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Walton to develop MARTA's King Memorial project

8:38 AM, Feb 7, 2014   |    comments
(Atlanta Business Chronicle)
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ATLANTA -- MARTA has picked a developer to build a mixed-use project at its King Memorial Station, potentially the first of several similar developments around its train stations.

Walton Communities plans 386 apartments and 13,000-square feet of retail on about four acres next to King Memorial on Decatur Street, near Georgia State University, Oakland Cemetery and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic site.

The property is a parking lot that was being leased to Grady Memorial Hospital. Walton Communities would enter a ground lease with MARTA. The developer would take the next year to obtain financing and probably start work on the initial design, said Amanda Rhein, MARTA's senior director of transit oriented development.

If the King Memorial project is successful, it could help spur more investment along the Decatur Street corridor east of Georgia State.

The university is already a catalyst for real estate development in the area. A few years ago, Perennial Properties wrapped up construction on the Pencil Factory flats and shops, also near Georgia State and the King Memorial Station.

In 2012, MARTA identified at least 10 train stations as potential magnets for new mixed-use developments. MARTA hoped it could generate millions in additional revenue and ignite revitalization efforts around the stations.

The idea came as more developers showed interest in considering mixed-use projects near existing transit stations.

MARTA has undertaken similar efforts before, though its planners say not to this level.

It worked with the former BellSouth (now AT&T) and the developer Carter, for example, at Buckhead's Lindbergh Center.

This time, MARTA received inquiries from real estate companies and developers specializing in apartments that want to put projects near transit lines. Demand is coming from Atlanta's young professionals, part of the broader demographic known as Millennials, who are rejecting commuting into the city from the suburbs. Instead, they prefer intown living in walkable neighborhoods close to their jobs and amenities such as restaurants, shopping and entertainment.

MARTA is working with the city of Decatur on the next transit oriented project around the Avondale station.

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(Atlanta Business Chronicle)

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