Posts Tagged ‘five points’

Underground Atlanta: What to throw away, what to keep

It’s the time of year when people start to organize and cull their stuff (again). The time of year when they finally acknowledge that they’re not going to spend “twenty minutes a day, three days a week” on that exercise gadget and put it in the box to go to Goodwill. Out go the fondue pots, the graphing calculator from college, the too-small shorts and the “What is that thing, anyway?”

So, what are we going to do with this?Underground sign - northeast corner

It’s not rare to hear the opinion that Underground Atlanta has outlived its usefulness, but we can’t just put it on a truck, drive it up Marietta Street and leave it at the Salvation Army across from Georgia Tech. Besides, it’s not as if it’s not serving any purpose at all. The streets right around Five Points and Underground are very active during the day and the stores and restaurants there are managing to stay afloat because people do go there.

The problem is that not many of those people are downtown residents (who would keep the streets active at night) or tourists or business travelers (who tend to spend a lot of money). By about 6 p.m. the students, office workers and shoppers are gone and the place is mostly dead, left for a variety of unofficial uses.

The attempt to turn Underground into a nightlife destination to replace Buckhead Village was less than a blazing success and the leaseholders’ proposal to create a hotel and casino complex there isn’t likely to rise from the dead. Maybe what’s needed there isn’t necessarily something unique, but just something that will work. By “work” I mean it will get people of varying ages and backgrounds down there at least 12 hours per day and that it will be appealing to people who live, work and go to school downtown, and to people who are just passing through. If it attracts people from other parts of the city and even outside the city, so much the better, but that might be expecting too much.

If you had unlimited money but only about two years to do it, how would you turn Underground around?

you go….downtown.

we have been having a rather spirited discussion across several blogs about the fate of downtown atlanta and what it might take to actually revitalize it and make it a place people would want to visit.

some of the best commentary i have read came from rashid muhammad in his post on the topic:

Anyhow, my Downtown Unification Theory has always been that if Five Points is going to be what it should – that would be a hub of downtown activity – connecting it to Centennial Park is the key. The problem with doing this via Marietta Street is that there are several buildings there that darken the path at night (State Bar, AJC, Telecom Tower, DFACS, HUD, etc) and offer little value to the visitor during the day. Luckie Street could also serve this purpose but at LEAST two of the parking lots there would have to be replaced by buildings that contain some sort of restaurants or entertainment. Right now the street lining is too perforated and not inviting enough for any tourist to really want to explore it much further than the Super 8 Motel. If the lot across from 123 Luckie were replaced with a nice development putting more stuff to do on the street that would be a big improvement.

ben k weighs in on his new atlanta real estate blog, terminal station:

Realistically, I think Five Points plaza will be the last place in Downtown to turn around. All the positive movement is happening on the peripherals – Castleberry Hill, the Allen Plaza and 12 Centennial stuff at the north side of downtown, Integral Group’s stuff on Auburn and even Capitol Gateway. That is a lot of housing to absorb, but if it can happen, then it will start bleeding into the real core of downtown, which has always been Five Points. I don’t think GSU will build their dorms at Underground any time soon, so these areas are going to have to be the driving forces that eventually squeeze Five Points and put enough pressure on things to force changes.

i have been falling in love with the architecture and the feel of downtown atlanta for months now; really since i started taking the bus to five points every day.

i would love so much to see it become the vibrant, integral community it could be. i am curious what you guys think. i don’t think it’s as easy as ‘get rid of the panhandlers.’

my suggestions include; an underground bus terminal, the revitlization of alabama street through tax incentives and finally figure out something to do with the railway gulch

please opine…..

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