In a year chockfull of bold new development ideas, Forge Atlanta could be the most ambitious.
Formerly called Artisan Yards, the 10-acre project would consume what’s largely underused, industrial property in South Downtown, just east of Castleberry Hill. It was initially floated with different designs in early 2019.
A team lead by Urbantec Development Partners revealed the refreshed Forge Atlanta branding this fall and has more recently filed site plans and renderings with the city’s Office of Zoning and Development. The documents illustrate how 5 million square feet of new construction would rise where Ted Turner Drive meets Whitehall Street.
For those keeping score, that’s immediately south of the barren Gulch property where CIM Group’s Centennial Yards project expects to transform 50 acres into a functioning mixed-use utopia over the next eight to 10 years.
Another massive undertaking—Newport’s revival of downtown’s Hotel Row and four dozen other buildings and parcels—has begun making visible progress this year a few blocks away.
Which all begs the question: How many large-scale developments can the southern sections of downtown Atlanta support?
According to Central Atlanta Progress, what Forge Atlanta may ultimately cost to build isn’t yet known, but the assembled sites in question would benefit from access to MARTA’s Garnett station and walkability to Castleberry Hill and attractions such as Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Drivers could access Interstate 20 from the location in seconds.
Urbantec heads told the Atlanta Business Chronicle in October that Forge Atlanta would aspire to be a blend of space for life sciences research (a booming industry during the COVID-19 pandemic), retail, and entertainment venues spanning 3.8 million square feet. Elsewhere, more than 1 million more square feet would be devoted to multifamily housing. It would stand out, the logic goes, as tech-focused new construction, integrated with blockchain technology of some sort, that isn’t in the tech-magnet that Midtown has become.
Urbantec purchased the acreage early this year for around $26 million. Company leaders were attracted to the underdeveloped site by its relatively low land costs and proximity to Atlanta University Center colleges, the ABC reported.
According to site plans, Forge Atlanta would see at least seven buildings rise around a central plaza, with a potential pedestrian bridge spanning across active railroad to Castleberry Hill, as designed by Nelson Wakefield Beasley & Associates architects.
No timeline for completion has been specified, but Urbantec leaders have said breaking ground next fall could be possible.
• Photos: Touring Centennial Yards as construction gains steam (Urbanize Atlanta)