BeltLine Design Review Committee Says Proposed Chick-fil-A ‘Not Good Urbanism,’ Rejects Plans

ABI is asking project planners to revise the 'suburban and very car-centric' proposal that aims to bring a ground-up Chick-fil-A to the intersection of Boulevard and Ponce de Leon Avenue

Chick-fil-A on Wednesday met with the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.’s (ABI) Design Review Committee (DRC) over a rezoning proposal to convert a Texaco gas station at the intersection of Boulevard and Ponce de Leon Avenue, into its newest restaurant. What Now Atlanta (WNA) first uncovered the fast-casual chicken chain’s plans for the site earlier this year, followed by detailed renderings and the rezoning application. Given its positioning within the BeltLine Overlay District, the project was required to go through the DRC as part of the planning process, although ultimately, zoning decisions are made by the City’s planning office.

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The ground-up Chick-fil-A was not well-received by the DRC, according to a recap of the Nov. 18 meeting provided to WNA Friday. “The DRC did not support the five variations to the BeltLine Overlay District,” the spokesperson said. “The DRC does not support this overall project, as it does not represent good urbanism.”

But the rejection isn’t the end of the project, planned at 689 Boulevard NE, next door to Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Instead, project planners have been asked to revise the proposal. “While the DRC understands the site is constrained in part by an access easement; the project is still suburban and very car-centric,” the spokesperson said. “The DRC recommends that the applicant further coordinates with ABI’s Project Manager leading the Ponce Streetscape Project, revisit the proposed Norway maple trees on site as it’s an invasive species, and it does not support the 24” accent seat wall.”

Chick-fil-A has long been vying for a location on this stretch of Ponce. In 2016, rumors circulated that Dugan’s sports bar near Ponce City Market would close and become an outpost of the Atlanta-based restaurant chain. Dugan’s is still open and operating.

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

11 Responses

  1. I’m not a fan of Chik-Fil-A, but I don’t see a problem with being next to Popeyes. That’s not even on the beltline so I don’t know why ABI would get a say in it. This makes no sense.

    1. This is the Beltline overlap district. The ABI has plans to make Ponce more pedestrian and bike friendly from Boulevard to Freedom Parkway.

      1. I understand the overlap district. I’m just saying that there are already fast food joints in that section of Ponce between Boulevard and Freedom Parkway. McDonalds, Cookout, Popeyes. What’s one more? Besides, I’d rather see a Chik-Fil-A there than the Texaco station where the riff raff hang out. 🙂

  2. Also not a fan of Chik-Fil-A.
    I guess you gotta start somewhere, and with someone, if the goal is to make that part of Ponce more pedestrian friendly.
    But wow, it looks much better than all the fast food joints in that area (not to mention the gas station).
    Fast food is all about drive-thru, and if we’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s that restaurants are clamoring for drive-thru, and walk-up/carryout windows.
    That being said, I’m glad there’s some oversight on new businesses in that area– and Chik-Fil-A has the bucks to design better.
    Some clarity on the 24″ accent seat wall would be helpful– is it inside, or outside, and what seems to be the problem with it? Maybe vagrants taking a snooze there is the concern.

  3. CFA should tell them to shove it up their A$$ and move on to another spot. All the rif riff and crap in that area and they are worried about it fitting in….LOL. Give me a break

  4. I agree with ”Mayor Pete” in strong condemnation of Chick Fil A’s corporate culture but ”damn they make a good chicken sandwich”. As an architect I would hope the the company could produce a more urban friendly design but considering the other aesthetically challenged fast foods joints and other businesses in the immediate area not to mention the trouble attracting gas station / convenience store it will replace, I have to believe the principals in this refusal may eventually regret their decision.

  5. Please take some time and review their plan for this corner/intersection – I have no doubt it would result in major traffic disruptions, delays and most likely accidents. A big subset of society loves fast food and Chick Fil A, and since it will be mainly a drive through, the traffic in and out will be a mess…basically a big parking lot spilling out into the street. Plus, we as a city can do much better than plopping down a very suburban fast food joint in the middle of what we are trying to make into a walkable, less car centric, more unique, Beltline centered neighborhood. Of course Popeyes and other fast food/poorly designed businesses are nearby, and if/when they transfer or rebuild they should be put to the same standards. Times change, and IMO for the better in this case.

  6. The Chick-fil-a in Reynoldstown that sits ALONGSIDE the Atlanta Beltline is one that should have failed for urban design – Anyone walking into that restaurant has to dodge several car cross points – in a very congested and poorly designed area for traffic flow. Considering how far this store is from the Beltline – This critique seems off without some modifications to the Reyonldstown store to make that location more pedestrian friendly first, IMHO

    1. If by Reynoldstown you mean Glenwood Park, that’s a Fuqua development and everyone knows Fuqua is exempt from all pedestrian considerations.

      On this new location, Boulevard & Ponce is an interesting place to make a stand for “good urbanism.”

    2. I think the Glenwood Park Chick-fil-A shows better urbanism that this one. At least there, you can walk straight down those stairs from the Beltline and into the restaurant. Even with their relatively large parking lot, the drive-thru line still backs into the street at lunch rush. Seems like the overlay district should just explicitly outlaw drive-thrus. Otherwise you’re essentially penalizing high traffic drive-thrus for attempting to manage the volume responsibly.

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