MARTA is now working with a developer to build on a small downtown parcel where one of the Peachtree Center station entrances is located. According to Maria Saporta, the developer plans to build three stories of commercial retail space on the site, which is adjacent to a hotel property the real estate firm already owns.
Not to get too off topic, but the neighboring Winecoff hotel was famous for having one of the deadliest fires in U.S. history. While built as a "fireproof" building (sounds eerily like the Titanic), a 1947 fire proved that the interiors were very flammable and escape routes were inadequate. New building fire codes were developed in response to the fire and several other hotel fires that had killed visitors across several U.S. cities.
When I lived in Atlanta, the hotel was a long-forgotten historical landmark that had been vacant for many years. It was generally thought that the building would need to be torn down for the MARTA station site to be large enough for redevelopment. However, the hotel was renovated in the mid-2000's and many thought development on the adjacent MARTA-owned site would be infeasible.
Well, welcome to the future! It's now feasible and MARTA is able to capture some value from its downtown real estate. Hope this goes well and I look forward to seeing the progress next time I'm in Atlanta.
Ian Carlton is a transportation and land use expert specializing in transit-oriented development (TOD). He helps clients - including transit agencies, planning departments, and landowners - optimize real estate development around transit.
Special thanks to Burt Gregory at Mithun for permission to use the Portland Streetcar image above.