As MARTA’s process for gathering public input on Bankhead station’s redevelopment draws to a close, it’s becoming clearer that an overhaul of the transit hub won’t exactly come soon, but it could be transformative.
MARTA’s Bankhead station today is surrounded by surface parking and unused land in the 1300 block of Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway—next door to vast acreage owned by tech giant Microsoft.
Last year, the transit agency picked a development team and lifted the veil on what a transformed Bankhead station could look like, with an overarching goal of weaving together transit-oriented development with safer access and better connectivity to the surrounding area, per MARTA.
Since then, about 400 people have been counted at community events, virtual meetings, and via an online survey so far, all intended to let the public chip in their 2 cents as to how the last westbound stop on MARTA’s Green Line should be remade, according to MARTA.
A final meeting for presenting TOD plans and gathering community input is scheduled next week.
A market analysis included in MARTA’s final presentation shows that phase one of redevelopment could deliver in 2028, with roughly 300 housing units. Other aspects would include 35,000 square feet for retail, and 80,000 square feet of office space.
The second phase of Bankhead development, per MARTA’s timeline, would come roughly five years later, or in 2032. Two options for designs have been compiled by the Gensler architecture firm.
Top priorities for Bankhead station’s redevelopment so far, according to MARTA, are: a small-format grocery store; spaces for at least two restaurants; affordable housing; a pharmacy or medical retail; small offices and space for workforce training and job placement; a center for childcare and early childhood development; and coworking spaces and labs, among other wish-list items.
Even without Microsoft’s mixed-use campus next door (for now), the Bankhead TOD will still neighbor key drivers for growth, including the Proctor Creek Greenway in historic Grove Park. The city’s new Westside Park and segments of the BeltLine’s Westside Trail are within about a half-mile.
MARTA’s board of directors in October picked Peebles Corporation—considered one of the largest minority-owned real estate developers in the U.S.—to lead the joint venture. Also included in the deal are local development firms Third & Urban, the company behind adaptive-reuse projects Westside Paper and Common Ground along the BeltLine, plus Bolster Real Estate Partners and New York-based Exact Capital.
The redevelopment vision, as unveiled by MARTA at the time, called for 496 housing units total—148 of them designated as affordable housing for anyone earning 80 to 120 percent of the area’s median income, according to zip code.
The TOD would be a first for Atlanta’s Westside—with H.E. Holmes station not far behind, at the western end of MARTA’s Blue Line, where a similar community visioning process is ongoing.
MARTA’s final community engagement meeting for the Bankhead project is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at John Lewis Academy (1890 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway). Find registration details here.
According to MARTA’s timeline, the Bankhead TOD’s finalized masterplan is expected to be submitted to the city for review later this month. (Find a deeper dive into what that could entail in the above gallery.)
Should it come together as planned, redevelopment of Bankhead station will join other MARTA-led projects from Grant Park to Edgewood and Decatur’s eastern fringes that have transformed parking lots into multifamily housing and other uses. According to MARTA, the Bankhead TOD will consume about 5 and ½ acres on the ground, and the deal also includes air rights above the existing station.
The Bankhead project is part of the billion-dollar MARTA 2040 plan approved by taxpayers in 2016. The scope also includes extending the station’s platform capacity from two to eight train cars, on par with MARTA’s other stations. The Georgia General Assembly in 2021 chipped in $6 million toward the project to support the area’s economic development—which many perceived as an effort to also appease Microsoft.
Bankhead station falls within a Federal Opportunity Zone, which increases its chances of securing financial help at the federal level, project officials have said.
Follow us on social media:
• Bankhead news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)