In defense of Atlantic Station

I did a belated Valentine’s Day movie date with La Novia last night (classy, right?).  She got off work too late to go to Midtown, so we went over to Atlantic Station.

Now, La Novia and La Familia like going to see movies at Midtown because it is close by and relatively hassle-free.  Whenever I suggest going to Atlantic Station I get all sorts of flak about what a pain Atlantic Station is.  You’d think the parking deck was some sort of spiritual purgatory, and that even discussion of it was enough to flay mens’ souls.

I do think everyone ends up having a scene like this one the first time they go to Atlantic Station:


After that, though, the parking isn’t that bad.  You learn the system – is the learning curve that much different than learning where to park in the EAV for a show at the Earl?

Anyway, I LIKE going to Atlantic Station.  There, I said it.  I like the big movie theater experience, with the big seats, the gigantic theater, and lots of people.  That’s what I’m paying for – the experience.  At Midtown, I can’t lose myself in the experience as well.  Everything is too small.

And don’t get me started on folks who think that Atlantic Station is “ghetto”.  I go there probably once or twice a month, and I have NEVER felt uncomfortable or threatened in any way, shape, or form.  I have friends who have had uncomfortable situations there, but my experiences have been universally positive (or at least mundane).

And while I’m on a role, I think that as a development it does a lot of things right.  There are plenty of things it does wrong, I’m not going to argue against that, but as time goes by I think it comes into its own piece by piece.  La Madre just moved into new office space over there, and the views are fantastic.  Each new building fills things out a bit, makes it feel a little more ‘real’ – which was a problem when the retail component first opened.

Anyway, I’d really love to hear Y’ALLS take on Atlantic Station – am I the only person who thinks its alright?

18 Comments so far

  1. k1ng (unregistered) on February 17th, 2010 @ 10:26 am

    Atlantic Station isn’t terrible. Weekday parking is no problem. Parking on weekends is relatively painless once you find the entrance to the lower deck. The security guards keep motorists in check when pedestrians are in the crosswalks. (side rant: why are security guards needed for motorists to stop for pedestrians? side-side rant: why do we need people to stand by the ticket machines at each exit? the parking ticketing system isn’t that complicated.)

    But I avoid the Regal cinema if at all possible. Ticket prices are higher and, in my experience, people tend it talk during films there more than they do at Midtown Art Cinema.

  2. Stephanie (locaboca) on February 17th, 2010 @ 11:00 am

    I don’t think it’s terrible either. While any Regal cinema isn’t necessarily going to be cheap (what movie theatre really is these days?), I’ve been there for several free screenings, compliments of Entertainment Weekly, and have enjoyed myself every time. Plus, the shopping is good and any person with common sense can figure out the parking if they take half a second to read the signs. LOL

  3. Karsh (unregistered) on February 17th, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

    I go back and forth about Atlantic station (I was just discussing this on Twitter with two of my followers). Over the past five years, it just always seems unfinished to me. Retail places pop in and out of there, and I don’t think I’ve ever been to any one store or restaurant that was bustling with activity. The movie theater is the standout venue there. I’d imagine it would be good for shopping too with all the clothing stores, but I always end up going to Atlantic Station to watch movies, not shop.

  4. bking on February 17th, 2010 @ 1:09 pm

    I go there almost exclusively to go to movies, although I have have probably shopped there as often as I go to Lenox (which is about two or three times a year). La Novia and I got the the theater a little early and almost popped in the Old Navy for her, but we didn’t want to be the jerks who walk in five minute before closing and want to try on jeans….

    But it feels unfinished because it IS unfinished – it is only like 40% built out. I have been when the whole place felt really busy, but I think like most outdoor places it depends on the weather.

    There is a lot of commercial/office space that can go in there. I’m also pretty sure that the office component has been fairly successful. Like I said, La Madre just moved offices there from Midtown.

  5. jam (unregistered) on February 17th, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

    I usually go there for movies as well. I ate at Rosa’s Mexicano and it was horrible and overpriced. There is nothing else there attractive for me except for the Regal.

  6. Jeffro (unregistered) on February 17th, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

    Parking isn’t a problem at Atlantic Station if you have half a brain. And it doesn’t cost you anything if you’re there less than 2 hours (and who wants to stay longer than two hours).

    And the place IS ghetto. You probably can’t tell because you’re in the dark at a movie. Have you worked out at LA Fitness? Have you eaten at Rosa Mexicana, Dolce, Geisha House, or Strip? Had a drink at Fox Sports Grill or the Grape? Have you been to the market on the weekends with 30 differnt stands selling shea butter for fat asses?

    And sweet move referenceing the EAV in your article to give you some ITP indie rock street cred. Too bad you can’t find the parking lot next door to the EARL.

    And it’s “I’m on a ‘roll'”.

  7. JB (unregistered) on February 17th, 2010 @ 7:01 pm

    I’ve gotta say, over the years, especially on a weekend night, Atlantic Station has become VERY undesirable for me and my friends in terms of the type of crowd it attracts. That’s just my experience. I think a lot of this has to do with the ongoing shift in nightlife all over the city. 10 years ago, the party was clearly the Buckhead strip, then once the bars were shut down, the crowd largely moved to Crescent Ave./midtown, and now, a large portion of that group is at Atlantic Station.

    Atlanta needs a clear nightlife destination for college kids/singles who want to loiter, hang out with friends, etc. I can see how Atlantic Station is a top choice for this. Just not my crowd.

  8. PirateOnPtree (unregistered) on February 17th, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

    If Atlantic Station makes you pout like a 12 year old, maybe you should move back to Athens or wherever you’re from that doesn’t have buildings with more than 2 floors. Honestly, any self-respecting urbanite can navigate a parking deck without having to think about it.

  9. Roxie (unregistered) on February 17th, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

    Atlantic Station a Ghetto? Please slap that person in the face. They’ve clearly never spent any time in The Bluff. That’s not a cute little insult.
    I like Atlantic Station on weekdays (mostly) b/c it’s so very crowded on the weekends with a lot of ppl who are there to see & be seen. I’m usually only there for movie screenings (thanks to,, Other than that, I go to IKEA.

    I find it super easy to get around that place. It’s never been trouble for me. I mean, really, it’s a gigantic square.

  10. tomitron (unregistered) on February 19th, 2010 @ 7:50 pm

    ghetto? GHETTO? slap that person twice!!!

  11. Tamra (tlt0912) on February 19th, 2010 @ 9:30 pm

    I want to love Atlantic Station, but I’ve never been able to get past lukewarm on it. I love the *idea* of it, but I’m just not crazy about the execution. It doesn’t seem possible that a place could feel as if it was assembled from a kit and and at the same time feel tossed-together, but AC manages to do it. But nothing’s perfect, and a neighborhood that was built from scratch seven years ago can’t be like a place that’s waxed and waned over decades in a more organic way. Getting some of those empty parcels built out – that gap on the south side of Target really bugs me- will make a difference too.

    If you’re going there specifically to do or buy something, it’s cool. But as a public space it’s just okay. It’s not a place I’ve ever felt like lingering in. Maybe I just haven’t found the right people-watching spot.

    What I really wish is that it had been built in an alternate-universe Atlanta in which there’s plenty of transit money and transit planning was a much more integrated with development. In that universe, an LRT spur could have been built from Arts Center, down the middle of the 17th Street bridge, through Atlantic Station and over to West Midtown.

    @ PirateOnPtree:
    For a lot of people, really being an “urbanite” presupposes rarely having to deal with parking decks (because it’s not a driving-oriented lifestyle) so being able to negotiate them with practiced ease might say a lot more about how much time someone spends in a car than how urbane he/she is.

  12. Tamra (tlt0912) on February 19th, 2010 @ 11:56 pm

    Up there where I said “…AC manages to do it”? That should be “AS.” I really did pass 2nd grade. Sheesh.

  13. DAntonio (unregistered) on February 20th, 2010 @ 11:57 am

    I agree that Atlantic Station is far from perfect, but it has always had potential. I just wish they would add/change a couple of stores. I think that would help things a bit. I think an Urban Outfitters, Apple Store, Barnes & Noble, etc. would have been a good look for them… Pretty much I’m saying it would have been better had they made it more like The Grove in LA. It’s in a prime location & the area is really cool looking with the apartments, office building, and park there. It just needs a some work on the retail front. Also, I really wish the theater was an IMAX. It would be good to have one in a central location in the city.

  14. bking on February 20th, 2010 @ 12:34 pm

    yeah, one of the things that annoys me the most is the lack of a book store, and the lack of a real coffee shop.

  15. JJ (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2010 @ 5:34 am

    AS as well as most of Atlanta is Ghetto! Most of the people living here are small towners who have moved here to shed their red roots. Seriously…ask around the next time you hit your fav poser bar. It has about as much culture as a walmart. The Indie crowd here is pretty much poserville also. The crime and fear factor is out of control. Of course you would not know this as Atlanta police fail to disclose it’s true crime year after year so we won’t be placed back on the number one list…thank the chamber of commerce for that. Should I go on?

  16. Stephanie (locaboca) on February 22nd, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

    If by go on, you mean go on to the airport to catch a flight back to wherever you came from then, by all means, go on. Delta is ready when you are!

  17. DAnt (unregistered) on February 26th, 2010 @ 10:55 am

    Apparently JJ you have some issues, and should not spend your life living in a city that you have this much aggression for. You should really move somewhere that’s more appropriate for you where you don’t have to waste your time giving your piece of shit two cents about a city with no class and culture. Please exit ASAP, Dick!

  18. Mr. B (unregistered) on March 16th, 2010 @ 6:07 pm

    It’s a MALL people. An outdoor mall. And a pretty crappy one at that. They had the opportunity to add to an established Midtown neighborhood, that was actually designed on a grid, and create something really cool but they screwed it up. It’s the worst of suburban design, brought into the city for our (in)convenience. No “self-respecting urbanite” would consider it to be anything else. Fake, fake, fake. And if you REALLY want to hear some ranting about Atlantic Station’s horrible design esthetics, look it up on the blog sites of professional architects.

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