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Old 07-29-2013, 09:44 AM
 
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Midtown is the best planned neighborhood in the city. When businesses voluntarily tax themselves for neighborhood improvements you know its serious, and its allowed Midtown Alliance to pour millions into improvements.

This includes current projects totaling $82 million Midtown Alliance Capital Improvements Update - Around Town - Midtown, GA Patch

I generally get the idea that many on this board with these strong opinions don't actually live in Midtown. From signage to types of trees on up they have a master plan. If your around midtown you have noticed the bike lanes, all the places they have added mediums and taken out lanes to become more pedestrian friendly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MDAllstar View Post
Does Midtown Atlanta have a master plan? If so, could someone post it. I wondered if the area had a master plan that is directing development because it doesn't seem like it does based on the development. The area seems to lack a plan that will facilitate the success of retail and pedestrian movement throughout the area. It's the main reason retail has failed so much around Midtown. There is no support in pedestrian movement or development cohesion to keep people patronizing retail in the neighborhood. It's sad because I believe it has been a major missed opportunity for the premiere neighborhood in Atlanta. Sure at full build out this won't be a problem, but you have to help the businesses now which are struggling for foot traffic.



It reminds me a lot of the White Flint neighborhood in the D.C. suburbs which is also being built from parking lots and the ground up. Midtown would be better suited to develop like White Flint's master planned area so all the development happens in a cohesive manner which will allow retail to sustain.
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDAllstar View Post
Does Midtown Atlanta have a master plan? If so, could someone post it. I wondered if the area had a master plan that is directing development because it doesn't seem like it does based on the development. The area seems to lack a plan that will facilitate the success of retail and pedestrian movement throughout the area. It's the main reason retail has failed so much around Midtown. There is no support in pedestrian movement or development cohesion to keep people patronizing retail in the neighborhood. It's sad because I believe it has been a major missed opportunity for the premiere neighborhood in Atlanta. Sure at full build out this won't be a problem, but you have to help the businesses now which are struggling for foot traffic.
Others have largely answered your question about a development plan, but regarding the lack of retail success I think the problem isn't that Midtown is too auto-dependent, it's that the rest of metro Atlanta--where the ~99% of the population that doesn't live in Midtown lives--is too auto-dependent.

You talked about how any premier urban neighborhood ought to be extremely difficult to park in. Midtown isn't there yet, but it has the perception in Atlanta as being difficult for parking and suburbanites thus avoid it for shopping. There are just far more convenient places to drive your car to and shop than Midtown, where parking is a moderate hassle. In DC, Philly, New York, SF, etc, large swathes of the population live in areas that aren't car-focused and their retail needs are served well by non-car-focused districts. But not so in Atlanta.

In contrast, for nightlife and entertainment, people seem to have a lot more tolerance for difficult parking situations. And that's where Midtown is thriving: the nightlife and restaurant activity clustered at 10th and Piedmont, leading over to Peachtree and up through Crescent is thriving, and no doubt the most concentrated in Atlanta. Midtown is the foremost place to "go out", whatever that may mean to any particular person, across the whole city.

I would vote that Midtown continues to pursue nightlife and entertainment uses and doesn't focus so much on destination retail. Boutiques are nice and all, but for retail I mainly want more day-to-day stuff, notably a second major grocery store. I'd take a Whole Foods at 11th & Crescent over a dozen boutiques and destination shops.

When I need to buy stuff, I either borrow my girlfriend's car and head to one of the many shopping centers within a few miles of Midtown, or take MARTA to Lenox Station, where retail of all types abounds. The lack of destination retail is low on the list of QOL gripes I have about Midtown.
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by testa50 View Post
Others have largely answered your question about a development plan, but regarding the lack of retail success I think the problem isn't that Midtown is too auto-dependent, it's that the rest of metro Atlanta--where the ~99% of the population that doesn't live in Midtown lives--is too auto-dependent.

You talked about how any premier urban neighborhood ought to be extremely difficult to park in. Midtown isn't there yet, but it has the perception in Atlanta as being difficult for parking and suburbanites thus avoid it for shopping. There are just far more convenient places to drive your car to and shop than Midtown, where parking is a moderate hassle. In DC, Philly, New York, SF, etc, large swathes of the population live in areas that aren't car-focused and their retail needs are served well by non-car-focused districts. But not so in Atlanta.

In contrast, for nightlife and entertainment, people seem to have a lot more tolerance for difficult parking situations. And that's where Midtown is thriving: the nightlife and restaurant activity clustered at 10th and Piedmont, leading over to Peachtree and up through Crescent is thriving, and no doubt the most concentrated in Atlanta. Midtown is the foremost place to "go out", whatever that may mean to any particular person, across the whole city.

I would vote that Midtown continues to pursue nightlife and entertainment uses and doesn't focus so much on destination retail. Boutiques are nice and all, but for retail I mainly want more day-to-day stuff, notably a second major grocery store. I'd take a Whole Foods at 11th & Crescent over a dozen boutiques and destination shops.

When I need to buy stuff, I either borrow my girlfriend's car and head to one of the many shopping centers within a few miles of Midtown, or take MARTA to Lenox Station, where retail of all types abounds. The lack of destination retail is low on the list of QOL gripes I have about Midtown.

I can agree with your points for the current state of Midtown. The missed opportunity in my opinion was the lack of concentration from the beginning. Granted mass development is not always an option, I believe it's the only way to facilitate retail in massive ground up redevelopment like Midtown or the area I mentioned before White Flint. There are just too few people when piece meal development happens in an underdeveloped area. Retail companies are taking a huge risk locating in those types of areas. Entertainment clusters like you see in Midtown which foster success is the same blueprint for retail clusters also and I think Midtown missed the boat on making buildings from the beginning focus retail so a retail district could be born. Imagine all the retail in Atlantic Station being built at the bottom of the Midtown towers concentrated in a few blocks. That is an absolute missed opportunity but Midtown will be ok in the long term, it's just hard during the growing process and the damage is already done from failed practice in the past.

In the long run, Midtown needs to position itself to shift the retail front into the core and out of the Malls. I know this will prove hard for Atlanta, but vibrant retail is an essential component for an urban core.


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Old 07-29-2013, 10:59 AM
 
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It should be pointed out that it was Midtown Alliance's plan for most of the midtown mile to be retail with restaurants pushed off to the other streets, but with the recession that is not what happened and of course landlords just wanted to fill space. It has been impressive this year how much retail and businesses of all types have come in and filled spaces.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MDAllstar View Post
I can agree with your points for the current state of Midtown. The missed opportunity in my opinion was the lack of concentration from the beginning. Granted mass development is not always an option, I believe it's the only way to facilitate retail in massive ground up redevelopment like Midtown or the area I mentioned before White Flint. There are just too few people when piece meal development happens in an underdeveloped area. Retail companies are taking a huge risk locating in those types of areas. Entertainment clusters like you see in Midtown which foster success is the same blueprint for retail clusters also and I think Midtown missed the boat on making buildings from the beginning focus retail so a retail district could be born. Imagine all the retail in Atlantic Station being built at the bottom of the Midtown towers concentrated in a few blocks. That is an absolute missed opportunity but Midtown will be ok in the long term, it's just hard during the growing process and the damage is already done from failed practice in the past.

In the long run, Midtown needs to position itself to shift the retail front into the core and out of the Malls. I know this will prove hard for Atlanta, but vibrant retail is an essential component for an urban core.


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Old 07-29-2013, 11:32 AM
 
11,566 posts, read 13,298,550 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noah View Post
Midtown is the best planned neighborhood in the city. When businesses voluntarily tax themselves for neighborhood improvements you know its serious, and its allowed Midtown Alliance to pour millions into improvements.

This includes current projects totaling $82 million Midtown Alliance Capital Improvements Update - Around Town - Midtown, GA Patch

I generally get the idea that many on this board with these strong opinions don't actually live in Midtown. From signage to types of trees on up they have a master plan. If your around midtown you have noticed the bike lanes, all the places they have added mediums and taken out lanes to become more pedestrian friendly.

I agree that Midtown is the best planned neighborhood in the city. I also agree that having a BID or Business Improvement District that taxes the commercial businesses for infrastructure improvements, neighborhood programing, and aesthetic maintenance is essential for an urban neighborhood. I was talking about concentrated development for the success of retail. Midtown's development has been piece meal with development spread out pretty far. A concentrated effort to assemble properties together for development in chunks would have given Midtown the needed density to master plan for retail. I brought up White Flint because it too was a sea of parking lots and is being developed from the ground up, but it's been master planned to develop in chunks. An example of this would be the "Buckhead Atlanta" development. Here is another example in White Flint which I mentioned earlier:

North Bethesda Market Phase I and II
Rockville Apartments for Rent | North Bethesda Market Residences | Apartments in Rockville
Unveiled> North Bethesda Market II - The Architect's Newspaper

North Bethesda Center
LCOR: Creating Better Places to Live, Learn, Work, Travel and Play

Pike and Rose Development
News | Pike & RosePike & Rose
Video Rendering Of Pike & Rose In White Flint | BethesdaNow
IPic theater to anchor Mid-Pike Plaza as it becomes Pike & Rose - The Washington Post

White Flint Mall Redevelopment
What a redeveloped White Flint Mall would look like - Capital Business Blog - The Washington Post
Planning Board Approves Plan for White Flint Mall Redevelopment | Media Center

Metro Pike Center
Developer Reveals Plan For 300-Foot Towers on Rockville Pike | BethesdaNow

Bus Rapid Transit on Rockville Pike for easier short trip movement
New bus rapid transit proposal centers around Route 355 | Coalition for Smarter Growth


It just makes it easier to facilitate retail when projects are master planned over a larger area. It's not always feasible if land can't be assembled, but doing this in the 1990's would have went a long way in making Midtown even better than it is today.
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDAllstar View Post
Do you know when this master plan was written? Is there a master plan that predates this one? It seem fairly new.
Well, according to the link the original Blueprint Midtown went into effect in 1997, and was updated in 2003. Of course there was planning before that but the Blueprint undertook to make it more comprehensive.
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:01 PM
 
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MDAllstar--

Have you read much about the 12th & Midtown development?

http://www.12thandmidtown.com/img/ma...masterplan.jpg

This picture is out of date. Phases 1 and 2 opened during the recession, and have taken a while but are now all nearing full occupancy on all fronts (office, hotel, apartments, condos, and retail). Phase 4 (apartments and retail) has just finished construction and a portion of the retail has been announced. Phase 3 (office and retail) is rumored to be starting soon, but I'd give it a year or two before we break ground. They also own several parcels along 12th a block or two to the west of this area, although details aren't known--but there have been maps showing ~10 phases.

This is basically what you're talking about: a more urban version of Atlantic Station that is also more walkable and better-planned, right in the heart of Midtown. The only issue is that it's majority restaurants and bars at this point, rather than traditional retail (although there is some retail). But this project will definitely be a development node of Midtown in the coming years, and it is handy that it's adjacent to the already built-out corner of 14th and Peachtree. The whole area will be great once the last few gaps are filled in, which will probably happen in about 10 years.

So, while most of Midtown's development is definitely piecemeal, 12th and Midtown is planned, contiguous, and right in the middle--a noteworthy exception to everything else going on.


And even though the rest is piecemeal, there's plenty going on right now. 6th and Peachtree (23 floors of apartments, but with a bleh separated deck), Ponce and Piedmont (lowrise apartments and a cancer treatment center), 8th and Spring (18 floors of apartments), and a rumored apartment tower on 13th near Piedmont Park. Each and every time you visit it should get better and better!
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:12 PM
 
31,354 posts, read 31,344,853 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by testa50 View Post
So, while most of Midtown's development is definitely piecemeal, 12th and Midtown is planned, contiguous, and right in the middle--a noteworthy exception to everything else going on.
I can't imagine Midtown being developed any other way. To do everything at once would cost many, many billions of dollars.

That's why a unified plan was put into place, to govern how development occurs as economic circumstances warrant.
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by testa50 View Post
MDAllstar--

Have you read much about the 12th & Midtown development?

http://www.12thandmidtown.com/img/ma...masterplan.jpg

This picture is out of date. Phases 1 and 2 opened during the recession, and have taken a while but are now all nearing full occupancy on all fronts (office, hotel, apartments, condos, and retail). Phase 4 (apartments and retail) has just finished construction and a portion of the retail has been announced. Phase 3 (office and retail) is rumored to be starting soon, but I'd give it a year or two before we break ground. They also own several parcels along 12th a block or two to the west of this area, although details aren't known--but there have been maps showing ~10 phases.

This is basically what you're talking about: a more urban version of Atlantic Station that is also more walkable and better-planned, right in the heart of Midtown. The only issue is that it's majority restaurants and bars at this point, rather than traditional retail (although there is some retail). But this project will definitely be a development node of Midtown in the coming years, and it is handy that it's adjacent to the already built-out corner of 14th and Peachtree. The whole area will be great once the last few gaps are filled in, which will probably happen in about 10 years.

So, while most of Midtown's development is definitely piecemeal, 12th and Midtown is planned, contiguous, and right in the middle--a noteworthy exception to everything else going on.


And even though the rest is piecemeal, there's plenty going on right now. 6th and Peachtree (23 floors of apartments, but with a bleh separated deck), Ponce and Piedmont (lowrise apartments and a cancer treatment center), 8th and Spring (18 floors of apartments), and a rumored apartment tower on 13th near Piedmont Park. Each and every time you visit it should get better and better!
Yes, I have read about it and it's going to be huge for Midtown once complete. This is exactly what I am talking about. I wasn't saying Midtown hasn't made major strides in the development around the neighborhood. I was saying Midtown has been around for over a decade and plans like this back in the 1990's would have gone a long way to making Midtown a much better urban neighborhood in a much faster timeframe. I think some of the early developments that were allowed to be built in Midtown have really made it difficult for the many truly urban projects that are moving forward right now. It's almost like Midtown shifted it's development guidelines midway through development. Developments like this need to be redeveloped someday to align with the urban development being built right now like 12th and Midtown:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=atlan...12,340.46,,0,0

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=atlan...000000001,,0,0

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=atlan...000000001,,0,0
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Old 07-29-2013, 02:27 PM
 
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Haha, I actually refused to purchase a condo in the first one, despite it being a good unit and price, simply because I hated the building so much. The place I eventually moved to isn't any more pedestrian-friendly, but at least it jams ~500 units on a couple acres. The first one looks straight out of a suburb, and not in a good way.

The second one sin't really Midtown FYI, although I agree it's horrible. That would be a miserable place to live.

For me, the sterile office buildings (there are three of them around 14th and Peachtree, for instance) are the worst. No chance of redevelopment ever--just a retrofit for street level retail MAYBE. Fortunately, there really aren't that many of them in Midtown.
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