MARTA’s plan to refashion its largest and busiest transit hub into a “compelling civic space” for not only MARTA customers but the surrounding downtown neighborhood is showing signs of life, though the project won’t be finished as soon as agency leaders had previously hoped.
MARTA and its City of Atlanta partners have advanced the Five Points Station Transformation Project, as it’s now formally called, to a public review phase under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, agency officials said today.
The $206-million overhaul calls for removing and replacing Five Points station’s concrete canopy, reconnecting Broad Street to pedestrian traffic, adding customer amenities, and incorporating spaces for public art, agriculture, and communal gatherings.
The project is being funded through the More MARTA half-penny sales tax program approved by voters seven years ago, with $25 million also coming from a Federal RAISE Grant and another $13.8 million from the Sate of Georgia. (The overall cost is $53 million less than earlier projections, following refinements made by MARTA after city council members expressed concerns over costs. )
The station overhaul has been in the works since 2019.
According to MARTA officials, the project’s next step will be a month of public review that allows Atlantans to chime in on an environment assessment conducted on the proposal this year. That will be followed by a Federal Transit Administration final approval process that MARTA officials say is expected to find no significant environment impact posed by the project.
Once the FTA lends its stamp of approval, MARTA will begin the process of preparing Five Points station for the construction phase, according to an announcement today.
The project is expected to help set the stage for transit-oriented development downtown, including a future residential component at Underground Atlanta.
MARTA in March unveiled preferred plans for Five Points that included a new canopy over the station allowing for better light and ventilation. The agency has conducted multiple studies in intervening months regarding the project’s impact on the built environment, after the State Historic Preservation Office determined in April the 1979 station is “of significant historical importance since it is part of the largest public works project in Atlanta history, the construction of the MARTA system,” per agency officials.
The preservation agency found that the Five Points overhaul would negatively impact historic aspects of the station and require mitigation.
In response, according to MARTA’s environmental assessment, mitigation measures incorporated into the station’s redevelopment will include architectural documentation such as photography and interpretive panels that memorialize today’s concourse and plaza levels.
MARTA doesn’t expect the remade Five Points station to be finished in time for Atlanta’s World Cup 2026 matches—the earlier target for completion—but the agency “will ensure the rail station is ready to host soccer fans from around the world,” according to today’s announcement.
In 2021, MARTA selected architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to lead designs of the canopy deconstruction and removal, while Skanska Building USA was picked to serve as contractor, overseeing the project.
The project attracted scrutiny from government and business leaders earlier this year who felt it prioritizes vehicle transportation over a truly vibrant downtown. MARTA officials say a crucial factor in the design is accommodating customers who use bus routes that connect with the station on a daily basis—customers who oftentimes don’t have access to vehicles. That will require large bus bays at street level, project leaders say.
Five Points acts as the connecting point for all four rail lines—the north/south (Red and Gold) and east/west Lines (Green and Blue)—and nine bus routes.
The Five Points MARTA station environmental assessment can be viewed online here, or in person until Jan. 4 next year at the Fulton County Library downtown, MARTA headquarters (2424 Piedmont Road NE), or the Five Points Station Ride Store (30 Alabama St. SW).
Public comments on the project can be submitted via MARTA’s website, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), by phone (404-848-5299), or by mail (MARTA Five Points Transformation/Attn. Tracie Roberson, 2424 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30324-3311).
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