MARTA seeks to develop small site at Peachtree Center Station, near ATL Streetcar

By David Pendered

MARTA is looking for a partner to develop a plum of a property, a sliver of land in Downtown Atlanta that provides ready access to the Atlanta Streetcar and MARTA’s Peachtree Center Station.

MARTA Peachtree Center Station

MARTA’s Peachtree Center Station in Downtown Atlanta is located 120 feet below ground. MARTA is seeking a development partner to work on a project near one street-level opening. Credit: David Pendered

The Peachtree Center Station now is ranked as MARTA’s fourth-busiest rail station. MARTA reports the station accounts for about 8,217 average weekly boardings.

MARTA is providing broad terms and a 99-year ground lease to develop the site, which measures about 7,600 square feet of space that can be developed. The tract faces Peachtree Street at the intersection of Carnegie Way and Forsyth Street.

The request for proposals MARTA released calls for the developer to incorporate the existing entrance of the station. The development is to provide a high-quality transit oriented development, which MARTA defines as one that increases MARTA’s income through ground leases and increased ridership.

Regardless of the actual boardings at the station, the Peachtree Center Station is located at the heart of Atlanta’s Central Business District. It’s conveniently located to high rise office buildings and the hotel district, as well as Woodruff Park, which is in the midst of a renewal effort.

If any housing is developed at the site, MARTA intends to ensure that 20 percent of the units are priced at rates affordable to those earning 80 percent of the area median income, which translate to about the salary of a school teacher. The RFP notes: “Special consideration will be given to firms who submit proposals which exceed this goal.”

MARTA Peachtree Center Station

The gateways to the Peachtree Center Station have become resting points for some who spend time in Downtown Atlanta. Credit: David Pendered

Of note, MARTA has stipulated that the project must not be contingent upon the use of any public financing. This is a break from some past projects, in which MARTA offered to help the proponent navigate Invest Atlanta, the city’s development arm, and other providers to obtain project financing. MARTA has offered to perform those chores in this project, but observed that public financing cannot be an essential component of the mix.

MARTA’s profile of the station observes the station is located in a dense urban community:

  • “About 72 percent of the land within a half mile of the station is dedicated to commercial uses. The commercial uses are comprised of office, retail, and restaurants uses. There are several parks and other attractions in the area such as Centennial Olympic Park, Woodruff Park, Georgia Aquarium, and the New World of Coca Cola. Residential in the area is composed of a mixture of high end condominiums and student housing such as Techwood apartments.”

The site certainly tilts toward a project that caters to young singles. A demographic snapshot provided by MARTA shows that 25 percent of the region is comprised of Gen Y, those aged 18 years to 34 years; singles account for 82 percent of the region’s demographics. The region’s population soared by 78 percent from 2000 to 2012, according to MARTA’s reports.

Average household income is $25,249 for the region’s 6,646 residents, as of 2012 and within a half-mile of the station. The average price of an apartment within a mile of the station is $1,105.

MARTA’s profile burrows into the demographic nature of the surrounding business district and observes the station’s business demographics include:

  • Employees – 82,168;
  • Avg. Office Rent Per Square Foot – $17.90
  • Avg. Retail Rent Per Square Foot – $21.96
  • Avg. Apartment Rent, within a 1-mile radius – $1,105.

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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