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Atlanta BeltLine picks design team for 22-mile corridor

By Maria Saporta

Atlanta BeltLine Inc. has selected a design team for the 22-mile BeltLine Corridor.

The design team will be led by Perkins+Will, including Leo Alvarez, John Threadgill and Ryan Gravel, who proposed the BeltLine project as part of his graduate thesis at Georgia Tech; and the firm of James Corner Field Operations, which recently completed the design of the High Line in New York City.

They were selected as part of a competitive bidding process that had received interest from dozens of architectural and design firms.

The board of Atlanta BeltLine Inc. selected the design team at its meeting earlier today. The design team will be charged with presenting a look for the BeltLine and establish the basis for all future BeltLine design and construction.

“A public space like that envisioned by the BeltLine, with pedestrian-friendly rail transit, trails, green space and abutting development in one corridor does not exist today in Atlanta or any other city in the United States,” Atlanta BeltLine CEO Brian Leary said in a statement. “By creating a design which will integrate all of the BeltLine’s components in a comprehensive way, we are building the BeltLine’s foundation.”

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the BeltLine is being viewed “as a model for smart growth and urban redevelopment” in the United States. “The selection of this world-class team to design the BeltLine corridor is a great step forward for one of the most significant projects in our city’s history,” Reed said in a statement.

Atlanta BeltLine Inc. believes the design process will help increase the project’s eligibility for federal funds and advance permanent trail projects to the point of being shovel ready.

The scope of the contract will include civil and structural engineering, surveys, utilities, streetscapes, landscape design, trails transit, stations, bridges, tunnels, historic preservation, public art locations and signage.

The design team includes 19 firms, and the total contract can not exceed $9.5 million. The BeltLine is a 22-mile ring that encircles intown Atlanta mostly along inactive rail corridors.

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.



  1. Mason Hicks February 11, 2010 5:56 am

    This is great news, Maria!
    Having had the privilege of working with Perkins + Will for nine months last year, I know them very well and I completely respect and admire their work. They are at the very forefront of sustainable design in the US. I also couldn’t be more delighted for Ryan Gravel. This project has been his life for a decade now. He truly deserves this. James Corner Field Operations is a great choice for project design partner. Their design on the New York High Line is a wonderful model for integrating industrial infrastructure into the public realm. My congratulations go out to the Atlanta Beltline Partnership, as well as to all the people who have advocated and volunteered their time to help bring the Beltline to reality. The selection of the designer is a significant milepost in bringing a project to fruition. I’m expecting wonderful things for the Beltline and the City of Atlanta.Report

  2. ATL February 11, 2010 9:04 am

    Truly excellent news for Atlanta– At long last quality of design and innovation win out over politics and who knows who—
    This is a win for everyone…Report


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