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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2017, 11:03 PM
smArTaLlone smArTaLlone is offline
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DOWNTOWN | Underground Atlanta redevelopment

Now that the sale of Underground to WRS appears close to becoming a reality, this could be a transformational development for downtown. Some are concerned however that it could be a disaster if the of 2,000 additional parking spaces and a mega grocery store are the plan.

The plan
  • 7 new highrise buildings
  • 1,000 residential units
  • 320 room hotel
  • 250,000 sf retail
  • grocery store
Conceptual renderings









Retail plan


Site plan
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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2017, 12:09 AM
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This is a truly trans-formative project. If the Underground could be developed in such a way, downtown Atlanta would be taking multiple steps forward.
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  #3  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2017, 2:15 AM
smArTaLlone smArTaLlone is offline
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Invest Atlanta board OKs master plan for Underground Atlanta

http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/n...-plan-for.html




Quote:
Meeting as the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), the Invest Atlanta board signed off on a plan put together by the city and South Carolina-based WRS Realty, which hopes to complete acquisition of the property from the city by the end of the month.


Covenants in the deal negotiated with the city prohibit building a casino on the property, guarantee historic building facades will be preserved and require a portion of the multi-family residences will be affordable housing.
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  #4  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2017, 11:21 AM
Martinman Martinman is offline
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I'm a little torn with this plan. On one hand, this will no doubt be an incredible boost to downtown. But this developer only knows suburban strip mall style development as evidenced by the spaces designated for Jr anchor (think TJ Maxx or Dollar Tree). The idea of an urban strip mall in the middle of downtown sounds horrible but on the other hand maybe it's what the market can support at this time and can evolve over time.
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  #5  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2017, 3:33 PM
Ant131531 Ant131531 is online now
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Where is the urban strip mall at....? To me, it looks like solid urbanism...the only bad thing is the Kenny's Alley turning into a docking area.

Do people realize that many Americans cities outside of their downtown areas are literally urban strip malls simply up against the street particularly commercial strips?
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  #6  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2017, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ant131531 View Post
Where is the urban strip mall at....? To me, it looks like solid urbanism...the only bad thing is the Kenny's Alley turning into a docking area.

Do people realize that many Americans cities outside of their downtown areas are literally urban strip malls simply up against the street particularly commercial strips?
Obviously its not suburban in physical form but it appears to be an "urban strip mall" in two ways. First the tenants that are in every suburban strip mall if in fact it will have Dollar Tree, Ross etc. Again, this may be all that is feasible for Underground at this time. Secondly, it is suburban in the mindset that every person will drive to and from the development despite being adjacent Marta's central transit station.

By the way, this isn't outside of downtown. This happens to be in the historic heart of the city.
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  #7  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2017, 12:55 PM
jayden jayden is offline
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2,000 parking spots? Forreal?
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  #8  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2017, 1:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jayden View Post
2,000 parking spots? Forreal?
Last I saw the total including existing parking was 3,500, where 2,000 would be newly constructed. As much as I want development downtown, I am ready for this project to die and then have Reed no longer in office. As much as he's accomplished for the city- we deserve a new, better thought out vision for the CoA.
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  #9  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2017, 1:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayden View Post
2,000 parking spots? Forreal?
2087 new parking spots, in addition to the two existing on-site decks. Completely unacceptable for this location. This is literally the most transit-accessible area in the entire Southeast. Every time I start to feel good about Atlanta development, crap like this is built. Shame on Invest Atlanta.
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  #10  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2017, 3:53 PM
smArTaLlone smArTaLlone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Street Advocate View Post
Last I saw the total including existing parking was 3,500, where 2,000 would be newly constructed. As much as I want development downtown, I am ready for this project to die and then have Reed no longer in office. As much as he's accomplished for the city- we deserve a new, better thought out vision for the CoA.
Reed seems to be in "legacy mode" and just wants any development just so that he can put his name beside it.
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  #11  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2017, 8:22 PM
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Atlanta3000 Atlanta3000 is offline
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REALLY???

Let's see, WRS is adding these additions to the Underground:
* 7 new highrise buildings
* 1,000 residential units
* 320 room hotel
* 250,000 sf retail
* Grocery store


but they should not add any additional parking? Some of you rather terminate the project altogether because the are adding parking? Honestly, the rhetoric on this forum is really becoming extremist.

I could almost guarantee WRS would rather save the $30+/- Million building the parking spaces if they could find renters, retailers and banks to sign on and/or finance the project. How about ya'll share your deep contacts with WRS so you can make this a more profitable project for them....
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Last edited by Atlanta3000; Mar 20, 2017 at 9:06 PM.
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  #12  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2017, 2:23 AM
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Can't you just express your opinion on here without resorting to attacks, blatantly misstating other people's views, and making and posting over-the-top pictures? Seriously, why would you take the time to make and post that image? The ironic part is that three of your "no parking" icons are located on top of the 1500 EXISTING PARKING SPACES.

It's a horrifically bad design. That's my informed opinion. In addition to the 1500 spaces that are already present, there are 90,000 parking spaces downtown, and even at peak demand they're around 60% occupied. It's completely reasonable to demand that this development involve minimal additional parking spots. If it were just about anywhere else in the metro, fine, but this does not belong in the heart of downtown. So yes, I would rather terminate this project.

From the Council for New Urbanism:
This proposal is poorly designed for the center of Downtown Atlanta and stands in stark contrast to the City of Atlanta Department of Planning's rezoning efforts. For a development at the epicenter of Atlanta's transit system, which already has parking garages that take up nearly two full blocks of the project area's street frontage, to plan for a total of 3,470 parking spaces is wild. The City should take a closer look at MARTA's work developing their properties into Transit-Oriented Developments with appropriate parking scenarios. Additionally, the (now even bigger) 80,000 square foot grocery store will most likely fail to adequately activate these streets, especially Upper Pryor thanks to parking garages that take up most of the street front. Nothing says exciting city street like the long side of a big box grocery store.
This development undermines many of the investments the City has already put into Downtown and Atlanta's future development writ large. The plan calls for a 2:1 parking ratio for the 1,000 residential units planned, more standard in a suburban setting than a transit-adjacent downtown development. Why build the Atlanta Streetcar or roll out the Relay Bike Share program if you plan for the most people who could access them to drive anyway? Why invest in a revamped DPCD & Atlanta City Studio if you're not going to heed what they say?


In addition, it's quite clear the city already had this specific developer in mind, and it was not an open process:

Last edited by shivtim; Mar 21, 2017 at 2:39 AM.
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  #13  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2017, 2:47 AM
smArTaLlone smArTaLlone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shivtim View Post
In addition, it's quite clear the city already had this specific developer in mind, and it was not an open process:
Thanks for the info. I didn't realize that there was not even a RFP issued for something as important to downtown as Underground.
The more I learn about this the less I like it. Those pretty renderings are very misleading.
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  #14  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2017, 4:18 AM
Ant131531 Ant131531 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smArTaLlone View Post
Thanks for the info. I didn't realize that there was not even a RFP issued for something as important to downtown as Underground.
The more I learn about this the less I like it. Those pretty renderings are very misleading.
So those renderings aren't the real project?
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  #15  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2017, 11:08 AM
alco89 alco89 is offline
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As someone who has to go to the Fulton County Court a lot (for work) I have to use the Underground Parking deck at MLK and Central and it is usually PACKED! I also know the one at MLK and Pryor is also packed because of the courts and government buildings. Don't just assume that all the parking that currently exists is JUST for Underground. Not sure about the other 2 on the north side of the train tracks, but I'm sure it's a similar situation.

This is all to say that adding parking is necessary, especially when you look at all the residences, retail, and hotel space that is being added. The amount of parking spaces being added is debatable, though. Maybe only add 750-1000, since it's next to Five Points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ant131531 View Post
So those renderings aren't the real project?
I've always assumed they were just conceptual.
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  #16  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2017, 11:37 AM
smArTaLlone smArTaLlone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ant131531 View Post
So those renderings aren't the real project?
Of course not. They are only conceptual renderings. As mentioned above, this developer's experience is primarily Walmart anchored shopping centers. I don't see any Walmarts or similar big box stores represented in the renderings.
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  #17  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2017, 12:09 PM
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@shivtim, I appreciate the detailed info. Civic engagement on all sides is vital for a city. It's ridiculous the didn't have a bid out for this project. Shady shady shady
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  #18  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2017, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shivtim View Post
Can't you just express your opinion on here without resorting to attacks, blatantly misstating other people's views, and making and posting over-the-top pictures? Seriously, why would you take the time to make and post that image? The ironic part is that three of your "no parking" icons are located on top of the 1500 EXISTING PARKING SPACES.

It's a horrifically bad design. That's my informed opinion. In addition to the 1500 spaces that are already present, there are 90,000 parking spaces downtown, and even at peak demand they're around 60% occupied. It's completely reasonable to demand that this development involve minimal additional parking spots. If it were just about anywhere else in the metro, fine, but this does not belong in the heart of downtown. So yes, I would rather terminate this project.
I am not going to go back and forth with you concerning this topic, but I did want to respond. First, a person has to be very thin skinned to view my response as an "attack". I am surprised it was not characterized as bullying as well. The bottom line is, this is a forum with people from different perspectives, ages, genders, colors, social-economic backgrounds and careers, but we share a common interest. Therefore, it is expected that not all people will agree with your "opinions" and that is OK and this should be a forum that embraces these discussions, not discourages it. If anything my response was sarcasm at best. However, to characterize my difference of opinion/sarcasm as an attack really shows more of your character than mine.

  • Below is the Fulton County Code on Parking Requirements on Commercial Establishments. Per the code let's do the math and see what Fulton County requires in terms of parking for the Underground development per the code:


Apartments
1000 apartments - assuming there is a mix of 1, 2, and 3 bedrooms. Lets assume the following mix:
1 bedroom (600 units) = 750 parking spaces
2 bedroom (300 units) = 525 parking spaces
3 bedroom (100 units) = 200 parking spaces
Total Required Parking Spaces for Apartments Per Code: 1,475

Hotel
Given the size of the hotel we can assume it is a full service hotel and therefore it has a restaurant.
320 rooms = 400 parking spaces
Total Required Parking Spaces for hotel Per Code: 400

Retail
Let's assume the project is 30% restaurants and 70% non-restaurant retail of the 250,000 square feet
Restaurant(s) 75,000 square feet = 750 parking spaces
Non-Restaurant(s) 175,000 square feet =
875 parking spaces
Total Required Parking Spaces for Retail Per Code: 1,625

Total Required Parking Spaces for the Underground Development/WRS, Inc. Per Fulton Country Code: 3,500

Question for shivtim:
As I have mentioned before, I am a Big Data Scientist/Consultant. Therefore, I "try" as best to come from a place of fact - especially in discussions or debates. Per my analysis above (albeit I did make some assumptions on the apartments and retail mix) I believe WRS, Inc is only including/constructing the required parking per Fulton County Code.

1. So your issue is with the Fulton County Code not WRS, Inc - correct?
2. In Midtown, Related Group is buillding a 77,000 sq Whole Foods. Did you express concerns about that project, as well as, the ancillary parking require per code with regard to "activating the streets"? Can you please post a link to your post if there is one?
3. You point to the fact Downtown already has 90,000 parking spaces. With that said, do you feel WRS, Inc can tell their lending partners we don't need to construct any additional parking in this mammouth development because the renters, hotel guests and shoppers can just park somewhere else downtown? Do you believe their financial backers will agree that no additional parking is required and fund the project?

https://www.municode.com/library/ga/...ALO_18.2PASPRE
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Last edited by Atlanta3000; Mar 21, 2017 at 12:49 PM.
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  #19  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2017, 12:28 PM
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Do you think Fulton County parking requirements are the over-riding code in downtown Atlanta? Can you not think of one example where fewer parking spots than this were built? Can you understand that some of us think a car-centric development in the heart of the city, next to the busiest transit station in the region is not appropriate? If WRS can't make the economics of this work without 3,500 parking spots, then it's not an appropriate design in the first place.

Last edited by shivtim; Mar 21, 2017 at 12:38 PM.
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  #20  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2017, 1:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shivtim View Post
Do you think Fulton County parking requirements are the over-riding code in downtown Atlanta? Can you not think of one example where fewer parking spots than this were built? Can you understand that some of us think a car-centric development in the heart of the city, next to the busiest transit station in the region is not appropriate? If WRS can't make the economics of this work without 3,500 parking spots, then it's not an appropriate design in the first place.
This is what I think and I apologize in advance for being frank and this is not a personal attack on you.

The Five Points MARTA is a shit hole - the Underground is a shit hole. Trust me, I worked in the Centennial Building for two years and took MARTA from Buckhead to the Five Points station daily. If I left work after 6:00 PM I would cab or Uber home because that area is dangerous. Therefore, I feel if some developer is willing (dumb enough) to invest $400 Million in this area (God Bless them) and I could give (2) or (3) shits whether they built 3,500 or even 10,000 parking spaces. I would just kindly ask they make them look pretty and have ground floor retail.

My question(s) to you:
Outside of NYC or Chicago, can you point to a development/city that has built a project of this size and scope without a similar ratio of parking? Again, I like to come from a place of facts because I believe that is the standard we should hold the developer to and it is also what banks look at when deciding if they will fund a project.

Also, what were you thoughts on Midtown's Wholefoods' project and the parking podium and whether it activates the street(s)? I want to understand if you have a consistent standard with respect to development/grocery stores in Atlanta because this is how city codes are written (based on consistent standards).

Thanks.
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