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I have been to Atlantic Station three times over the last five years (and have been to Atlanta at least a half dozen times over that period) and have seen it evolve from messy construction site to prospering new community. Here are some pics (that are not mine; credit goes to, of all places, http://www.detroitrising.com ) to showcase where the development is as well as some critiques of mine:

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This gives you an idea of a great deal of AS's residential component. Dense by nature, but I take issue with the design of these dwellings, as I don't care for the narrow patios that overhang the main entrances. In fact, it makes the front not look like the front at all, but like a small patio overhang that overlooks a small backyard.

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Another view. Some other issues (for me) include the fact that there needs to be a break in the string of townhomes. Visually, things become repetitive and not especially attractive. More landscaping would've been nice as well--something to break up the monotony.

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Here's Twelve Atlantic Station. It bares a considerable resemblance to the Mosaic Tower(s) here in Houston. Very clean looking and well positioned within AS.

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I generally like the way the retail component is designed and implemented. This section looks like a cross between Dallas' West Village and Sugar Land Town Square.

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More residential. Again, the sidewalk treatment leaves a lot to be desired.

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Although this Fox Sports Grill looks a bit more inviting than the one at our Galleria, both are difficult to get to on weekends given that most people who would visit are more likely to drive, and parking sucks (Atlanta, for all its recent efforts to centralize things, is still a city dominated by its suburbs).

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This IKEA looks very out of place, doesn't it?

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Publix groceries. They've fallen on hard times in certain areas of Florida but the ones in Georgia are still good. Obviously, having a grocery store within walking distance helps to sell these types of developments.

atlanticstation41.jpg

Again, the retail component looks fresh. This section has office space mixed in. Unfortunately, as has been pointed out in other threads here at HAIF, many new urbanist projects spread across much of the Sunbelt suffer from a lack of pedestrian activity relative to what is/was desired by their planners. It's not by accident that a lot of these pictures don't show a lot of foot activity. I suppose you could give it more time but this seems to be a common problem here at the onset.

Anyway, AS is an attractive and imposing development, particularly given its history as a former steel works plant that went under back in the 90s. Still, even with the building of the 17th Street Bridge (the main street that runs through AS) across I-75/85 to help connect the development to Midtown Atlanta located to the east, AS seems a bit disconnected from the city. In fact, a few blocks to the near west is a pretty depressed area of decaying warehouses and public housing. Nevertheless, over time, AS could be the very type of stimulus to help continue to transform areas on the near northwest side of Atlanta that have been festering in neglect and abandoment for the last 30-40 years.

Just get more trees and widen the sidewalks, wouldya! ;)

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what day of the week were these taken?

i was at another urban project in ft worth recently. it looked nice but the stores were sure dead. i was surprised how few people were at super target at 1130 on a sat morning.

Since those weren't my pics, I can't say for sure when they were taken. However, I've been to AS on a Friday night, a Thursday afternoon and I believe either a Monday or Tuesday night. Friday night had decent activity but not much foot traffic. There was absolute no foot traffic on the Mon or Tues night. On the Thursday afternoon I went, there was a bit of a mix but traffic build up from vehicles was pretty noticeable around 4:00PM as people were heading from the offices built within and headed towards Midtown.

There's still another few thousand residential units to go, so like I said, we'll see where they are ten years from now.

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My biggest complaint about Atlantic Station -- the complete lack of non-chain retail and restaurant options. There were a few local places, but they've all left, and have been replaced by chains. So yeah, it all looks pretty nice, but 95% of the restaurants and shops in Atlantic Station aren't unique to that center. You can go to most of them in about 10-15 other places in the Atlanta metro area. Instead of developing into a true "neighborhood", it looks more like a glorified shopping center built on top of a massive parking garage that's trying to look like something more than it really is. And just like a suburban shopping mall, just about the only way to get to Atlantic Station is to hop in your car and drive there, and park in a parking garage. The lack of pedestrian traffic is in part due to the fact that not very many people live in Atlantic Station, so most of the customers visiting the businesses there drove there from someplace else.

It's just like nearly every other "town center"-type mixed use development out there. No matter the city, they all end up looking just about the same, and they don't really offer anything unique. These developments are evidence that there's no replacement for the type of community that naturally develops over time in a more traditional setting. Trying to force the "small town" feel into a big shopping center filled with national chains like Atlantic Station (or in Houston area -- Market Street in The Woodlands or Sugar Land Town Square) results in yet another big shopping center filled with the same stuff you see everywhere else. Sure it looks nice, but in the end it's totally generic and devoid of any true sense of character, uniqueness, and community.

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Trying to force the "small town" feel into a big shopping center filled with national chains like Atlantic Station (or in Houston area -- Market Street in The Woodlands or Sugar Land Town Square) results in yet another big shopping center filled with the same stuff you see everywhere else. Sure it looks nice, but in the end it's totally generic and devoid of any true sense of character, uniqueness, and community.

Actually, I would take exception to both the Woodlands and Sugar Land as they both have a host of local restaurants and boutiques. Granted, some might be local chains, they're local none the less.

I would dare say there are more generic franchises in Rice Village's Arcade than either Sugar Land or Woodlands.

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