BeltLine’s Ryan Gravel forms his own firm – Sixpitch

By Maria Saporta

After spending more than seven years with the Perkins + Wills architectural firm, Ryan Gravel has decided to blaze his own trail once again.

Gravel is best known for writing his Master’s Thesis on a potential transformation of a 22-mile rail corridor surrounding central Atlanta – a project now known as the Atlanta BeltLine.

Ryan Gravel

Ryan Gravel

Gravel sent an email to his friends and associates Thursday saying he had formed his own firm – Sixpitch. 

“I’ve been chasing the Atlanta BeltLine for nearly 16 years, and today I’m excited to announce the next chapter in that journey – a new small consultancy called Sixpitch,” Gravel wrote in the email.

“It will allow me to be more agile in my chase to unlock the project’s potential, explore related challenges like equity, politics and regional vision, and also translate ideas from our story to a national audience.”

Gravel then encouraged folks to go to his website: www.ryangravel.com,                                                                                                        to watch an 11-second launch video on Sixpitch as well as read his latest blog post – “You deserve better infrastructure.”

Gravel had been an urban designer and senior associate with Perkins + Will since March 2008.

Ryan Gravel

Ryan Gravel’s Facebook profile photo of him sitting along the Atlanta BeltLine

He has been a regular speaker at events talking about how he started working on the concept of the BeltLine when he was a student at Georgia Tech.

In 1999 and 2000, Gravel sent copies of his idea to various City Council representatives, and then-City Council President Cathy Woolard became enamored with the idea.

After she left office, she encouraged Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin to take ownership of the development of the Atlanta BeltLine. Franklin formed the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership board that helped raise money for the endeavor, and the mayor also established a new public agency within the city called Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

When the opportunity became available, Franklin was able to get the city to acquire a key section of the BeltLine – the Eastside trail – from Gwinnett developer Wayne Mason.

Today, the city controls more than half of the 22-mile corridor. Gravel continues to be actively involved in the Atlanta BeltLine’s design and development issues.

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.

21 replies
  1. Burroughston Broch says:

    “Today, the city controls more than half of the 22-mile corridor.”

    Maria, I don’t believe this is correctt. The City controls only the small portion it bought from Wayne Mason. The majority is owned by GDOT, CSX, and Norfolk Southern, and the City has no control over them.Report

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  2. InfraredGuy says:

    Gravel is quite a visionary thinker, all that stands between the Beltline and completion is hundreds of millions of additional public debt, the APS giving up more revenues and the APD somehow keeping the gangs from setting up toll boothsReport

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  3. jamalA says:

    So, glad you’ve made a choice of avoidance much more pleasant to enjoy the future with one less pearl-clutcher’s limited world view in my way.. path to be appropriate. U0001f44dReport

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  4. InfraredGuy says:

    letmesaythis He sure is, on how to waste public money on a walking, biking trail when the streets, sidewalks and water/sewer systems of Atlanta are in disrepair but that is the Liberal mantraReport

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  5. InfraredGuy says:

    letmesaythis better to be angry than stupid, as Forrest Gump said ” Stupid is as Stupid does ” so goes the City Government of Atlanta with taxpayers money and bond debt.Report

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  6. gt7348b says:

    Burroughston Broch Hi – actually, the ABI / City has agreements that control the GDOT owned side of the westide trail as well as with the portion between Glenwood and Husley Yard. There’s also an agreement for transfer of control of the SE Segment from Glenwood South once the concrete plant closes – so yes – over half of the Beltline is under City control if not ownership at this time. The remaining segments, particularly the active CSX corridor in the NW between Donald Hollowell Parkway to Lindbergh and the NS Owned segment between Montgomery Ferry north to Lindbergh are going to be much more difficult for ABI/City of Atlanta to reach agreement upon with the current owners.Report

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  7. RegionMatters says:

    InfraredGuy hmmm I guess all of the construction of new apartments and mixed used construction this has brought to those areas is a waste. The Beltline spurred MOST of this development and more is on the books and it’s doubtful it would have been built without it. Isn’t growth a Conservative’s mantra, or when it happens in a “liberal bastion it doesn’t count? I think Conservatives, and you may or may not be one, are afraid of intown areas and transit because your (grand)children are attracted to these areas all over the country. And, well, you know what happens when they move into “those” areas. they mix with all types of furneners (foreigners) and diverse population, then next they start voting Democratic and well there goes the next generation conservatives.Report

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  8. InfraredGuy says:

    RegionMatters I am not worried about Atlanta becoming a ” Bastion ” of Liberal residents, it already is mostly, as for the the young moving into ” those areas ” and becoming Liberals, here’s how it really works, they move in and after several years of having their cars stolen, their homes or apartments broken into, being accosted and robbed on the streets and paying the highest water/sewer rates in the country they decide to have kids and say ” We can’t send little Johnny/Susie to the APS ” they start the process of becoming OTP leaving the low information crowd behind.Report

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  9. RegionMatters says:

    InfraredGuy  RegionMatters You’re living in the past. Crime is at an all time low, I’ve never been “accosted” in Midtown or Buckhead and just annoyed Downtown. Besides Atlanta’s next Mayor will either be White or Rachel Dolezal, Also, there are some really great schools in APS and by the time they have kids there are plenty of options. This is a whole new generation my friend and your kind and it’s hate & fearmongering will be left in the dust, literally and this world will be a better place.Report

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  10. InfraredGuy says:

    RegionMatters Tell the families of the two guys shot down in cold blood in Little 5 points or the families of the people shot on a nightly basis in Southwest Atlanta or the folks whose cars are routinely broken into at various apartment complexes or the families whose houses are routinely ransacked by home invaders that crime is down and everything is peachy but before you do that you will need to wipe the sand off your face.Report

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  11. RegionMatters says:

    InfraredGuy  RegionMatters an·ec·do·tal. look it up. You haven’t supplied any data, much like your friends at Fox. I could list many sources, but you can’t handle the truth. It would be nice to have civil discourse, but continue to live in your bubble and watch as the world changes around you, perhaps that is why ya’ll are so angry.Report

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  12. InfraredGuy says:

    RegionMatters Angry ? not me I don’t live in the City and never plan to nor do any of my relatives, as for you and your sources, there is a old saying that goes like this ” Figures can lie and liars can figure ” so much for your ” many sources ”  The Beltline will never be completed because the public money which is the primary source of financing is drying up and the Beltline will at some point become just another Underground, a ” rescue ” project for the City that fails. Now if Reed can somehow figure how to screw the APS again on their revenue source like he has already done, maybe he will extend the lie that is the Beltline a little longer. In the meantime the Atlanta news networks will continue to show the real life world of crime and and defenders of the rose colored glass society like yourself will deny that anything is wrong while dodging the potholes ( if you drive ) and pay those sky high water/sewage rates along with all the other City taxes just hope you can also dodge the career criminals that roam the City looking for victims. Go ride the StreetCar, it’s so popular that it’s free at least until the cars start being parked because of lack of maintenance.Report

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  13. atlman says:

    InfraredGuy  RegionMatters

    Since you hate the city and the people who live there so much, why bother commenting on this site in the first place? Especially since your “facts” are wrong. For instance, Underground is DECADES old, and ceased being vital because other metro area loosened their liquor laws. The city tried a couple of times to revitalize it, failed, and is now selling it to developers who will place condos and a grocery store (likely Kroger) there, which will convert Underground from being a failed eyesore into a tax revenue generating area. The same will occur with other money-losing areas such as the Civic Center and Turner Field: sold off to developers (and in the case of Turner Field to Georgia State University also). 

    Second, yes there is crime in Atlanta, just like there is crime in every major city. (And there is also crime in many suburban areas like Cobb and Gwinnett.) It doesn’t deter people from moving and living in places like Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, New York City, Miami etc. You know, places with much higher incomes than your suburb. Atlanta is trying to become more like those places and is having success, which includes but is not limited to attracting tens of thousands of IT and other high paying jobs to the city in the last 5 years alone, as well as attracting 35,000 new residents.

    http://www.myajc.com/news/census-cities/

    Going back to the crime thing, crime rates in Atlanta are lower now than they were in the 1970s, mostly because of the doubling of the size of the police department during Kasim Reed’s tenure. As far as “so much for your ” many sources ”  … one of those is the Republican columnist for the AJC, Kyle Wingfield, as even he admits that Midtown, downtown and other parts of Atlanta are economically booming, and did so in a column where he criticized the street car. 

    You see, you inhabit one reality, where urban areas cannot possibly be anything but dysfunctional because they are majority nonwhite and elect majority nonwhite leaders. In other words, your segregationist Jim Crow reality disguised with Republican Party politics. But in the other reality – the one that actually exists – over half the country lives in urban areas, and urban areas are where most of the vital educational and job markets are. Further, the percentage of America that lives in urban areas is INCREASING as more people are moving from rural and suburban areas to urban ones. So, your world only exists on talk radio and conservative blogs and websites. In the actual world, the suburbanization trend peaked during the George H. W. Bush years but then collapsed when gas prices rose, the economy went into a depression, the economy began to become reoriented towards tech, healthcare and service jobs etc. So this idea that the folks who are moving in the city are going to start moving away because of crime … it hasn’t happened in San Francisco, Denver, Seattle etc. and it won’t happen in Atlanta either, because the vast majority of people moving to Atlanta now are people moving there from other urban areas like the west coast and the northeast. If you are moving from Philadelphia, D.C. or Manhattan to Midtown, reading about muggings and robberies in the newspaper isn’t going to send you scurrying to Forsyth because there are already plenty of that where you came from. 

    Bottom line: Atlanta is not going to confirm your Jim Crow wishes by becoming the next Detroit. Instead, the city is better off financially than it has been in decades – its budget is running surpluses and they are adding to their reserve funds. The city is adding and improving infrastructure left and right. And it is adding employers and residents. This will accelerate, not slow down, as the national economy improves, as well as when a lot of the big construction projects like the former Sears Building (which a lot of healthcare and IT companies are moving into) and the other major construction projects get finished. 

    So 10 years from now, you are going to switch from claiming that Atlanta is going down the tubes to claiming that Georgia’s Republican governors saved the city in spite of itself. You don’t live in the city … I do, and right near two Beltline parks. They are PACKED with new residents – families – who bike all over the place, and are either buying up the condos or buying up old houses and fixing them up. But then again, I only live in the city so I have no idea what I am talking about based on what I see every day when I look out my front window and drive to work every day. Your vantage point is much more reliable and accurate right?Report

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  14. atlman says:

    @gt7348b Burroughston Broch

    Ignore him. He and InfraredGuy are part of the “Atlanta will fail because of its demographics and leaders” chorus. When you show him facts that incontrovertibly undermine his negativism, he will either A) shift the goal posts, B) shift the argument entirely or B) disappear and continue his muckracking on another thread.Report

    Reply
  15. letmesaythis says:

    FYI InfaredGuy haunts various blogs and post annoying inciteful banter. His game is to incite for no point whatsoever.  I have made it a habit to ignore his crud ..except for >this< exception.Report

    Reply

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