These days, a stroll through Edgewood shows how MARTA’s push for transit-oriented development has continued to bear fruit despite the pandemic.

In Edgewood’s case, MARTA's TOD is delivering a unique format that keeps human-scale uses in mind—and it could be a template for how underused surface parking can be reimagined across Atlanta in the future.

What used to be a vast, usually two-thirds empty parking lot has transformed into “Edgewood Park,” a 6.3-acre project with five distinct components, including a public greenspace.

The final phase is expected to deliver in about six months.

MARTA has entered into long-term ground leases with developer Columbia Ventures to build the mixed-use hub, similar to other TOD partnerships, according to Stephany Fisher, the transit agency’s spokesperson.

As with apartments connected to the Avondale MARTA Station, and another TOD project in the works for Grant Park’s King Memorial Station, the Edgewood venture aims to erase underutilized parking while providing needed housing.

Project leaders updated Urbanize Atlanta this week on where all aspects of Edgewood Park stand. Have a look in the gallery above, or the photo tour below.

The site as MARTA parking lots in 2016. Before TOD work began, MARTA calculated that just 30 percent of parking spaces were being used daily. Google Maps

The first component to open in 2018, a partnership between Invest Atlanta and Columbia Ventures called Spoke, brought 200 apartments, with 10 percent reserved as affordable housing. Photos by Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

Spoke's eastern facade today overlooks Edgewood Park's public-accessible greenspace.

This new standalone building designed by Studio Sogo also overlooks the park. Columbia Ventures’ offices occupy the top 4,000 square feet, with another 4,000 square feet prepped below. “We think the ground floor may go about 25 percent coffee [shop] and 75 percent restaurant,” Dillon Baynes, a Columbia Ventures managing partner, tells Urbanize Atlanta.

Planned before the pandemic, the restaurant space includes a large, social distance-friendly patio and park frontage. "The benefit of this building is that somehow we got lucky and planned for operable windows, this before the pandemic," notes Baynes.

Retro lines help the centralized restaurant/office component stand out. One office space upstairs remains available.

Baynes says talks are ongoing with “great existing intown operators” to lease the restaurant and coffee shop spaces. “Both will capitalize on the giant outdoor dining opportunity out in front,” he says. “Both have interesting twists to their businesses that we can go into more detail on as things progress. I'd think in a month or two we can share more about these operators.”

Adjacent to the central building, as seen from the communal greenspace, this 21,000-square-foot building is owned by Moving In the Spirit, a creative youth development program established in Atlanta in 1986.

With its cantilevers and bold lines, the Perkins+Will-designed building has a modernistic bent that echos aspects of Spoke.

A fitting mural on the youth program's exterior wall.

As seen from La France Street, the "Space to Soar" building enabled Moving in the Spirit to double youth enrollment to 500, while providing a 150-seat theater inside. They call it the "community-arts anchor" of Edgewood Park.

Behind that building is a direct link to MARTA's Edgewood-Candler Park station.

The final phase, called Quill Apartments, is replacing the easternmost MARTA parking lots. It includes 208 rentals (55 of them deemed affordable) and a parking deck with 152 spaces reserved for MARTA customers. According to Fisher, it's scheduled to open in late summer this year.

Edgewood (Urbanize Atlanta) 

• Photos: Grant Park's 'Gateway' takes parking garages to next level (Urbanize Atlanta)