Downtown’s freeway-capping Stitch project might be two years away from breaking ground, give or take, but planning for large-scale development and transit improvements around it is well underway.

The Atlanta Downtown Improvement District has collaborated with MARTA to study the potential of transit-oriented development and a new, streamlined off-street bus transfer facility around the Civic Center station downtown.

The MARTA station is located near the western boundary of the 14-acre Stitch concept, which secured a pivotal $157 million in federal funding last month to get its initial phase off the ground. At least one private development is already percolating in the immediate area.

What the study identified as Site A between the Connector, MARTA station, and Twelve Centennial Park tower. Atlanta Downtown Improvement District/MARTA

How the MARTA rail hub is expected to eventually mesh with the Connector-capping Stitch project. Atlanta Downtown Improvement District/MARTA

According to ADID, the project team finished an “exhaustive analysis” of possible sites to place the bus facility—each with ¼ mile of the transit hub—and to build another TOD adjacent to MARTA.

Collectively it’s called the Civic Center Station Transit Revitalization Study, and the final report was prepared last month. The goal is to “guide the future development of the Civic Center station area by promoting accessibility, multimodal connectivity, and vibrant urban growth,” per the analysis.

In addition to MARTA rail, the station serves a full network of regional bus operators, including Ride Gwinnett, Emory University’s system, Xpress, and CobbLinc.

The study looked at the potential for weaving a new bus-transfer facility into mixed-use development that would rise adjacent to the MARTA station, providing a more efficient end point for bus lines that terminate there. (Three potential scenarios are highlighted below.)

Where MARTA's Civic Center station meets West Peachtree Street today. Atlanta Downtown Improvement District/MARTA

Given its proximity to the Stitch and multiple transit options, the studied area “holds immense potential for growth and revitalization… [as a] unique opportunity to leverage transit infrastructure as a catalyst for economic development and community enhancement,” the analysis concludes.

The TOD component might already have a potential suitor on the line.  

It came to light last summer that early discussions were underway for building a 260-key, mixed-use Hilton hotel project at a vacant parcel (identified in the study as “Site A”) adjacent to the MARTA station in question, to include affordable housing units catered toward healthcare workers at nearby Emory facilities.

That roughly 1-acre site is located between Ted Turner Drive and West Peachtree Street, in the shadow of the 39-story Twelve Centennial Park hotel and condos. That building, completed in 2007, was intended to have a twin tower of equal height before the Great Recession squashed those plans.

Below is a quick summary of potential plans for a new off-site bus transfer facility at the doorstep of MARTA and the Stitch site:

The bus transfer facility's Horseshoe Alternative would be located within Site A. It would include a bus loop with space for roughly five bus bays.Atlanta Downtown Improvement District/MARTA

The larger Overbuild option would extend from Site A across the Connector, providing space for nine bus bays. Atlanta Downtown Improvement District/MARTA

This option would be designed for minimal impacts to Site A, with about four bus bays. The project team is also exploring a fourth alternative that would improve the existing bus transfer facility a block north of the station. Atlanta Downtown Improvement District/MARTA


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