Atlantic Station occupies land formerly used by Atlantic Steel Industries, Inc., the ﬁ rst steel mill in Georgia. During its prime, Atlantic Steel was Georgia’s largest employer, but by 1998 the mill maintained only skeletal operations. What remained was largely an abandoned 138-acre brownﬁeld in the heart of the rapidly growing City of Atlanta.
Jacoby Development, Inc., in a joint venture with AIG Global Real Estate Investment Corp., worked closely with federal, state, and public interests to clean up and convert the property into Atlantic Station, a $2 billion redevelopment project. Challenges included removing contaminated soils, separating sanitary and storm sewer systems, reducing auto emissions, and creating jobs and economic vitality around existing infrastructure.
Examples of Key PartnersAtlantic Steel Industries, Inc., Jacoby Development, Inc., State of Georgia, City of Atlanta, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Atlanta Regional Commission, Midtown Alliance (local business interests), neighborhood organizations, and others.
Results and AccomplishmentsBecause Atlanta was not in compliance with Clear Air Act standards at the time, development of the brownﬁeld site came to a halt. A standard interpretation of the regulations would have prohibited the building of new roads, which made it impossible to construct a bridge to reconnect the isolated brownﬁeld site to Midtown Atlanta, as well as to nearby public transit and the adjacent interstate highway. This obstacle was removed after an EPA analysis showed that the smart growth aspects of the redevelopment—encouraging development in the City and providing better access to mass transit—would reduce vehicle miles traveled and total air pollution, among other environmental beneﬁts.
Collaborative problem-solving and innovative thinking have revived the area, with new residents and businesses coming into the city instead of ﬂeeing to the suburbs.
Other accomplishments include:
- Created 5,000 homes, from single family dwellings to loft apartments and condominiums.
- Created employment opportunities for 30,000 people.
- Stimulated development that will eventually include 12 million square feet of retail, ofﬁce, residential, and hotel space and 11acres of public parks.
- Developed an incentive program that includes access to electric vehicles and discounted rates for using mass transit.
The ﬁrst residential structures were leased in 2003. The ﬁrst commercial, retail, and entertainment establishments opened in 2004; additional retail locations will open in late 2005. The project was awarded the national 2004 Phoenix Award for excellence in brownﬁeld redevelopment.
By identifying and using smart growth development strategies in the City, partners were able to minimize pollution and produce air quality beneﬁts, overcoming regulatory barriers to infrastructure changes.