Final sections of East Lake’s new commercial village plows ahead with 20 homes




Townhouse prices at Hosea + 2nd will start in mid-$500Ks, as a brewery also comes together


Over the past five years, a moribund intersection of vacant buildings and empty lots in East Lake has evolved into Hosea + 2nd, an award-winning hub of mixed uses that functions as the historic neighborhood’s main commercial village.

The one missing component at Hosea + 2nd is housing, but that’s quickly changing.

Seasoned Atlanta homebuilder JackBilt is plowing ahead with 20 townhomes that will constitute the final component of Hosea + 2nd, taking the southwest corner where Hosea Williams Drive meets Second Avenue.

JackBilt founder Jack Zampell tells Urbanize Atlanta the community is called ELL Square (for East Lake Line), reflecting the location where East Lake meets both Oakhurst and Kirkwood.

Zampell says the first phase of 10 homes should go vertical soon, potentially opening by this summer.

All will be four stories, spanning from 2,000 to 2,200 square feet with garages and rooftop outdoor patios with fireplaces. Each will have three bedrooms and three and ½ bathrooms, with an optional half-bathroom on the roof, plus heated indoor lounges with wet bars that can function as flex spaces.

Prices at ELL Square will start in the mid-$500,000s, Zampell says. Renderings are still being finalized.

Zampell says about a dozen townhomes will have elevator options. Planned communal amenities include a dog park and a central courtyard “square” with a lawn, firepit, and seating.

JackBilt purchased the last undeveloped Hosea + 2nd quadrant from the owners of Fellini’s Pizza and La Fonda restaurants, Clay Harper and Mike Nelson. Those business partners had bought the four East Lake corners in 2015 from the Cousins Family Foundation, an organization that’s garnered national attention for its work to revitalize East Lake since 1993. Intown neighborhoods from Morningside and Virginia-Highland to Old Fourth Ward and Kirkwood are dotted with examples of JackBilt’s single-family homes and townhome communities.

The townhomes aren’t the only buildout afoot at Hosea + 2nd, where all other phases are structurally complete.

The final available retail space—2,300 square feet with an 800-square-foot wraparound patio—has been claimed by Hippin’ Hops Brewery and Oyster Bar, which is set to be one of Georgia’s first Black-owned breweries with locations in East Atlanta and East Lake this year.

Jay Martin of ReDevStudio, the developer of Hosea + 2nd’s first two phases, says the brewery concept requires a full buildout but should open sometime this summer.

A Mexican taqueria concept originally slated for the space “ultimately was unable to open its first brick and mortar location” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Martin says.

“Our other tenants are doing well through very challenging times,” says Marin. “We’ve obviously tried to do everything we can to help them.”

Those tenants include restaurants Poor Hendrix, Mix’D Up Burgers, Perc Coffee Roasters, Japanese-Korean restaurant Salaryman, and Lake & Oak BBQ, where the brisket in particular has been changing lives since last summer.

Rounding out the roster is Cameo, a hair salon, and the offices of Purpose Built Communities, a national nonprofit founded by developer Tom Cousins and chaired by former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.

In 2017, Hosea + 2nd won the Atlanta Urban Design Commission’s Award of Excellence for contributions to the city’s urban fabric. It was also a finalist for an American Institute of Architects (Georgia) design and honor award for renovation/restoration that year.

January 31, 2021, 11:26PM

Article by Josh Green at Urbanize.City/Atlanta

Link to Article

With New Nonprofit Status, John Marshall Turns Focus to Fundraising

As a nonprofit, the law school will begin to fundraise. The initial aim is to increase scholarships to make John Marshall “more affordable to the population we want to serve,” said Dean Jace Gatewood.


John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, Georgia.


Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School started off the new year with nonprofit status, furthering its goal of providing legal education to nontraditional students and those from underserved communities.

John Marshall is the only one of Georgia’s five law schools that is independent and unaffiliated with a university. Until Jan. 1, when its 501(c)(3) status took effect, it was the state’s only for-profit law school.

With the nonprofit status, announced this week, fundraising will become an important part of the law school’s business model. The initial aim is to raise money for scholarships to make John Marshall “more affordable to the population we want to serve,” said John Marshall Dean Jace Gatewood in an interview, and to start legal clinics and other educational programs.

“We’re a school of opportunity, so 501(c)(3) status helps us serve our mission better,” Gatewood said. “We consider ourselves a community asset. We cater to a different student.”

John Marshall has one of the most diverse student bodies in the country, Gatewood said, with 60% racial minorities and 65% women. “Many come from underserved communities and after graduation, our lawyers often go back to those communities,” he said.

In addition to a traditional three-year program, John Marshall offers a part-time evening track for older students who attend law school while working and supporting families.

About one-third of the school’s 300 students are evening students on the 4L track. The only other law school in Georgia offering a part-time option is Georgia State University College of Law, but its evening program is not as extensive.

About one-third of the school’s 300 students are evening students on the 4L track. The only other law school in Georgia offering a part-time option is Georgia State University College of Law, but its evening program is not as extensive.

Gaining nonprofit status was several years in the making, starting with getting buy-in from faculty and students, Gatewood said. The ABA approved John Marshall’s conversion to nonprofit status in 2019, but final approval from the Department of Education was delayed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.



For fundraising, the law school is starting with its alumni base of more than 5,000 graduates.

This month, John Marshall hired its first development director, Wendy Aina, from Georgia State University Perimeter College, and last fall it promoted research staff member A.J. Doucett to alumni relations director.

“We have not appealed to alumni for donations before because we did not have a nonprofit entity for them to contribute to. Now we have the mechanism,” Gatewood told the Daily Report in October when John Marshall formed a nonprofit scholarship foundation ahead of obtaining nonprofit status. The foundation provides need-based scholarships to students with financial hardship, separate from existing tuition assistance based on their academic credentials.

Now that the law school is a nonprofit, the dean hopes alumni will be more inclined to contribute, since they “know their dollars are going directly to the students and the mission of the law school.”

Scholarships are a top fundraising priority. Tuition for a full-time John Marshall Law student is currently $44,900. That compares with $60,000 at Emory University Law School and $40,000 at Mercer University Law School, the state’s two private universities.

In-state tuition at the University of Georgia Law School is $17,600 and $15,800 at GSU Law, which are both public.

Clinics are important, Gatewood said, because they offer law students hands-on learning, but they are also expensive, because of the low student-to-faculty ratio.

John Marshall does not have any in-house law clinics right now, the dean said, so its students use internships and externships to gain experience working with actual client matters.

A Long Journey


John Marshall’s conversion to nonprofit status has occurred after a two-decade educational adventure for its former owner, educational entrepreneur Michael Markovitz.

Markovitz’s company, Argosy Education Group, took over John Marshall in 1999 at a time when it was facing a critical juncture as one of Atlanta’s three remaining night law schools.

The Georgia Supreme Court had decreed that all law schools in the state must become accredited by the American Bar Association or lose Georgia accreditation, which would mean shutting down. Atlanta’s other two night law schools, Atlanta Law School and Woodrow Wilson College of Law, ended up closing.

Markovitz took Argosy Education Group public in 1999, but in 2001 he bought back John Marshall from Argosy. With an infusion of capital and new management from Markovitz, the law school achieved ABA accreditation in 2005. At the time, it was one of only three independent law schools in the country to be ABA-accredited and the only one that was for-profit.

Markovitz has donated his equity and ownership interest in the school to a newly created Georgia nonprofit, Atlanta Law Center, that now operates Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, effectively giving back the law school’s assets to the law school.

“John Marshall Law School was founded in 1933 as a nonprofit institution with the specific mission of providing legal education for those underserved by the then-existing establishment. That mission has continued uninterrupted to this day,” Markovitz said in an announcement.

“I am now delighted that my initial goals have been realized and the law school can once again become a true community asset, functioning as a fully qualified 501(c)(3) able to accept charitable gifts and donations in furtherance of its mission,” Markovitz said.

By Meredith Hobbs | January 15, 2021 at 02:07 PM

Link to Article in Daily Report.

Atlanta BeltLine to get $2.3M city loan to build ‘vital link’ to Westside neighborhoods

A magenta line marks where the planned Westside BeltLine Connector Trail is to go.

The city’s economic development arm has approved a $2.3 million loan to build a “vital link” connecting the Atlanta Beltline to the Westside, an area that’s on the rise but where some historic communities are still suffering from disinvestment.

The Invest Atlanta board approved loaning Atlanta BeltLine Inc. $2.3 million in Westside Tax Allocation District funding so it can complete construction of the Westside BeltLine Connector Trail in English Avenue and Vine City by February. The spur trail project is expected to spark economic investment in the long-overlooked Westside neighborhoods by providing them a direct link to the Beltline corridor. Millions of dollars in investment has already been made along the main Westside Trail.

Segment one of the Westside BeltLine Connector Trail is currently under construction.

Segment 2 of the Westside BeltLine Connector Trail would extend from Western Avenue to Law Street. The $2.3 million loan is expected to cover costs for segment 1 and segment 2 from Western Avenue to Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard.

The entire 3-mile Westside BeltLine Connector Trail is a partnership between ABI and the PATH Foundation and is divided into three segments. Segment one in English Avenue near the Georgia World Congress Center is already under construction. The $2.3 million would cover costs for segment one and a portion of segment two, ending at Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard because this area is within the Westside TAD boundaries. Cost for segment 3 is not yet known.

Atlanta BeltLine Inc. requested the loan after a $150-plus million capital campaign by the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, the fundraising arm for the massive urban revitalization project, fell short this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The main Beltline trails have a variety of funding sources, including bonds and Beltline TAD funds. Connector trails and transit, however, rely on additional sources of funding, such as private donations and philanthropic contributions.

The Westside TAD currently has $15.2 million available for new projects with the remaining $58 million restricted to debt service, operating expenses and approved projects, according to Invest Atlanta.

The Atlanta Beltline is a planned 22-mile loop of multi-use trails, parks and transit along old railroad corridors that circle the city’s central core that would connect 45 diverse neighborhoods. At an estimated cost of $5 billion, it is one of the country’s largest urban revitalization and economic development projects.

By  – Reporter, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta Business Chronicle


New mega-projects on Atlanta’s west side illustrate growing tension between investment and forced displacement.

Lincoln Property Co. has started pre-development work at Echo Street West, a planned $227 million revitalization of 19 acres at the intersection of Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway and Northside Drive.

New mega-projects on Atlanta’s west side illustrate growing tension between two powerful forces — a desire for investment in the city’s poorest neighborhoods and apprehension it may force displacement of longtime residents.

That dynamic is seen in the recent sale of Quarry Yards, a development site on the edge of the Bellwood Quarry that could transform Grove Park and neighborhoods farther west for a generation. A local real estate affiliate of Microsoft Crop. bought Quarry Yards for $127 million, Atlanta Business Chronicle reported Sept. 10. The project is expected to feature office space, market-rate and affordable housing, stores and restaurants.

However, Grove Park neighborhood advocates, who are working on preserving affordable housing and bringing new services to the community, have not yet heard from Microsoft officials or the city.

They are becoming anxious.

Georgia Tech, a pipeline of computer engineering talent, is an influence on Microsoft’s expansion and a driver of growth on the city’s west side, where other vulnerable neighborhoods such as English Avenue are poised for even more change.

Westside Paper, the adaptation of a 15.2-acre former industrial campus.  Third & Urban and FCP are developing the project.
Westside Paper, the adaptation of a 15.2-acre former industrial campus. Third & Urban and FCP are developing the project.

Lincoln Property Co. has started pre-development work at Echo Street West, a planned $227 million revitalization of 19 acres at the intersection of Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway and Northside Drive. It’s just west of Georgia Tech’s campus, where the university is planning a $750-million expansion of Technology Enterprise Park.

“We now sit squarely between two tech giants in Georgia Tech and Microsoft,” Tony Bartlett, executive vice president of Lincoln Property, who leads the firm’s commercial activities in Georgia, recently told Atlanta Business Chronicle.


Closer to Georgia Tech, a joint venture of Atlanta-based developer Third & Urban and Maryland private equity firm FCP have launched the revitalization of the former The Atlanta Paper Co. plant at 950 West Marietta. Now underway, it will stand by the King Plow Arts Center and Puritan Mill – two projects that started the adaptive reuse development trend more than 20 years ago — and near a cluster of new office buildings, hotels and restaurants in nearby West Midtown.

“Georgia Tech is a huge economic driver,” said Third & Urban partner Chris Faussemagne. “The amount of talented graduates that come out of the university is not only a benefit to our project but to the city of Atlanta.”

What’s happening on Atlanta’s west side tells a larger story about a renaissance of investment and development and population growth inside the city, said Tim Keane, commissioner with the department of planning.

For much of the 80s and 90s, development focused in Atlanta’s northern suburbs along Georgia 400 or on Peachtree Road in places like Buckhead, a wealthy neighborhood on the city’s northern edge.

“If Atlanta continued as a region to invest only on the outskirts of the city, it would have been a problem for everyone,” Keane said. “Atlanta’s most critical shift is the increase in population and investment in the city.”

Indeed the city’s population has surpassed 506,000 and continues to grow.

Keane, however, is also realistic about the challenges an unprecedented wave of investment and development into Atlanta’s poorest neighborhoods will bring. Gentrification can be a divisive term, often borne from the instinct to “be protective of people that have lived here a long time and who are vulnerable to being displaced,” Keane said.

The city is sensitive to the concerns.

“We are doing everything we can to minimize forcible displacement of people,” Keane said.

The west side development boom offers a lens into steps the city took and future actions it could make to prevent downsides of over-development and gentrification. For example, the city created the idea for an anti-displacement tax fund. It could be expanded.

Another idea may be new zoning to create more housing options. For example, what if the regulations were tweaked so that “not all the new houses within neighborhoods have to be large single family homes?” Keane said. “We can create the ability to build more affordably and have a more diverse city.”

Grove Park is a microcosm of tension between much-needed investment and development and the fear of widespread displacement. The neighborhood, which stands along Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway near the Bankhead MARTA station and Bellwood Quarry, is one of Atlanta’s poorest areas. Its average disposable income is just over $20,000. It has no pharmacy or grocery store. Almost one in four residents lack health insurance and some still live on dirt roads.

Debra Edelson, whose work is focused on Grove Park’s anti-displacement and revitalization efforts, said, “All communities on the Westside want more investment. They also want investment that fits their lifestyle and values.”

Debra Edelson, executive director Grove Park Foundation, at Quarry Yards, a development site on the edge of the Bellwood Quarry that could transform Grove Park and neighborhoods.
Debra Edelson, executive director Grove Park Foundation, at Quarry Yards, a development site on the edge of the Bellwood Quarry that could transform Grove Park and neighborhoods.
By  – Commercial Real Estate Editor, Atlanta Business Chronicle

New 16-story residential tower continues urban revitalization of Downtown’s SoNo neighborhood

The new apartment tower has a $55 million construction loan and forms a wave of investment planned for the area south of North Avenue.

The new apartment tower has a $55 million construction loan and forms a wave of investment planned for the area south of North Avenue.

A 16-story apartment tower is the latest project sparking long-awaited revitalization within Atlanta’s SoNo district.

Woodfield Development just purchased the nearly 1.1-acre site at 505 Courtland St. where it will build the 284-unit project. It’s the first residential tower to be developed in SoNo in the past 10 years.

Woodfield paid just under $7.9 million for the development site, a record price in SoNo based on a land per square foot value. It’s a reminder of the new investment finally pouring into the area.

While SoNo features Atlanta landmarks such as the 55-story gold-crowned Bank of America Plaza, for years development has been sluggish compared with other parts of the city such a Midtown, West Midtown and areas along the Beltline Eastside Trail.

But Australian real estate firm Drapac Capital Partners believed in SoNo. Five years ago, it paid just over $1.7 million for the site at 505 Courtland, then sold it to Woodfield this month for nearly five times that value.

The project will add 284 apartment to the SONO district of Atlanta, an area between Midtown and downtown that includes the Emory University hospital campus.
The project will add 284 apartment to the SONO district of Atlanta, an area between Midtown and downtown that includes the Emory University hospital campus.
Chief Operating Officer Sebastian Drapac said in a release about the sale that a surge of more development into SoNo stems from “a serious shortage of sites in Midtown.” Drapac also suggested more projects could be coming to the neighborhood, which has long been a gap between Midtown and Downtown.

“We need to remember that Atlanta’s rapid urbanization story is still in its infancy,” Drapac said.

Lenders are also buying into SoNo’s renewal. Santander Bank N.A. is providing a $54.7 million construction loan for the nearly $90 million apartment tower, according to Fulton County property deeds. Woodfield’s Patrick Kassin said his firm will break ground on the project in September.

Commercial Real Estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE: JLL) marketed the site. JLL’s Scott Cullen said the tower “will be a shot in the arm for further development.” Emory University is a catalyst. Just one block west of Woodfield’s project, Emory started construction on a 17-story cancer treatment tower. A few blocks away, Atlanta developer Portman Holdings is working on a proposal with MARTA to develop a 480,000-square-foot office tower and 275-room hotel over the North Avenue transit station.

Almost 1,650 residential units are already under construction in downtown Atlanta, according to Central Atlanta Progress, a group of business leaders and planners that guide development. Another 6,000 downtown units are in planning.

The mini-residential boom has sparked the need for more pedestrian-oriented streets. The city’s Department of City Planning has studiedtransforming downtown’s Peachtree Street, from North Avenue to Marietta Street, into a less car-centric corridor.

By  – Commercial Real Estate Editor, Atlanta Business Chronicle (August 31, 2020)


Longstanding Skate Escape Publicly Re-Listed For Sale After Deal Falls Through

With more than 40 years in business under their belt, Owners Janice Phillips and Bob Orlowski are ready to retire.

Skate Escape - Midtown, Atlanta - For Sale

Skate Escape and its parcel of land which sits at the corner of 12th Street and Piedmont Avenue at the “front door of Piedmont Park” was recently re-listed for sale, Rob Kincheloe, the broker who holds the listing, Monday told What Now Atlanta (WNA) in a telephone interview. The sales price has not been disclosed.

The corner space, which has been home to the bike shop since 1979, was first listed for sale in February 2019 when Skate Escape Owners Janice Phillips and Bob Orlowski decided it was time to retire. Unfortunately, a deal that was under contract for the property, fell through, according to Kincheloe. This time around, Phillips and Orlowski wanted to be more public with the listing, so they had Kincheloe hang banners outside the bike shop recently.

But when the for-sale sign went up, so did suspicion from neighbors and passersby that Skate Escape had shuttered and was the latest victim of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Skate Escape is still open and “selling bikes like hotcakes,” Kincheloe said. “Skate Escape will stay open until we find a buyer, and if the new buyer wants to keep operating a bike shop, it may never close.”

The property is zoned for residential and retail and both industries have expressed interest in buying, according to Kincheloe.

“This is the first time the property has been available in 40 years. The adjacent property has been listed for 14 years but until the Skate Escape corner became available, there hasn’t been much interest in that property. Now buyers are looking at both, together.”

Tim Holdroyd, who represents the seller of the neighboring circa 1900s building, at 1094 Piedmont Ave NE, told WNA Monday that the properties are the “most complicated parcels of real estate in the City of Atlanta.”

“In my opinion, both properties have to go together, but every sophisticated commercial real estate professional I know has looked at this property and determined it wasn’t worth their time,” Holdroyd said along with a laundry list of reasons why in 14 years he hasn’t been able to get a deal done including zoning and building height restrictions, among other things.

Phillips and Orlowski at one point operated both buildings. The corner building, which dons the Skate Escape name, was built in 1948 as a service station and today acts as the bicycle repair shop and sales center. The older adjacent property, at 1094 Piedmont Ave., was originally an Anheuser-Busch yeast manufacturing facility and acted as the business’ skate shop. They consolidated both the skate and bike shop several years back into the corner parcel property they own.

Skate Escape was not immediately available when reached by What Now Atlanta for comment Monday

By: Caleb J. Spivak (July 27, 2020 6:39 pm)



Exploring the Beltline’s downtown Connector corridor and what it could mean for Atlanta

Recently acquired “critical link” aims to open Beltline and downtown access for English Avenue, Bankhead, beyond

It’sIt’s a drizzly afternoon at a place most Atlantans have never been: an elevated, abandoned railroad corridor directly west of Bank of America Plaza, the city’s tallest building. Given the corridor’s narrow width, height above neighborhood streets, and skyline views across rooftops and graffiti-strewn warehouses, it feels a bit like New York City’s High Line, in some nascent early phase before the tourist influx.

Closer to the corridor than Midtown sky-rises, however, are scenes indicative of economic activity (and disparity) most Atlantans are very familiar with. Along Northside Drive, a 12-acre, mixed-income redevelopment of Herndon Homes led by Atlanta Housing Authority looks like a rolling pasture of red clay; it’s meant to be a catalyst for future development but also a beacon of diversity. Meanwhile, even closer, the exterior wall of a film production studio is being enlivened with a Greg Mike mural, in collaboration with Porsche.

It’s the disparate forces of a changing Atlanta commingling, and this railroad corridor—a future Atlanta Beltline link that leaders call crucial—is right in the middle of it.

In February, Beltline officials announced they’d closed a deal with church-led Bethursday Development Corporation to use $5.1 million in TSPLOST dollars and acquire a former rail segment described as a “major piece” and “critical link” to the grand scheme of multi-use trails across Atlanta.

The dotted blue line shows the most recently purchased path area. The bold purple section represents the “kudzu line” and a planned Beltline section branching north.
Atlanta Beltline Inc.

Stretching three-quarters of a mile, the corridor had been owned by several religious groups and colloquially known as the “church line.” It starts where Northside Drive meets Joseph E. Boone Boulevard, across the street from the Georgia World Congress Center.

From there, it extends northwest to Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, through an area with an unsavory, drug-addled reputation known as “the Bluff,” before linking with another nicknamed segment: the 1.8-mile “kudzu line,” which will eventually be incorporated as part of the Beltline’s Westside Trail.

If that’s confusing, take heart in knowing the pastiche of trail monikers is going away soon.

A closer look at the kudzu line (in blue), which was purchased by the Beltline for $6.3 million in August, and the planned mainline Beltline it would link to.
Atlanta Beltline Inc.

The entire three-mile trail will be known as the Westside Beltline Connector. And it will allow anyone at, say, Centennial Olympic Park to bicycle, ride e-scooters, jog, or simply walk from downtown, via protected lanes, to the mainline Beltline and under-construction Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry, planned to be the city’s largest green space.

More importantly, project leaders say, the collaboration between the Beltline and PATH Foundation will lend transportation options and trail connectivity to neighborhoods—namely English Avenue, Bankhead, Knight Park, and Howell Station—that have thus far been largely cut off.

“You talk to folks in English Avenue and Vine City, and they feel a little disconnected to the Beltline, because they’re not neighborhoods that are right on it,” says Beltline spokeswoman Jenny Odom. “This will connect them into the Beltline, very directly.”

When the latest corridor purchase was announced in February, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom described it as helping pave the way “for a more unified and accessible Atlanta.” We recently ventured with project officials into the swampy corridor, following a string of stormy days, for a firsthand look at how this unification vision might play out.

“We’re going to make this trail a showstopper,” predicts PATH Foundation executive director Ed McBrayer. “I hope the Westside is ready to get something really cool.”

As they have with projects spanning from Proctor Creek to the wildly popular Eastside Trail, PATH is collaborating with the Beltline to make the Connector piece a reality. McBrayer describes it as a means of traveling paved trails and bike lanes from around Ponce City Market and points east to downtown, the Westside, and potentially all the way to the Silver Comet Trail.

Along the way, the Connector trail will bisect English Avenue, which the New York Times described in 2017 as one of the poorest neighborhoods in the Southeast, where roughly 40 percent of residents were living in poverty. Alongside neighboring Vine City, police data showed English Avenue as being the city’s most high-crime area for years, in terms of calls for assistance and violent offenses; but since 2016, crimes across all categories have plunged by more than 40 percent, thanks to the installation of surveillance cameras, homes reserved for officers, and the broader philanthropic efforts of groups such as the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and Quest, according to the Atlanta Police Foundation.

But despite a retention strategy—including an Anti-Displacement Tax Relief Fund for homeowners that launched in 2017—the area’s population continues to dip, and just 17 percent of residents in the broader Westside are homeowners, as officials told Curbed Atlanta earlier this year.

In places, the Connector piece provides the flipside view of Atlanta than what Eastside Trail patrons see: landmarks such as Westin Peachtree Plaza and the Coca-Cola Headquarters sweep off to Atlantic Station’s high-rises at left. From a socioeconomic standpoint, a place like English Avenue might be the flipside of tony neighborhoods such as Virginia-Highland, but that doesn’t mean residents won’t have a voice, as project leaders stress. McBrayer says community feedback in forthcoming meetings, likely beginning with NPU-L this month, will dictate what the trail becomes and how it’s used.

“We’re already done the survey, gotten it back, and we’re going to propose an alignment with illustrations and seek neighborhood feedback,” McBrayer says. “If they want a connection to a particular street, then we’ll try to work that in. If they don’t want railing on a particular overlook, then we can change.

“We want to assimilate into the neighborhood as best we can,” he adds. “There will be plenty of places to get on the trail, and it’ll become an integral part of the neighborhood.”

PATH has recently installed a cycle track leading out of downtown on Marietta Boulevard and, two years ago, bike lanes that span over Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard.

Where those meet Northside Drive is where the new Connector segment will begin.

Next, an existing tree-lined park space across Northside Drive from the GWCC could act as a respite for trail patrons.

Renderings for the Connector trail’s southernmost beginnings are too tentative to publicly share, but plans generally call for the path to boomerang around these GWCC beehives (below) and then bridge over Joseph E. Boone Boulevard, the gateway to Vine City.

Due to the proximity of a substation and transmission lines next door, Georgia Power has to sign off on trail plans here, and that process is ongoing, says Stacey Patton, the Beltline’s vice president of real estate.

A complete streets makeover is underway on Joesph E. Boone Boulevard, a couple of blocks east of the forthcoming, $45 million Rodney Cook Sr. Park.

The abandoned railroad corridor is visible at right (below), and a new trail bridge planned to cross over this street will have to meet higher clearance standards than one demolished years ago.

“The pedestrian bridge we’re going to be building will have extraordinary views of downtown,” says McBrayer. “And we’re going to have a plaza up on the hump, if you will, where everybody’s going to be taking photos of downtown and everything. It’s unobstructed views from the Westside.”

Next is a view from Jones Avenue, looking back toward Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Engineers are assessing now whether this bridge—and another three blocks north at Jett Street—can be refurbished and reused.

The railroad spur, when active, serviced industrial properties on both sides of the corridor. This section has been dormant for two decades, says Patton.

The bridge over Jones Avenue, from below, as the trail heads toward Meldrum Street.

Next the trail will dip back to street-grade and cut behind the Northside Village Apartments, which face Northside Drive. Plans call for widening an existing sidewalk and slinking behind the building here.

Beyond the apartments, the trail corridor rises again, where work to clear trash—including more than 300 tires to date—and vegetated debris is ongoing.

“It is so sweet,” says Patton of the views from this vantage. “One of the nicest [Beltline] elevations.”

At Jett Street, as seen from the sidewalk below, is the second old railroad bridge undergoing an engineering analysis.

Beyond that is a bridge-less section over Cameron Madison Alexander Boulevard—the second of three elevated gaps where bridges will have to be rebuilt, all still in design. PATH’s McBrayer downplays bridge construction as being any sort of significant hurdle.

“We’re on about our 80th bridge,” he says. “Bridges are no big deal.”

Over a lost section of Meldrum Street, where a campsite has replaced vehicle traffic, another gap is visible.

Beyond this point, the Connector trail will swoop down to ground level again and remain there, via more recently decommissioned railroad lines, until reaching the future mainline Beltline.

The cleared corridor, as seen from North Avenue, looking toward Travis Street, is no longer elevated.

Abutting the trail is Grace Midtown, one of six churches along the trail, where a renovation that installed picturesque outdoor seating areas is expected to wrap in coming weeks.

Just across Travis Street from the church, with a side lot fronting the trail, is rapper T.I.’s newly opened Trap Music Museum and Escape Room, where weekend entry lines sometimes span the block.

Continuing northwestward on the trail, the Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway bridge is reflected in puddles along the corridor.

Beltline officials provided this image and rendering depicting how the trail and adjacent properties could look at Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway.

Tentative plans for the Westside Beltline Connector as it would pass under Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway. [Images courtesy of Atlanta Beltline Inc.] A photo of a worn-down building bordered by a thick brush of green trees. In the background is the Atlanta skyline. and A rendering of an updated building with the word “Cafe” on it is superimposed over the photo of the dilapidated structure flanked by trees.

After crossing several other at-grade streets, the corridor enters what previously was known as the kudzu line, as seen here near Law Street.

The rail line through this area has been inactive for about five years, and CSX is expected to have all remaining infrastructure removed by May, Patton says.

Next the corridor passes beneath a Marietta Boulevard bridge and meets active railroad lines.

Patton says the Beltline bought a small, triangular parcel in this area to bring the trail up to Marietta Boulevard, where lanes to Huff Road are planned to be converted into the Beltline, providing a link between the existing Westside Trail and the future northwestern segment.

The hope is that PATH, at that point, will break west to link with the existing, 61-mile Silver Comet Trail.

As for a timeline, officials say Atlantans can expect to see construction on this more pedestrian-friendly Connector soon.

The Beltline’s TSPLOST-funded outlay of more than $11 million paid only for acquisition of the rail corridors, a means of securing the land. Cost estimates for the full three-mile Connector are pending design finalizations, but each segment is planned to open with lighting, cameras, and other infrastructure.

The Beltline is still working to buy a few necessary, adjacent parcels, while McBrayer says PATH is raising and contributing $5 million from the private sector.

The first planned section where Joseph E. Boone Boulevard meets Northside Drive is almost ready to enter permitting phases, McBrayer says. Following neighborhood meetings, construction to bring the trail from there to the Northside Village Apartments, a section of a few blocks, is expected to launch this fall and take about six months to finish, likely next spring.

Meanwhile, the former kudzu line section will enter design phases and ancillary property acquisitions. As McBrayers sees it, the whole Connector trail can be funded and built within three years, providing the missing link to downtown and vice versa.

“To have the connection to downtown—I think it’s amazing,” says Patton. “There were so many people down there at the Super Bowl; with an electric bike rental, they could have been at the quarry park.”