MARTA seeks partner to expand its Lindbergh Center Station; work to start in 2018

By David Pendered

MARTA plans to begin the second phase of development at its Lindbergh Center Station in 2018 with a grand opening as early as 2020. Some buildings along Piedmont Road could be as high as 225 feet, or about 20 stories, under current zoning.

MARTA TOD, old shoney's site

MARTA intends to develop a mixed use, transit oriented development at Lindbergh Center Station. The site includes the area that once served as a Shoney’s restaurant and now is under a tent. Construction could begin in 2018 and be complete in 2020. Credit: David Pendered

MARTA intends to form a partnership to develop two sites it owns near its headquarters. One faces Piedmont Road and a Shoney’s restaurant once stood there. The other is adjacent to MARTA’s headquarters and has a small building that once housed MARTA’s police department.

The development site covers 1.2 acres: 0.87 acres at 2562 Piedmont Road; and 0.33 acres at 572 Morosgo Road. The sites are separated by a corner lot that houses a pub and remains privately owned.

A market analysis conducted for MARTA outlined a number of projects that could be incorporated into the planned mixed use development. Various ideas cited in MARTA’s request for proposals include:

  • 215-235 apartment units annually for some period of time;
  • 40 to 45 condo units annually, with prices ranging up to about $300,000 and averaging from $200,000 to $225,000;
  • Up to 121,500 square feet of new office space through 2020;
  • A smaller scale specialty or discount grocery store, or a chain drug store;
  • Restaurants;

    MARTA has asked developers to recommend projects that could be built on the two sites shaded purple on this map. The property facing Piedmont Road remains privately owned and once had a Shoney's restaurant. The property facing Morosgo Drive is owned by MARTA and houses a small building. Credit: MARTA

    MARTA has asked developers to recommend projects that could be built on the two sites shaded purple on this map. The property facing Piedmont Road remains privately owned and once had a Shoney’s restaurant. The property facing Morosgo Drive is owned by MARTA and houses a small building. Credit: MARTA

  • 400 rooms in a hotel in the limited- or select service category.

The deadline for responses to the RFP is Jan. 23. After that, MARTA will conduct its usual process of vetting the proposals and the developers, or joint ventures, that submitted the proposals.

Amanda Rhein, MARTA’s senior director of transit oriented development and real estate, said in an email the staff review will culminate in MARTA’s board of directors selecting a developer or joint venture. At that point, the developer is to create a final design and ensure financing is in place.

Once MARTA’s board approves the development plan, construction is expected to begin in 2018. Construction is expected to last 18 months to 24 months. That timeline could be extended or shortened by any number of factors, according to Rhein.

Lindbergh City Center was the launch pad for MARTA’s program of transit oriented development. It was big news at a time metro Atlanta was facing mounting criticism for tailpipe exhaust and some of the longest home-to-work commutes in the country.

In a ballyhooed move that drew kudos from then Gov. Roy Barnes, BellSouth announced in 1999 it would plant its corporate flag atop office buildings at Lindbergh City Center. BellSouth’s Metro Plan called for the telecom to relocate more than 10,000 employees from scattered sites in the suburbs to three nodes along MARTA’s rail line.

MARTA TOD, pub

MARTA still holds hope that this site can become part of the Lindbergh City Center. Owners have declined to sell the land and the building now provides the Kompass Rose pub. Credit: David Pendered

The first phase brought construction of 208,000 square feet of retail space; 1 million square feet of office, and 715 residential units, according to the current RFP.

This first phase of development at Lindbergh transformed the Piedmont Road corridor in Buckhead. It sparked the redevelopment of the old Lindbergh Plaza and spurred construction of several apartment complexes.

The project represented a major cultural shift in development patterns in Atlanta. It secured a foothold for the back-to-the-city trend that has persisted since the late 1990s. A case can be made that development along the Atlanta BeltLine may not have taken place so quickly if the Lindbergh had not proved the appetite in Atlanta for dense development along an alternative transit system.

MARTA launched its TOD program at Lindbergh in 1997. It had a number of objectives, not the least of which was raising money to help run the transit system.

MARTA TOD lindbergh, pedestrian experience map

MARTA hopes to improve the flow of pedestrians to shops along Main Street the Lindbergh Center Station Transit Oriented Development. One way would be to allow apartments to be built in areas now reserved for office buildings. Credit: MARTA

MARTA owns a fairly substantial amount of land near its rail stations that was not producing income. MARTA’s board, headed by civil rights leader Joseph Lowery, determined that MARTA could lease its land for development and use proceeds to maintain and operate the transit system.

In 2010, MARTA’s board adopted a framework for expanding its TOD program. The three over-arching goals include:

  • “To generate greater transit ridership which is a natural consequence of clustering mixed-use development around stations and along corridors;
  • “To promote a sustainable, affordable and growing future for the people of Metro Atlanta;
  • “To generate a return on MARTA’s transit investment – through enhanced passenger revenues, greater federal support, and, where applicable, development on MARTA property.”

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

6 replies
  1. Brianna Rindge says:

    Hopefully this will do something to the constant crime committed at the Anchor bar on the corner & the gas station across the street! Also we def don’t need a discount grocery store – we just got a shiny new Kroger!!Report

    Reply
  2. Ben Bryant says:

    I don’t think they really know what they’re doing. Right now they are demolishing the parking area of the Avondale station to build some kind of “mixed use” development project. Looks like they’re trying to tap into being on the edge of Decatur without being in Decatur.Report

    Reply
  3. mikeleeph12 says:

    It’s inexcusable that so many spaces have sat vacant for years around Lindbergh MARTA.  I’ve seen a few open and close over the years, the Chicago pizza place, My Panini and now Five Guys.  This place isn’t working at all.  No one wants to patronize these businesses and pay for parking.  Nice how they gave the Dunkin Donuts separate parking access.  Perhaps they just want to bring in more high-priced apartments.  I don’t know why anyone would pay for them since there’s hardly anything to do around there.Report

    Reply

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