By Guest Columnist JIM KEGLEY, a partner in 10th and Monroe, LLC, which intends to develop property along the Atlanta BeltLine at Piedmont Park
We have lived in Midtown for 15 years. We share our neighbors’ love of the residential area. We also share our fellow Atlantans’ ambitions for our city, particularly as they’ve been articulated in our most transformational vision for our future: The Atlanta BeltLine. The land in which we have invested near the intersection of 10th Street and Monroe Avenue represents an opportunity to express those values.
More than 20 years ago, we launched a technology company in metro Atlanta. We built that company, creating hundreds of jobs, and were fortunate to sell it in 2014. Since then, we have turned our entrepreneurial attention to how we can add value to communities via thoughtful and cutting edge development. None is more important to us than the opportunity at 10th and Monroe because it is a chance to get it right.
The BeltLine is transforming Atlanta. It is adding greenspace that brings Atlantans together and makes our lives healthier. The BeltLine is creating economic opportunity, particularly in neighborhoods that have experienced historic disinvestment. It is creating new mobility options – today with trails and one day with transit. And it is adding other value such as public art, which we know well from our longtime support of Art on the Atlanta BeltLine.
The BeltLine is also contributing to problems that every city faces – affordability and equity. But the project represents one of the greatest opportunities we have to address these challenges. That’s why we envision a redevelopment that will support adding new housing options – including 30 percent affordable. We also have an exciting opportunity to activate civic space in ways that we are still exploring. Offering more people – and a greater diversity of people – the chance to live, shop, eat and otherwise enjoy a great urban location requires greater density.
Greater density isn’t right in every location. But go to any great city’s greatest park and look around its periphery. You’ll see more dense development. (For that matter, go to 10th and Monroe and stand on the corner, turning in a circle to look in every direction. You’ll see a stadium, a retail center, a storage facility and some single-family homes.)
The key is for density for it to be developed appropriately, sensitively. We intend to do so recognizing that this site has three front doors: Facing Monroe Drive, a key Atlanta thoroughfare; Piedmont Park and the Atlanta Beltline; and the Virginia Highlands neighborhood on Cresthill Avenue. The redevelopment will appropriately engage each. In doing so, we can work with public partners to extend the public realm, improve mobility at the gateway to Piedmont Park and Midtown, and continue to attract investment and talent to Atlanta.
A development proposed at this site more than a decade ago was grossly out of scale and alignment with the surrounding neighborhood. It promised neither amenities to benefit the public nor activation of the public realm. The success of the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail has since made obvious the opportunity to redevelop this important location for our city. As you travel the Atlanta BeltLine from Glenwood Park to Inman Park to Historic Fourth Ward Park to our City’s crown jewel, Piedmont Park, the redevelopment of 10th & Monroe – this property and the surrounding area – is a clear next opportunity to realize the community’s vision. Now is the time to realize the energy of Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market at this key gateway for our city.
We are committed to working with Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and a broad range of stakeholders to ensure that the redevelopment of this property acts as a catalyst to extend northward the success of the Eastside Trail, improve the intersection at this gateway to Piedmont Park and Midtown, and create economic opportunity in Atlanta. With the appropriate plan, the site can also benefit the community by contributing 50 times greater revenue to support city, county and school services.
Tenth and Monroe is significant to the entire city. We look forward to a public process of engaging numerous stakeholders. In casting a larger net, we are sure to capture more ideas to ultimately drive a better outcome. We invite you to be a part of the process of making it all it can be for Atlanta.
Note to readers: Jim Kegley and Steve Bowen are partners in 10th and Monroe, LLC, the company planning to develop a site along the Atlanta BeltLine near Piedmont Park. This guest column is in response to Maria Saporta’s “Maria’s Metro” column that was posted on Jan. 29.