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View Poll Results: Which city/cities has the best urban infill projects?
Portland, OR 26 23.21%
Seattle 22 19.64%
Denver 15 13.39%
Dallas 13 11.61%
Houston 14 12.50%
Atlanta 33 29.46%
Miami 16 14.29%
Charlotte 7 6.25%
Phoenix 7 6.25%
Los Angeles 17 15.18%
San Diego 8 7.14%
San Jose 9 8.04%
Austin, TX 11 9.82%
Other 14 12.50%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 112. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-12-2010, 07:15 AM
 
4,476 posts, read 4,947,446 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwkimbro View Post
When discussing urban renewal projects in Atlanta I think it is more important to spot out the Beltline project (beltline.org) and the old Atlanta Station Steel Mill site (atlanticstation.com). The streetcar will help, but it is soley a transit project with a streetscape facelife aimed to improve an already successful corridor. The Beltline is about taking abandoned/underused rail tracks and renewing brownfield sites to be walkable communities, transit, and parks. In other words it is the whole deal in one. The Atlantic Station site was an old Steel Mill that was an environmental hazard that took lots of cleaning. Everything was built from the ground up to be a livable, urban community with lots of residents, offices, and a regional retail center.

I think Atlanta has also found a great way to finance such developments. Albeit, it is a long-term process, but it appears to be successful without placing a financial strain on the city and without help from the state.
This kudos to Atlanta. This is a great example for cities to follow.
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:56 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
3,778 posts, read 2,962,481 times
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Just curious do any other states have or use Tax Allocation Districts (an district with weak property values, where for a fixed period of time the increase in property values is used to pay off the bonds on area improvement to raise property values)

Or CIDs (community improvement districts)? A self taxing district, usually just businesses, that spends money beautifying the area to make it a destination are and improve commerce and real estate values.

That is largely how Atlanta is funding things these days, but yet I am clueless as to who uses these funding strategies.
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:08 PM
 
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I'd think it would be Miami, considering all the tall residential buildings it has, and it's "lack of ""REAL" office buildings". And considering it's high density and relatively small city limits(35sq miles).
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:43 PM
 
4,476 posts, read 4,947,446 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwkimbro View Post
Just curious do any other states have or use Tax Allocation Districts (an district with weak property values, where for a fixed period of time the increase in property values is used to pay off the bonds on area improvement to raise property values)

Or CIDs (community improvement districts)? A self taxing district, usually just businesses, that spends money beautifying the area to make it a destination are and improve commerce and real estate values.

That is largely how Atlanta is funding things these days, but yet I am clueless as to who uses these funding strategies.
Charlotte has three and they're called municipal service districts. Its largely am extra property tax used to beautify the area, fund studies for the area, advertising, etc.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:53 PM
 
Location: Rome, Georgia
2,258 posts, read 1,861,455 times
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Good to hear good things about Atlanta. I'm a native and am slightly out of touch having moved out largely due to the extensive sprawl the city has experienced. I'll be looking forward to good things.
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georgiafrog View Post
Good to hear good things about Atlanta. I'm a native and am slightly out of touch having moved out largely due to the extensive sprawl the city has experienced. I'll be looking forward to good things.
You will see many good changes, but that doesn't mean our problems have disappeared either

Traffic and lack of transportation investment has caused two things to happen.... Jobs are moving closer and/or into the northern suburbs, office rent rates in downtown are lower, and more intown residential infill. The avg commute distance is dropping, but the bad thing is this is the driving force for these changes is how bad traffic is and continues to be.
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Old 11-15-2010, 04:10 PM
 
Location: ITP - City of Atlanta Proper
6,558 posts, read 6,908,554 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwkimbro View Post
You will see many good changes, but that doesn't mean our problems have disappeared either

Traffic and lack of transportation investment has caused two things to happen.... Jobs are moving closer and/or into the northern suburbs, office rent rates in downtown are lower, and more intown residential infill. The avg commute distance is dropping, but the bad thing is this is the driving force for these changes is how bad traffic is and continues to be.
That may not necessarily be a bad thing. Sometimes you have to be slapped in the face before you learn your lesson.

Also, I have also noticed that part of the growth of the intown and near in suburban population are transplants that came in the 90s and early 00s, found out that they really didn't like living 30 miles away from the city, and moved just to be closer to everything. That's a trend I see as being positive overall.
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Old 11-15-2010, 05:07 PM
 
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I don't understand the love for Atlantic Station - every time I go there I see practically no one on the street. No one on the balconies, either - on a pleasant saturday night. It just seems so sterile. Contrast this to Virginia Highlands which is bustling with pedestrians and a wide variety of shops and restaurants.
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:00 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeksitter View Post
I don't understand the love for Atlantic Station - every time I go there I see practically no one on the street. No one on the balconies, either - on a pleasant saturday night. It just seems so sterile. Contrast this to Virginia Highlands which is bustling with pedestrians and a wide variety of shops and restaurants.
Oh yea... I was having a conversation about that on another forum. They did some wonderful things, but the dropped the ball on some others.

1) Lack of a small neighborhood park (usable green space)

2) Lack of neighborhood retail in the residential area
I would have made some small outdoor cobblestone public plazas at 17th & Mecaslin st (pizza shop, coffee shop, dry cleaners, laundramat... just the typical neighborhood things)

I think it will be better when the beltline is built out and it would be an easy walk down 17th to it. I think it will become a little better with age when they aren't so big on rules and regulations on private retail development. I think they purposely didn't want a happening night life, so much as a nice retail center. They are trying to sell the area to office developers and condo builders still.

But still... it is impressive considering it took a contaminated steel mill site...cleaned it... raised neighboring property values, added living space for 10,000 people, space for 5.4 million sq ft of Class A office space (only 1.4 built so far.. they might not achieve 5.4 as they gave up one plot of land to a huge condo tower), space for 5 hotels, and 100 retail shops.

I think the big failing point is the area they call the commons (around the big retention pond) was divided between 4 different residential infill developers. They did this to make sure the residential units would end up being more unique from building to building, but it about killed any chance of neighborhood retail.

For those non-Atlanta people... Here is the area we are talking about.
(atlanta, ga - Google Maps) (Atlantic Station® - Life Happens here.)
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:50 PM
 
Location: ITP - City of Atlanta Proper
6,558 posts, read 6,908,554 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeksitter View Post
I don't understand the love for Atlantic Station - every time I go there I see practically no one on the street. No one on the balconies, either - on a pleasant saturday night. It just seems so sterile. Contrast this to Virginia Highlands which is bustling with pedestrians and a wide variety of shops and restaurants.
I'll give you no one hardly on the balconies (most of the residential units in the District area are unoccupied) but "practically no one on the street"? Unless you are there early in the morning, I'm not sure what you are talking about. The District always has a good bit of people walking around during the work day, at night, and especially on the weekends. I like the vibe of Va-Hi better, but I don't think it's out of the question to say that Atlantic Station has a lot more pedestrians:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk0M3XzuMAw


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R83nIeCK9ts


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4CkXBYMhJo

Quote:
Originally Posted by cwkimbro View Post
But still... it is impressive considering it took a contaminated steel mill site...cleaned it... raised neighboring property values, added living space for 10,000 people, space for 5.4 million sq ft of Class A office space (only 1.4 built so far.. they might not achieve 5.4 as they gave up one plot of land to a huge condo tower), space for 5 hotels, and 100 retail shops.
I definitely agree with this. Atlantic Station is far from perfect (in fact there are certain things about the place that really annoys me just from being a resident of the city), and a lot of that has to do with certain things that were standard about designing large developments like this "back then". But most of these problems can be resolved with some retrofitting and are not insurmountable.

The psychological aspect of the project and the effect it had on the City of Atlanta is something that people often discount. While Metro Atlanta has been growing at a break neck speed going from 2 million people 40 years ago to nearly 6 million people today, during the same period up until 2000, the city proper had been losing population. In 1970, the city had a population of 490,000 and over the next three decades lost 150,000 residents to white flight and deindustrialization (the Atlantic Steel mill was one of the most visible signs of the city's past). While there had been gentrification in the city and modest rise in population in the late 1990s, it seemed the city's population was destined to continue to decline. With the boldness of the Atlantic Station project though, and it's ability to delivery of most of it's promises, this fueled a literal boom of development in the city that say not only the city regaining all of the population it had lost since the peak population in 1970, but gain an additional 120,000 residents just from infill alone...not by annexation which is usually the way most cities have done in recent history. This means the city has become denser and more urban friendly and most of that thanks can go to projects like Atlantic Station.

On top of that, it is just a testament to the project itself given what it replaced as you mentioned. Next time anyone is in Atlantic station, they should keep in mind that just 10 years ago it was just an old steel mill and literal toxic waste dump that looked like this:




Atlanta Artists To Watch | Art21 Blog


Atlantic Steel

Atlantic Station could have been two houses and a yo-yo monument and still would have been an improvement over the dump that used to be there.
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