By David Pendered
Proposed developments at three MARTA stations are so hot that they could start in a matter of months, according to MARTA records.
The proposals involve the stations of Avondale, Chamblee and King Memorial. Each proposal has “advanced to the point of the board’s decision/action and could be put into action this summer or early fall,” records show.
MARTA can’t wait for a consultant to be hired in May to handle the proposals. Instead, MARTA seeks to hire a consultant to work on these projects over the next 60 to 90 days. Bids for the consulting position close March 25.
Whatever proposals may exist for transit oriented developments evidently have progressed very quickly. There is nothing in the bid documents for a planning consultant that indicates details of the proposed developments.
MARTA posted the short-term consulting contract on March 14 and bids close on March 25. The application form calls for a bare-bone response.
Companies are asked to provide a price proposal, resume, proposed approach to the job, client references, and related experience. Of the experience, the form states: “exhaustive lists of projects not desired or needed.”
MARTA intends to use the short-term consultant to handle a number of tasks that – for whatever reason – cannot be delayed until a long-term consultant is hired in May. Bids for the long-term consulting contract closed Jan. 23.
The language used in the solicitations MARTA posted indicate how quickly the timeline for development has unfolded.
This is how MARTA described the position of long-term TOD consultant in a bid request last autumn:
- “Perform professional planning and technical services on an ‘as needed’ basis to support the development and implementation of various transit planning studies and or projects.”
This is how MARTA described some tasks of the short-term position:
- “Provide a real estate and financial assessment (in MARTA’s interest) of existing TOD proposals and actions that are time sensitive (i.e., Avondale, Martin Luther King, and Chamblee) and have advanced to the point of the Board’s decision/action and could be put into action this summer or early fall. This effort may include assisting in the development of Request for Proposals or Agreements to be issued in these efforts as well as helping with supplementing a list of potential Proponents.
- “Conduct a quantitative assessment of the benefits and disadvantages of how MARTA secures partners to build its TODs, through exclusive agreements with MARTA’s jurisdictions or competitive bids. This may involve the development of criteria and guidelines to be used to assist the decision.”
The three stations – Avondale, Chamblee, King Memorial – were identified as being in the advanced stages of TOD review in the Jan. 30 report that described the development opportunities at 10 transit stations.
The report was prepared by the Bleakly Advisory Group and presented to the Atlanta TOD Collaborative, which is a group of organizations, including the ARC and Livable Communities Coalition, that want to prepare for the next wave of TOD projects by completing the foundation studies during the soft development market.
The report focused on 10 stations that lend themselves to development. The report determined that about 325 acres of land are available around the 10 stations. They could be prepared for TODs with relatively small investments in improvements involving pedestrian access, traffic calming and public spaces.
MARTA’s TOD program came of age when the Lindbergh City Center mixed use community opened on MARTA-owned land around the Lindbergh Station. The development now includes more than 1 million square feet of office space and some 700 residential units.