The Gulch: Consultants line up for contract to rebuild MARTA’s Five Points Station
By David Pendered
MARTA has started the process of transforming the Five Points Station into a transportation hub to serve the planned mini city to be built at The Gulch.
The contract to tear down and rebuild the station could prove to be incredibly competitive. The work is being paid for with proceeds of the More MARTA 0.5% sales tax.
Nearly 120 representatives of the biggest names in facilities and mobility construction attended a March 24 pre-bid conference hosted by MARTA, according to a sign-in sheet. April 19 is the deadline for companies to submit their statement of qualifications. A handful of the companies who sent representatives include:
- Integral Consulting Engineering
- Lord Aeck Sargent
- Perkins and Will
- Portman Architects
- Sizemore Group
- Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates, Inc.
The task is enormous. Just two complexities include:
- The retrofitted station is to provide for Broad Street to be reopened and a span added over the rebuilt station, in order to increase connectivity on the west side of Peachtree Street. Broad Street now ends at the northern end of the station, where it turns from a street into a pedestrian plaza between Marietta Street and the transit station.
- The station is to remain open during demolition and construction.
The station is to be fully functional by the time of the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The station will be a centerpiece of mobility for the potential crowds if Atlanta is selected as one of U.S. host cities. Atlanta submitted its formal bid for the event in December 2020.
That was before Major League Baseball withdrew this year’s All Star game from the Braves’ ballpark in Cobb County to protest Georgia’s newly enacted law regarding voting procedures. The future of other major events in the region and state is unclear. The Masters Tournament is continuing this week at Augusta National.
Meanwhile, MARTA confirmed Tuesday that it intends for the soccer field to reopen inside the Five Points Station after construction. MARTA is looking into possible off-site alternatives for play during the construction period.
MARTA has been an enthusiastic supporter of Soccer in the Streets, which provides organized soccer play for youngsters. Transit stations serve as the home base for teams, and the competitive league is slated to resume later this summer as COVID-19 allows. The Five Points Station hosts a StationSoccer pitch, said to be the world’s only soccer field inside a transit station.
The major challenge in the retrofitting project is dealing with the massive canopy that covers the structure and is embedded in the rock beneath the station. This is how MARTA described the engineering challenge:
- “The canopy structural system is comprised of a system of concrete beams in four levels with the Drum being a major structural feature. It is a circular post-tensioned concrete element located at the center of the canopy structure and consists of sixteen individual pieces with a diameter of sixty-eight feet. The entire roof system is supported on four, eight-foot by eight-foot reinforced concrete columns that are socketed into bedrock at the Station’s foundation level below.
- “The project involves removal of the canopy without impacting the rail and/or bus operations and subsequently the creation of a new structure to support and facilitate the reintroduction of Broad Street as a through street, as well as prepare for a future Transit Oriented Development (“TOD”).
- “Additionally, MARTA would like to use this opportunity to enhance the Station’s appeal to its patrons and become a positive part of the downtown urban fabric.”