. 27, marks the first attempt to project the economic impacts by 2040 of converting the blighted “Gulch” area into a mixed-use complex centered around a bus and rail terminal, a plan that has languished for years for lack of funding.

“It illustrates that potentially this could be a very positive investment for the city of Atlanta, the region and the state of Georgia,” said Gary Mongeon, vice president of Bleakly Advisory Group, one of three consultants commissioned by downtown community development nonprofit Central Atlanta Progress to prepare the report. “It’s something that really ought to be taken seriously.”

Like the rest of Georgia’s commuter- and passenger-rail projects other than MARTA, the Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal (MMPT) has never advanced beyond the planning stages.

In the latest blow, the project failed to make it onto the final list of $6.1 billion in transportation improvements across metro Atlanta to be funded by a proposed 1-cent regional sales tax that will be on the ballot in 10 counties this summer. The Georgia Department of Transportation had asked for $50 million for the terminal.

But that’s not stopping the DOT from moving forward. The state agency signed a two-year, $12.2 million contract last fall with a private consortium that will serve as the project’s “master developer.”

The group includes two Atlanta-based companies, Cousins Properties Inc. and The Integral Group LLC, along with Forest City Enterprises Inc. of Cleveland.