New transit oriented development underway at Chamblee MARTA Station

By Maria Saporta

The City of Chamblee got another development boost Wednesday when MARTA held the official ground-breaking ceremony for the $25 million Trackside Project.

Parkside Partners, under the leadership of Kyle Jenks, is developing an office building with 80,000 square feet of office space and 13,000 square feet of retail. The first phase will house the headquarters of Pattillo Industrial Real Estate, and it is expected to open in May, 2018. The project is known as Trackside.

Trackside and parkside

Trackside development will house new headquarters for Pattillo Industrial Real Estate (Rendering: Parkside Partners)

Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson said the concept to redevelop the area around the Chamblee MARTA Station began with a Livable Communities Initiatives planning grant provided by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Then Parkside was awarded the TOD from MARTA, but there were delays partly due to environmental issues on the site.

“Things worth having are worth waiting for because we waited and waited and waited,” Clarkson said. Now several developments are underway or completed within a couple of blocks from the transit station, including the Mercy Care Chamblee Clinic and housing next door to where Wednesday’s event was held.

Keith Parker, general manager and CEO of MARTA, said that when he first came to Atlanta, he sought additional funding for only two areas – a more robust external affairs effort and a new TOD initiative.

“I knew we could really capitalize on these rail stations and capitalize on the parking lot availability,” Parker said, adding that the agency has been pursuing partnerships ever since. “We have got a lot more to do.”

Chamblee Mayor Clarkson and Keith Parker

Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson and MARTA CEO Keith Parker at the ground-breaking on May 10 (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Josh Harrison, chief operating officer and chief financial officer for Pattillo Industrial, said the industrial real estate company began looking for a new headquarters site about two-and-a-half years.

“We are pretty pumped to be here,’ Harrison said. “But there were days when we questioned the viability of the project, and there were days we even questioned our sanity.”

But in the end, Harrison said they wanted to be in Chamblee because it is “a city on the right track.” He said Pattillo usually develops its industrial buildings in more rural areas, so it was quite different to have to consider the interests of city residents living in townhomes who want amenities like a dog park and multipurpose trails.

“We are really excited to be on the leading edge of this TOD,” Harrison said, adding they could have found an easier way to lease 15,000 square feet. “Pattillo doesn’t do easy. We create things.’

Mayor Clarkson said Chamblee held off on several potential developments because it did not believe they would best for the area.

“We want it to be top quality,” Clarkson said. “We want to do what we can do to get this station to be more pedestrian friendly.”

Trackside

New Trackside development is under construction near the Chamblee MARTA Station (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Trackside groundbreaking

MARTA’s Keith Parker introduces a couple of board meetings at the ground-breaking ceremony (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Trackside

New residential is going up just west of the Trackside development (Photo by Maria Saporta)

trackside groundbreaking

Official groundbreaking at Trackside development with the various partners and confetti (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Chamblee also was the site of the first Walmart in Atlanta with underground parking (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Chamblee also was the site of the first Walmart in Atlanta with underground parking (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Amanda Rhein

Amanda Rhein, MARTA’s senior director of transit oriented development, leaves the groundbreaking – traveling on MARTA with shovel in hand (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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