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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is officially in the Grove Park neighborhood while being marketed as being in "West Midtown" so I am going with the more generic "Westside". This is a huge development proposal adjacent to Bankhead Marta station, the future Westide Park, and the new Proctor Creek Greenway.

PHASE 1
  • Apartments: 850+ Units
  • Office: 575,000+ SF
  • Restaurant/Retail: 75,000 SF
  • Hotel: 300 Key
  • Planned Opening 2020

PHASE 2
  • Apartments: 1,000+ Units
  • Office: 2,000,000+ SF
  • Retail: 175,000+ SF
  • Condos: 300 Units


http://quarryyards.com/











 

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Huh. I would've sworn we already had a thread for this, but I guess it was just a reference in the general development thread.

Overall I think this is nice and I definitely want them to incorporate greenspace into the project that maximizes the appeal of the creek and greenway. However, I do wish that they'd heighten the urbanity of the project and make ample use of the MARTA station. In that first picture I would switch the Community Green with the structure on the right between "Restaurants/Retail" and "Apartments." I'd then work with the buildings to get a better relationship with the street grid with an eye toward this area eventually harboring more density.

This isn't poor, just a bit too suburban for what we hope will someday see a rail line extension northward to Vinings and Smyrna and southward to the airport.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Yeah I already vented elsewhere about how suburban phase 1 is considering its adjacent to a Marta station. I'm using the ters TOD very loosely to describe the project. Hopefully phase 2 has a much more urban plan and its appears to be much denser based on the numbers.
 

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I don't think this really solves any of the problems. The buildings are only slightly modified, and while I like the revised balance between masonry and glass for the lower portions of the 1B component that focal staircase between the buildings is still a lost opportunity, IMO.

The complaints about this site seem consistently less about the architecture and more about the site plan, in that the proximity to MARTA should endow higher density and with that less of an office-campus feel. ie: Don't waste space. Grand public staircases can be tricky but done right they create unique and dynamic spaces. Greenery is nice (insert quip about climate change here) but as a whole that space, which by virtue of location and change in elevation is a focal nexus of the property, could be something truly special. What about a fountain that cascades down the slope? What about a marquee statue or art piece? What about avoiding narrow, walled stairwells that will be creepy to descend at night?!

If you want people to ignore the mental fatigue at climbing all those stairs then take that space and make it a celebratory transcendence! Give them a reason to want to be there and make passing by that space special. Simply having greenery and different staircases isn't special.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Potentially HUGE news...

I'm trying to resist getting too excited until we know who the buyer is but for someone to lay out that kind of cash just for the property, this sounds MAJOR.

Quarry Yards sells to mystery development group for $127M


The development group behind the planned Quarry Yards including former Georgia Tech star and Braves player Mark Teixeira has sold the 70-acre site of the pivotal Westside Atlanta project for $127 million.
“We are totally out,” Teixeira told Atlanta Business Chronicle. “The buyer made us an offer we could not refuse.”
West Atlanta Acquisitions LLC purchased the land for Quarry Yards, one of the city’s most closely watched development sites. The $400 million first phase of the project was slated to rise along Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway next to the Bellwood Quarry and Westside Park, Atlanta’s largest planned greenspace.

For now, little is known about the buyer or its intent for the site. Property deeds that typically offer those details were not yet publicly available over the holiday weekend.

“It’s the buyer’s desire to stay private,” Teixeira said. “It’s an end user that will be great for the city.”
Quarry Yards and other new developments have underscored concerns about the equitable revitalization of Westside Atlanta communities including Grove Park, a working class Black neighborhood that has seen decades of disinvestment. The area is attractive because of its connectivity and relatively inexpensive land just minutes from “West Midtown,” where hundreds of millions of dollars of investment is funding glossy office towers, posh apartment buildings, hotels and restaurants.

“If this wasn’t going to be a great thing for the city I would not have sold to this group,” he said.
Debra Edelson, whose work is focused on Grove Park’s anti-displacement efforts and revitalization, said of the new owners of Quarry Yards, “We want to engage with them. We want them to be supporters of what we are trying to do.”
Edelson, executive director of the Grove Park Foundation, said the neighborhood is not anti-development. It just wants to be involved in a discussion about its future.
https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta...site-westside-project-quarry-yards-sells.html
 

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The comment about the site being bought by an "end user," and the price paid, suggests this will be some form of corporate campus for a single company. ie: Somebody bought it knowing it was prime and they want to locate their offices right there. Suggests a substantial investment into the property is coming, so yeah it could be huge.

Hopefully they'll improve upon the layout on offer from the Quarry Yards design. I'm fine with a midrise mixed-use campus but the site must also work to blend in with the urban fabric of the community. Put some of the edge-lying buildings on axis with the roads and adjoining structures, and give the greenspace a more prominent park-like feel as opposed to just generic landscaping and lawn. Maybe even encourage higher density in sections since you have access to MARTA.

The other good news is that if this takes off it might bode well for future expansion of MARTA northward.
 

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"Buyers affiliated with Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are behind the $127 million purchase of the 70-acre Quarry Yards project in Atlanta’s Westside."

According to the linked AJC article the new owners will "emphasize" affordable housing, which is good, though one has to imagine there's much, much more to it. If the Foundation simply wanted to make the biggest housing impact with their funding there are plenty of other places in the neighborhood to invest the money, inviting them to build more and spend less. Even if the main goal of their project is housing you'd still want to provide the commercial space for supporting retail, dining, and some jobs to ensure the housing remains stable, and to make the most of the transit station on the southeast corner. So presumably there will be additional uses built on site.

There's space for multiple mid-rises straddling the greenway to accommodate office uses while the housing scales progressively downward toward the west to soften the relationship to adjoining 1-2 story structures. The campus may not necessarily be all Microsoft but could well be used as an incubator space that matches with the Gates' Foundation ambitions to partner with HBUs.

Or...

They could dedicate portions of the land along Proctor Creek to a park, marry that off to the adjoining Westside Park, and concentrate the housing on the western half of the property. This could become space for active athletic fields and courts (Grove Park is a 1/2 mile west but the area is growing) and serve as more of a neighborhood park than Westside. It would make it attractive for commercial options to move into the vicinity and keep the neighborhood vibrant without inducing a massive market change.

The property is in some regards not ideal for a major office campus at the moment unless the majority of workers ride MARTA. I haven't seen a specific community plan for the Neighborhood Planning Unit covering this area ("K") but depending on the plan you're referencing the calls for the area are more jobs and services for local residents, and not big-time tech jobs paying wages that would force most employees to live outside the area.

Guess we just have to sit back and watch.
 

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"Microsoft Corp. purchased another 20 acres near Atlanta’s Bellwood Quarry as it continues assembling land for a new campus that could bring thousands of jobs and unprecedented investment to the city’s Westside." [ABC]

It appears to be a 19-acre tract behind the DCFS office, between Quarry Yards to the west and the railroad tracks to the east. Bisnow says its sources have heard about a 15,000-employee Microsoft campus -- unusual for a company that has no more than 2,000 employees at any US location outside WA.

I'm curious about the foundation's involvement -- they have little direct interaction with MSFT.
 

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I asked someone at Central Atlanta Progress about this yesterday after hearing the initial news. Her suspicion is that it will be a mixed use campus with Microsoft employees but also affiliate agencies. A lot of Tech companies will spin off R&D projects for tax and stock purposes, so the thinking might be to have their own incubator. If true it might also mean that while the campus could handle X-number of people that figure is expected to fluctuate greatly depending on their project load.

The one thing she did seem excited about is that there is now more chatter about the prospects for the Bankhead MARTA line and a possible future extension. Should the Westside Reservoir Park and this Quarry Yards project meet or exceed expectations then you'll hear calls for extending that line northward toward the Cumberland CID.
 
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