Though it might not fully exist for a decade, downtown’s hypothetical, highway-capping Stitch project is already proving itself a magnet for development dollars.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports early discussions are underway for building a mixed-use Hilton hotel project on a long-vacant site next to the downtown Connector that could become a focal point of the Stitch, which backers predict will spur $3 billion in private investment.
In the works are a 260-key hotel and an apartment component that could include affordable units catering to healthcare workers at nearby Emory facilities, according to Natson Hotel Group, the McDonough-based firm putting the concept together, the newspaper reports.
The roughly 1-acre site is located between Ted Turner Drive and West Peachtree Street, just west of the Civic Center MARTA station, in the shadow of the Twelve Centennial Park hotel and condos. The latter building is a 39-story high-rise finished in 2007; longtime Atlanta development wonks will recall that initial plans for the Twelve condos included a twin tower of equal height—but the Great Recession scuttled that portion of the project.
The footprint for the planned second tower has been vacant ever since.
Should the Stitch come together as planned, the hotel-apartment combo would overlook the section of the project called Hospital Square. That's envisioned as an interactive playscape at MARTA’s doorstep framing St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
According to the ABC, Natson Hotel Group has yet to file formal plans for the project but hopes to break ground sometime in 2026 on the property, which an affiliate of the company already owns. The hotel would feature Hilton’s new lifestyle-focused Tempo brand and could be dual-branded with the company’s extended-stay Homewood Suites. (If Hilton goes that route, the project would echo a Tempo-Homewood Suites project bound for downtown Decatur—with no additional parking facilities planned.)
Natson Hotel Group CEO Sam Patel told the ABC his firm is committed to building alongside the Stitch, which he foresees as a monumental perk for being in that part of the city.
Released earlier this summer, Invest Atlanta’s statistical projections for what the 3/4th-mile highway-capping greenspace could generate are the most optimistic to date: roughly 12 million square feet of residential development and 3,400 affordable housing units, all situated on nearby properties “that are currently underutilized and blighted by the impacts of exposure to the interstate highway.”
Some 25 acres are controlled today by landowners “desiring to redevelop with a focus on affordable-housing,” per the development authority’s recent update.
In a May promo video shared with U.S. government leaders during National Infrastructure Week, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens predicted the park would eventually be surrounded with $3 billion in private developer investments. Dickens also described the 14-acre Stitch as “a once-in-a-generation project” that would link people with multiple transportation modes.
The cost for all Stitch sections has bumped up to $713 million, as project leaders revealed last year, though that’s likely to change as engineering and design phases are modified and finalized in coming years.
Central Atlanta Progress, the Stitch’s spearhead since inception, estimates the project could take a decade to fully construct and open over the Connector, near the point where downtown’s northern blocks meet Midtown. Construction could begin by 2026, with an estimated completion at the earliest in 2032, per CAP officials.
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