Archive for May, 2011

What do you want in Midtown?

Midtown Atlanta from the 47th floor of One Atlantic Center

Remember the Midtown Mile?

Like the Streets of Buckhead, it’s said to be just sleeping, not dead. But, some of the project’s developers are said to be reigning in their ambitions, leaning toward something a little less Dean & Deluca and a little more Trader Joe’s.

The scaling down isn’t just in fancy-ness but also in volume. The project’s planned retail component has been scaled back to about 610,000 square feet from the original 1,000,000. Luxury condos, once a must-have for new development, are likely to feature less prominently in the new design as well.

But at least one developer isn’t buying into the new vision.

Shirley Gouffon is a senior vice president with Selig Enterprises, the company that’s developing 12th & Midtown with Daniel Corp. In an e-mail to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Gouffon said that Selig and Daniel “have not bought into these ideas and are in total disagreement with many of the positions outlined.”

The Mile’s developers are in a difficult position, trying to create an area that will appeal to three very different groups:

  • People from out of town who stay in Midtown’s expensive hotels and would like to walk to shopping, restaurants and entertainment
  • People who live in the suburbs and come into the city for events at the Fox Theater, the High Museum and Woodruff Arts Center and want things to do before and/or after, preferably things that aren’t available where they live
  • People who live and work in and around Midtown and want things like a grocery store on Peachtree, interesting but reasonably-priced restaurants and some walkable everyday shopping

Do you live, work or hang out in Midtown? What do you think is missing there?

All dressed up…

Coca-Cola headquarters draped in white

The Coca-Cola corporate headquarters building on North Avenue, as seen from Civic Center Station


If you’re wondering why the Coke HQ building is decked out as if it’s about to walk down the aisle, CL has some explanation.

The white drape on the the 29-story building will be used as a screen to project images on during an event commemorating Coca-Cola’s 125th anniversary this weekend.

That’s not just any 350-foot, semi-opaque white sheet, by the way. If this permit application is to be believed, that’s about $600,000 worth of Odwalla, Vitamin Water and Simply Lemonade hanging up there.

Getting what we pay for

Speaking of the transportation tax, there’s a brief transportation priorities survey on the Atlanta Regional Roundtable’s site, available to take until May 15. (If that link doesn’t work, there’s another one at the top of the front page of the ARR site)

The Atlanta Regional Roundtable is the group of 21 officials from the 10-county Atlanta region that will choose the roster of transportation projects to be funded by the one percent sales tax we’ll vote on next year. Since the tax will be voted up or down based at least partially on the content of the list of projects, the Roundtable wants to assemble a list that reflects things that people really care about seeing get built.

So, when you have a spare five minutes, take the survey, and then check out the interactive map that can tell you the cost, time frame, purpose and requesting agency for prospective transportation projects in your neighborhood.

MARTA fares to rise in fall

MARTA is planning a 25 percent fare hike for the fall.  The increase would push the one-way base fare from $2 to $2.50. The more painful change would be in the price of regular monthly passes from $68 to $95 –  an increase of almost 40 percent. The latest fare hike comes just two years after the last one, which went into effect Oct. 1, 2009. MARTA fares had held steady for eight years before that.

MARTA train crossing I-75/85

Flickr photo by Willamor Media

MARTA’s board Chairman Jim Durrett told the AJC that the fare hike might be implemented in stages – 25 cents now and another 25 cents later – rather than all at once, but it sounds like some fare increase is a done deal.

The agency has already resorted to service cuts, staff reductions and borrowing from its capital reserves to slow its fiscal bleeding in the last few years. But with the capital reserves expected to be tapped out in just two years and the price of fuel creeping up, we’re probably going to keep paying more for less until the transportation tax kicks in.

If you’d like to have a word with MARTA about the proposed increase, there will be public hearings on May 16 and May 17.

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