After three years of planning and almost another year of construction, a Midtown public-space enhancement project was officially unveiled this week that illustrates how small-scale urban design tweaks can enhance street vitality and livability.

Commercial Row Commons, an art-studded plaza, has reconfigured traffic lanes and eliminated street parking in a bustling section of Midtown where Peachtree Street meets Peachtree Place.

Changes include buried power lines, an eye-catching permanent sculpture, a plaza space with public seating and tables, a realigned intersection, enhanced landscaping, and subtracted parking spaces on both sides of the street. And birds—lots of arty little birds.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the intersection’s circa-1923 Commercial Row building housed what many considered the city’s finest boutique dress shop (Jean’s Dress Shop), in addition to popular restaurants—including the second Waffle House in the world, as Atlanta History Center CEO Sheffield Hale explained during this week’s ceremony.

Today the historically significant buildings host small businesses Savi Provisions market and Cafe Agora, in addition to the Atlanta History Center's Midtown campus. 

The plaza concept was put together by Midtown Alliance and the city’s Department of City Planning and Community Development, who alongside neighborhood stakeholders hosted several public meetings to determine how the block might be enhanced. Midtown Improvement District provided $1.26 million for the project's design and construction.

Head up to the gallery for a closer look.

Old Fourth Ward sculpture site to be transformed into arts park (Urbanize Atlanta)