industry insights

Expert weighs in on the future of Atlantic Station

0 167 61 shares    
Sales Leads Trial - Grey

Expert weighs in on the future of Atlantic Station

atlantic station: past, present and future ~ what now, atlanta?

How realistic is the new developer's hopes of an "Evolution?"

Atlantic station reminds me of the Atlanta Falcons performance in the playoffs this year: the hype before opening up on the big stage was set only for it to fall flat on its face.

As both a condominium owner, member of the Homeowners Association (HOA) executive board, and real estate professional, the whole "evolution," or lack there of, has been painful to watch.

I dare not say “Underground Atlanta”, but the comparisons are clearly there. The concept of Atlantic Station was and still is the perfect idea for an urban sprawled city such as Atlanta and has the potential to offer a festive and unique atmosphere for families, residents, and tourists to enjoy.

The ATLofts, Atlantic Station's 330 plus unit development that initially sold out to young professionals, represented the development's  initial vision. Keep in mind, this represented more than 600 full time residents. Plagued by delays caused by poor construction, the completion of ATLofts were postponed by nearly a year, and when they were finally complete, the initial buyers who had planned to live in there, had purchased elsewhere, or no longer had the interest to live at Atlantic Station. The vision that excited them to the concept of Atlantic Station was clearly failing to translate.

When the units were ready for closings, Atlantic station already had a bad reputation of crime and cruising.

The hype had disappeared and failed. What was supposed to be a vibrant live, work, play setting, was now a retail area with dark lights of empty homes, nesting above the retail. Retailers did not have the support of true local residents. The “daily shopper” changed from a full time, live in resident, to a destination point for outsiders.

The layout is an issue as well.

Target and IKEA, the two largest traffic drivers of Atlantic Station are technically not part of Atlantic Station. When patrons frequent these stores, they are not steered to indulge themselves in the additional amenities offered by Atlantic Station.

While the movie theater is in an ideal location, the patrons it attracts are not ideal: young teenage kids, dropped off at Atlantic Station for hours who do not have the funds to shop at the different retailers.

Next time you are at Atlantic Station, take notice of how many people are actually carrying shopping bags, not labeled Publix.

The "evolution" is possible but it will take time.

Right now is a critical juncture: either it rebounds and reclaims what could have been or as tenants continue to default on rent, stores continue to close, and leases begin to expire (five year leases are approaching expiration, tenants will have to chose to renew or not), it will continue its downward spiral.

Atlantic Station will have to win back the trust and business of both retailers and patrons, those who originally believed in the project.

The most important supporting factor that could jump start said "evolution" is that the new owners purchased the asset at a distressed purchase price. As a result, they can deviate from the original financial projections required by the initial developer and still reach attractive returns on their investment. Having a significantly reduced entry price allows the new owners to lower the rental rates on vacant retail suites and still hit the rate of returns they need to satisfy their targeted rate of return on costs.

Current Atlantic Station retailers can restructure their leases ensuring their overhead costs are lowered and can remain in business. The initial rental rates paired with the absurdly high triple net lease (Net-Net-Net or NNN) pass through charges are damaging to attract the “right” tenants. But the new owners have the ability to adjust these charges to remain competitive and attractive to these tenants.

Where the original developer may have needed to rent space at $30 per square foot to cover their initial basis, the new owner can cover their basis, but at say, $20 per square foot and hit the same returns.

Atlantic station shopping needs to distinguish themselves from the “norm."

This means a unique shopping experience with more boutique clothing stores, furniture stores, or specialty shops. Patrons will want to go if a need is created. Commercial stores such as Old Navy, Gap, J Crew, etc., offer a nice mix to the boutique stores and are the less risky play for a landlord but it also leaves patrons deciding between going to the generic retailer at Atlantic station versus the generic retailer at any mall in Georgia.

One-off retailers or retailers that are corporate, yet still boutique in their number of locations, is what the development needs. The perfect destination tenant would be Apple. Urban Outfitters or Anthropology would provide a nice edgy attraction, something like LuLu Lemon would create some buzz and Nordstrom or Saks would also be ideal to replace the low budget Dillards. IMAX is a great addition and it works because it's needed; there is no competition in the city.

Past events such as Cirque De Sole, Taste of Atlanta, The Christmas Tree Lighting and associated fake snow at Santa’s Village, Weekend Art Fairs, Train Rides, Fashion Trunk Shows, Bodies exhibit, Dialogue in the Dark, even the constant music playing in the streets, are all steps in the right direction. These events make Atlantic Station unique from anywhere in the city.

Make me want to go there for an experience that I cannot have elsewhere. Make me want to have brunch there and spend the rest of the day enjoying the various shopping and eating venues. Virginia Highlands has succeeded at this and Decatur has as well. Atlantic Station, as currently constructed, is simply put, an outside generic mall.

The dining scene needs to change.

The difficult task the new owners face is in a poor economy, who will want to invest in opening a new concept? While restaurants like Fox Sports Grill, California Pizza Kitchen (Corporate), and Strip have done well, the overpriced “celebrity” concepts of Dolce, Geisha House, and Ten Pin have truly struggled to even pay rent. What will happen if they go under? That's more than 20,000 square feet of restaurant space available, making an entire wing of Atlantic Station empty that will mirror the vacant and dark windows of the lofts.

Atlantic Station needs to incentivize local restaurateurs to open up, creating a forum for Atlanta dining: Highland Bakery (unfortunately went to 14th), a Metro Entertainment Concept (ie: Einsteins, Garrisons, etc), Flying Biscuit, Goldbergs, or a Fifth Group Concept.

Atlanta born restaurants, combined with Atlanta boutique shopping, will help create an "evolution" that is Atlantic Station; something Atlanta can call its own and represents the very best our city has to offer.

Shaun Weinstock

Intown residents Shaun Weinstock and Dotan Zuckerman are innovative Real Estate professionals with nearly 20 years of combined experience in helping retail and office clients align their real estate with their objectives. To learn more, visit www.weinstockrd.com or email our expert: Shaun@whatnowatlanta.brightidea.io

Sales Leads Trial - After Blog

167 responses to “Expert weighs in on the future of Atlantic Station

  1. In my opinion, Atlantic Station happened way too soon. The developers should have put the money toward building up the retail in midtown (on one of the streets off of peachtree). Atlanta has many ok areas, but really lacks a solid core. There are no "complete" areas.

  2. Thoughtful and well-written writeup, I really enjoyed it!

    Clearly, there is a "perfect storm" converging to help kick off this evolution of Atlantic Station. The new owners want to change the property to fulfill the potential it's always had. The residents of Atlanta want a modern, unique, walkable urban shopping and dining district. And retailers/business owners want to be in prime locations where they can meet the needs to these target markets. If they see customer demand in the Atlantic Station area, they will want to be there.

    All the major stakeholders want Atlantic Station to evolve and succeed. With the new ownership seeking suggestions and feedback, the opportunity is finally there for the Atlanta community (residents, businesses, real estate people) to work together to MAKE this place a success!

  3. I would like to add that shelter from the elements might be something to consider as a suggestion to get the masses shopping at A.S. The lack of being able to shop on rainy, wintry, cold and other days with adverse weather conditions must affect business there greatly. A further improvement would be to review the parking situation, both signage and how you pay(it is very frustrating to get behind someone at the eit gates only to find out they didn't know that they needed to pay near the stairs and NOT at the exit....I hope that Atlantic Station will survive but it will only happen if shopping there isn't seen as such a burden and traumatic!

  4. I go to Atlantic Station more frequently than most -- but not as often as I'd like.

    For me, the main disincentive is access. I don't own a car, and get around by bicycle and public transit.

    The bicycle access inside Atlantic Station is fantastic, and approaching southern Midtown through Georgia Tech is very good. But getting to the core of Midtown is a bit dodgy, as the bike lanes run out just past the 17th Street Bridge -- at exactly the point where the road is narrowing and traffic is fighting for space. But I think there are easy fixes to this problem: While it is (and should be) illegal to ride a bike on a sidewalk, riding on a shared bike/pedestrian path is fine. The new sidewalk on 14th Street is easily wide enough to serve as such a path, without creating any safety issues for pedestrians in the shared environment -- but it is not (yet) so designated. Simply declaring the 14th street sidewalks to be a bike/pedestrian path would make an enormous difference. Similarly, bike lanes (or just sharrows within the right lane) would make a huge difference for bike access on 10th street.

    As for transit, I wish the Atlantic Station shuttles provided fuller access to the other side of the expressway. My preference would be for them to run in a counterclockwise loop something like this: Arts Center, IKEA, Georgia Tech, North Avenue Station, Peachtree Street, Midtown Station, Arts Center Station. If that's not feasible, maybe a loop just down to the Midtown Station would work. And real-time bus locations would really help: If Atlantic Station would equip its shuttles with GPS and make real-time locations available online, it would be a total game changer. Emory's shuttle system does this, and it has boosted ridership enormously (see http://emory.transloc.com/m/ -- but note that while it's not exciting interface as it displays in Firefox or IE, the presentation on an Android or iPhone is awesome). They could put QR codes for the URL for the tracking system at every stop, so that people with smartphones could just scan the QR code and see where the shuttles were at that moment in time -- thus positioning Atlantic Station as a forward-thinking, easy-to-access place.

    While I'm on the subject of the Atlantic Station shuttles, I'm not a fan of the fact that you select your stop by telling the driver where you're going as you board (or as the stop approaches). As a local who speaks fluent English, I can make it work -- but it puts non-English speakers and deaf people at a disadvantage. And even with locals who just aren't quite sure of the route or stop, I've seen them get flustered when asked where they're getting off. Just post a map, install pull-cords above the windows, and display a "Stop Requested" sign in front like MARTA, CCT, Emory shuttles, and other transit systems do.

  5. Had Atlantic Station landed the new-concept interactive Disney Store (instead of Perimeter), that would have helped. Where children go, their wallet-bearing parents follow.

  6. And the ABC is still reporting that Legoland Discovery Center is scouting Atlanta for one of its first retail stores in the US. If I were AS, I'd be all over that!

    Bye bye Ten Pin Alley - hello Lego!

  7. Atlantic Station was a great idea...but I think it killed the chance for the rest of Midtown to develop.

    Everything in Atlantic Station could have been built on Peachtree Street (or within a block or two thereof) in Midtown to build out the Midtown Mile. Why build a fake urban core instead of enhancing the core you already have?!

  8. It was a great concept when it first opened but the management failed to keep the bad element at bay. I agree the parking toll situation is confusing and why do they keep putting movie theaters in these places that draw a group that is not going to shop or dine there. Instead of closing the theater they are converting it to Imax, bad idea! Get rid of Fox Sports! It's going to be near impossible to put the Jeanie back in the bottle now. Good luck.

  9. If you know the owners of Dolce, Geisha House, and Ten Pin, particularly the guy who was on Million Dollar Matchmaker, you would know that going under couldn't have happened to any better people.

  10. @DD_Midtown (and others): I hear this argument a lot that Atlantic Station's resources should have gone elsewhere, and I don't understand it. The land where Atlantic Station now sits was a hideous, poisoned industrial wasteland. It was brown, fallow earth visible from both directions on the expressway as well as from the Peachtree Street bridge, providing a constant reminder to visitors and locals of just how ugly a city could be.

    Atlantic Station may not be perfect, but it is a thousand times better than the Atlantic Steel plant ever was.

    As we Atlantans contemplate where we want to go, let's now forget how far we've come, and why.

  11. Glad the article has generated good discussion here. The epic failure of Atlantic Station is a topic that can be discussed for hours. Inman Parker makes a great point about Atlanta, and why it has always struggled to create a unified identity - there are just way too many pockets and no cohesiveness in retail - for locals and tourists alike. There isn't one area, that is idea for a shopping experience. Sure we got Phipps and Lenox Mall across the street from each other, but how embarrassing is it for a top 10 city, to depend on mall shopping. Just too many developers pumping their own egos, rather than working together to build a more attractive and unified city. Streets of Buckhead would of been a potential answer, but instead we got stuck with a dirt hole; the dirt hole also did not do the city a favor by eliminating the one sure area for nightlife. Sure the scene had changed for the worse over the last 10 years, but it was still a given, cohesive area, for solid night life. Now, there is really no distinct areas to send tourists - Buckhead, Crescent Street, Downtown, Highlands, Decatur, etc. all pockets of tid bits here and there.

    I will say that Atlanta does have a top 5 quality dining scene still in place - despite its lack of big city nightlife and shopping

    I hate to do this, but Ill state what many think and what Charlie eluded to; demographics of Atlantic Station. I hope not offend anyone, but am stating general opinions about Atlantic Station; the demographics that became Atlantic Station were detrimental. Atlanta is so wonderful because it is so diverse; but if you ever been to Atlantic Station on a Friday or Saturday Night, past 8pm, you unfortunately see the lack of diversity, which should not happen in the Midtown area. Could you imagine the impression of Atlanta one may have if they stayed at Twelve Hotel on a Friday Night, and were from a small town in mostly white Iowa? It would be a culture shock. I remember when Twelve was a vibrant bar/lounge, in the lobby of my personal residents, there would be fights, hookers, hundreds of people standing around but many not buying drinks - it was rediculous. During the week, Atlantic Station offers some of the diversity in patrons it had hoped for (just not as many people as it hoped for), but at night on the weekends - which also represents when wealthy older (40 plus) Suburbanites would come to try out a restaurant and a movie or shop around after dinner, the scene at Atlantic Station, left them not coming back - too many people hanging out, cruising, bumping loud music, etc. That one experience ingrains their opinion - perception becomes their reality - and Atlantic Station loses yet another potential customer.

    One last point about Fox Sports: the crowd it attracts does not do any favors to Atlantic Station. Ive watched numerous Falcon Games there, and the sh*t talking I hear coming out of peoples mouth blows my mind that anyone would handle themselves in a restaurant like that, and that management allows it. However, last year, it was one of the top 20 gross revenue restaurants in Atlanta. Crazy!

  12. This real estate "expert" doesn't even realize there is an Anthropolgie that just opened in West Midtown and and Urban Outfitters at Ponce/N. Highland. That covers Midtown - I doubt they will open another store at AS. Also, in today's ATL Business Chronicle there was an article about how the developer wants to upgrade the storefronts, etc. so it's not so monotonous. And by the way, stores are going to close down before it gets better. If some don't close, new stuff can't open.

    Atlantic Station shopping needs to be slightly more upscale with more destination stores (H&M is trendy but cheap) and restaurants need to be more well rounded (places that serve breakfast/brunch, pubs for night time). Get rid of the "celebrity hip hop" places like someone else mentioned.

    The new Disney concept store is also a good idea. Maybe some kid store like Janie & Jack, MAC Cosmetics, Sephora, Aldo, Aerosoles, Marmi, Nordstrom or Saks, Zara, A/X, American Apparel, Lucky Brand Jeans, Baccarat, J. Crew, Abercrombie/abercrombie kids, Levi's store, Love Culture, Top Shop, Quiksilver store, maybe Apple but would rather see that on the Midtown Mile, maybe some type of upscale electronic store, a bookstore of some kind, Penzey’s Spices (love that store), REI, etc.

  13. Nordstrom, Bloomingdale, etc all turned down Atlantic Station multiple times in the mid-2000's when things looked good. Dilliard's is there for a reason.... they couldn't get anyone else.

  14. Well aware of the urban outfitters on ponce and highland, that would be called the highlands sub market, and based on accesibility is a completely different market. Pubs,restoration hardware, REI,quicksilver, etc would be fantastic, but as long as the current shoppers are the majority at a-station, none of those retailers are going to go there. The same reason why the original 8000 sf irish pub pulled out of the deal after astation was opened for 4 months. But if the new owners can just get one of them, it would go a long way to jumpstarting.

  15. How is everything in Atlanta "ghetto" or maybe I should say why are so many places perceived that way? Atlantic Station, Underground, the retail component of Lindbergh? How is this possible? Why do we let things get that way? Or is it just that white people here don't want to be around anyone that's a different color? I'm white and I do think AS gets ghetto on weekend nights, but I'm just confused how everything ends up that way?

  16. I'm going to say this very plainly, because I can't do all this hemming and hawing and talking in code ("diversity," etc.)

    Young black people who talk loudly and don't have much money don't mind hanging around in a place where there are a lot of 30-and-up, middle and upper-middle class people if there are things there that they find attractive and enjoyable (movie theater, inexpensive clothing stores and restaurants, places to just hang out). BUT, not many 30-and-up middle and upper-middle class people are going to spend time in a place where there are a lot of young black people who talk loudly and don't have much money, even if they also find that place attractive and enjoyable.

    That's why there's some undefinable point at which a place becomes "too black" and people start referring to it as "ghetto." The presence of a lot of young black people is seen by some as a signifier that a place is unsafe, even if they're no more loud an obnoxious than a large group of young, non-black people of the same age. That's when many white people start staying away and it becomes known as a "black place" and any crime that occurs within a mile of that place serves to confirm the perception that it was dangerous.

    If you only want people who are going to spend a lot of money at AS, take away the shuttles and all free parking time and double the price of parking while you're at it. Take away all public outdoor seating. Require that people spend a certain amount of money in order to be allowed to stay for more than an hour, or even charge admission just to get in. Get rid of American Eagle, H&M, DSW, Old Navy, all the quick service restaurants, and anything else "cheap." Of course that means you've just gotten rid of most tourists, students and "regular" people too.

    The point I'm trying to make is that people who you'd rather avoid often like a lot of the same things that you like. The only way to make AS "an undesirable place for them" is to make it an undesirable place for just about everyone.

  17. Seriously, the big question that was brought up on this and the other AS blog on this site is....

    How do you get rid of AS's current clientele and bring in the "right" crowd?

    Answer that, and AS will be what everyone thought it should be.

  18. @PlainJane,

    Your analogy doesn't make sense.

    You don't know how much money someone has just because they are young, black, and talk loudly. That is stereotyping.

    Most "wealthy" people stay that way by being frugal and living within their means. Atlanta was voted the most frugal city in America for a reason.

    Who is the demographic Gap, Old Navy, and AE shopper? Middle class, suburban, white and non-black people. Take away those stores and you will lose that clientele totally. Making things more expensive in this current economy, like the luxury of free parking, will create more of a problem.

    I owned a clothing store in Atlanta and had to close due to the lack of sales. I was in an upscale area with good product lines in the $200-$400 range. I learned far too late that Atlanta is not ready to spend that type of money on clothing. At the end, I experimented and brought in some cheaper things that flew off the racks but I was already in over my head.

    The majority of Atlanta likes cheap, period. Look at the price point of most of the stores and restaurants that have closed down. They are usually in the higher end range. Then look at what is still growing and thriving...opening up more stores..cheap. K-La, Fabrik, Sage, Oh-LaLa, cheap Mexican spots, etc. I personally feel that Atlanta is a cheap town that follows instead of innovates and residents don't support local businesses. They patron places because of association because "so and so" shops there or because it is always crowded so I want to follow where everyone else is going, or it's cheap. It's usually 1 of the 3.

    Atlanta Station just has a cold, inconvenient, depressing vibe to it. Most of the people that I know don't want to be bothered with the hassle, and if it's cold, forget it. They would have been better off just building a huge mall on the property instead.

  19. As the GM of the original "Grape" in Atlantic Station, I have to admit we were a little suprised at the demographic that AS drew. But after hearing all of the whining and complaining, we, my staff and I, decided to embrace the crowds. As we say, "butts in seats". We had to tweak our approach to some degree, and created many good, regular customers. The fact that we welcomed all with open arms we ended up with a great mixture of all people and, at least for the two years I was there, I had the most successful "Grape" in the company.

  20. Atlantic Station can be saved with a little bit of creativity. Here are my ideas:

    1) Get a Frye's Electronics store
    An electronic wonderland would draw people like me: males with dough that hate shopping malls, but love to buy gadgets. There's one in Alpharetta. It's truly different and great.

    2) Have a weekly Farmer's Market
    This could take advantage of the outdoor area, and draw the magical yuppie types (again, me, I'm ashamed to admit). A substitute could be a Sevenanda-type health supermarket.

    3) A gym
    A great traffic draw. This would provide traffic for smoothie/vitamin shops and other health-related stores.

    4) Health activities
    To seal the health concept, they could offer the "boot camp" in the outdoor area. Perhaps it could come with a free parking card. Want hippies? What about Frisbee football?

    5) Outdoor dining
    Nice weather brings people who'd like to eat outdoors. This should be encouraged by the AS people. Encourage aggressive lease-lining.

    6) Dog-friendly services
    People like to take their dogs with them (look at Park Tavern on 10th), and there aren't a lot of places to do this. What if short-term dog-sitting was available in the outdoor area? People could eat and watch their dogs. Or, perhaps, dogs could be permitted in some of the outdoor seating areas (for drinks??). Further, this could help encourage some pet-related stores.

    7) Drinker friendly
    Why don't I ever go out to drink very far from where I live? Because I can't drive back! A simple taxi line-up would help. And, of course, some sort of parking stamp that would allow me to SAFELY leave my car overnight would be helpful. This keeps the place populated at night and would help the bars.

    8) Hop & Pop
    It's really hard to get in and out of AS in a short period of time. That means that one can't, say, stop by for a smoothie. AS should combine some store areas with convenient short-term parking. This, alone, would expand the reasons to enter this time-sponge of a mall.

    9) Add a DMV & Drivers License Tax office
    I visited a DMV in a mall in Georgia before. What a great idea and what a terrible implementation. I wanted to kill time while I was in line, but I never knew when they were going to call my name. I could have been a captive shopper. If Atlantic Station could work with the DMV to integrate their queuing system with text messaging, this could bring in a whole new world of shoppers.

    10) Gay Friendly
    What about a gay bar? Gay businesses? Gays are real estate gold for any sort of "up and coming" area. This is a fact.

    I wish you luck, Atlantic Station. You can do it!

  21. I have read, with great interest, the 61 comments to the Jan 30 post about the evolution of Atlantic Station and the 27 comments (so far) to this one. It is encouraging that so many are interested enough to take the time to offer their perspective.

    Whereas we have devised a plan to reposition Atlantic Station, we are actively seeking input to refine it.

    Here it is, straight from the horse's mouth.

    1. Listen. Learn what Intown residents want and need.
    2. Offer a more market-responsive retail and restaurant lineup.
    3. Recruit local restaurant and boutique operators.
    4. Remove nightclub operations.
    5. Emulate Midtown Blue public safety model.
    6. Revamp parking deck wayfinding and lighting.
    7. Actively engage non-traditional marketing channels.
    8. Reprogram public spaces.
    9. Recruit non-traditional uses.
    10. Explore synergies with Intown stakeholders.

    We have a unique opportunity to retool the tenant mix and enhance our guests' experience, but this process will take time. As our plan for the evolution of Atlantic Station develops, we will continue to engage the Intown community to assure success.

  22. Mark,

    It's great that you're listening. I must tell you that those 10 items you listed (with the exception of #4 & #5) sound vague and corporate.

    Telling me that I shouldn't be afraid to go is okay. Giving me specific reasons why I SHOULD go is going be the key.

    People want Atlantic Station to work. Take some risks.

  23. mypitboss,

    As the saying goes "no good deed goes unpunished", so putting our plan out there was bound to invite comments like yours.

    It is unfortunate that you find our plan "vague and corporate". It will, however, be executed.

    Stay tuned for reasons why YOU SHOULD go.

    Good bye.

  24. My family and I have come to Atlantic Station over the course of the years. I take my girls on the weekends when the Artist market is there, I live in Midtown in the Ansely park neighborhood and if it wasn't for the weekend market creating a "destiniation, family, friendly, safe enviroment" for me and my kids, I simply won't go.

    Its the one thing for us that sets Atlantic Station asside from the other "mall" envoriments. I feel the weekend market creates a desintation similiar to those that you would find in many cities across the country. I can take my kids, we can walk and enjoy some family time together, when I have friends or family intown, I often suggest that we hit the weekend market.

    I can take my kids to Lenox and be in a safe secure enviroment if I'm looking for a "mall" experience.

    I don't like all of the kids hanging around and all of the "cruising" that occurs by the esculators and walk ways. It simple makes for an uncomfortable enviroment which Atlantic Station is known for. I would never take my family at night. Period.

    I don't like those events they have in the park "Howl-o-ween" where there were dogs everywhere mixed in with kids, I felt that was a accident waiting to happen, I'm mean come on, who wants to be in an area that dogs are peeing or pooping around the kids, and seriously, did you bus those kids in from the inner city project, so you would have kids there, who's ideal was that anyway.

    Mark, says that he's reading these communications, A.S. has one or two good things going for it. I'd like to see them continue, take them away and A.S. is a another mall. I'll go to Lenox.

  25. Jim,

    Do you think there would be any good ways for dogs and kids to be present at AS without creating any of the issues you described?

  26. @Jim:

    Was actually thinking of some sort of retail/seating area possibilities. Examples:

    In Virginia Highland, they allow dogs to be near, but not inside, the outdoor dining area at George's.

    At the Park Tavern on 10th, they allow dogs to be in the outdoor dining area.

    Other live/work/shop areas have allowed well-behaved dogs in some capacity. For example, "The District at Green Valley Ranch" in Las Vegas allows dogs in the outdoor seating areas.

    Maybe one small, dog-friendly area within Atlantic Station's retail area could exist without creating problems for others. No?

  27. As a Condo owner and resident I've seen my property values, hit the toilet. The condo that I bought for $200,000. My neighbor is short selling his for $65,000. Our cars are broken into all the time, there are drug bust and selling happening every weekend, and I don't feel safe in Atlantic Station. I got a email from my homeowners association that said, when walking to your condo, watch you back! That was after they reported that a cleaning lady was assaulted on the property. As an "african american woman" even I wouldn't live in Atlantic Station. How is Atlantic Station going to fix that?

  28. Sounds like some kind of security force along the lines of Midtown Blue would be a good idea. Swamp the place with officers. Intimidate the idiots that ruin the place for everyone else.

  29. Shaun is right,about the "Santa’s Village, Weekend Art Fairs",I just wanted to say that I love the Artist Market on the weekends. We live here at A.S. and I enjoy going to it every weekend that its here. It reminds me of Lincoln Road in Miami. Sure, A.S. has its problems, but, I think that Mark and his team are willing to get input from everyone (the community and retailers) to make it a better place. @Jim, I agree, I feel like the market on the weekends offers a little something for everyone and really creates a fun, family environment. It seems to me that Mark is willing to listen to the community. Good luck Mark.

  30. @ Truth:

    You're arguing against something I didn't say.

    I said "Young black people who talk loudly and don’t have much money..." for a reason. I'm only referring to people about whom all four of those things (young, black, loud, not spending "enough" money) are true. I'm not suggesting that any or all of those things necessarily go together. People who have one or two of those characteristics tend to be tolerated better in semi-public, commercial settings than people who have all four.

    For example, wouldn't you put up with an obnoxious and annoying customer of any age or ethnicity who's spending a lot of money better than one who's just being obnoxious and annoying AND buying very little or nothing?

    "Making things more expensive in this current economy, like the luxury of free parking, will create more of a problem."

    Yes, I know. All those draconian measures I suggested would keep out "those people," but they would also keep out just about everyone else. Therefore they would be counterproductive. You know the saying: You can't do "just one thing." I'm just pointing out that the situation is complicated and that some of it has to do with which groups of people some AS visitors feel uncomfortable being around.

    I agree that AS is pretty sterile and a touch depressing. Fake urbanism usually is. The physical transformation of that parcel of land from what it was to what is now is astonishing, but actually being there just feels like "So, what?" Much of what's wrong would have been better addressed when the place was being designed.

    As far as Atlanta being "a cheap town," I supposed that's a matter of perspective. I'm sorry that things didn't work out for your store, but being called "cheap" for failing to have "innovative" clothing costing $200 to $400 per item make it far enough up one's spending priority list would make most people laugh.

  31. Great column and discussion.

    Thought I'd throw my insights about Atlantic Station into the mix.

    For background: I live in an Inman Park condo. I'm a white guy, age 30, married, kid on way, with a decent but not obnoxious amount of disposable income. Here goes:

    1. Though it feels generic, wholly suburban and a bit like The Sims come to life, I like Atlantic Station. I've often thought of its sidewalks as the most thriving in the city. Because, usually, they are.

    2. I had no idea AS demographics had an unsavory reputation, and I live 7 minutes away.

    3. I had no idea because I rarely go to AS, and never, coincidentally, after dark.

    4. When I go to AS, I am driving to the parking garages of IKEA and Target. Or, rarely, to a movie. Then I am leaving.

    5. The exception: When I see that cool market thing going on. Then I park and walk around a while. Usually buy at least that killer ice cream dots thing. Usually find myself at Express SALE racks. Cafe 19 for coffee. Then I am leaving.

    6. I've taken out-of-town friends on driving tours through AS. Why? I like to brag that the site used to be an industrial wasteland, and became THIS! Civic pride. Don't lose focus of the past.

    7. I always liked the diversity. Tons of different sorts of folks. Of course I haven't been to AS after dark, not since I used to watch football at FOX five years ago. Sure, if I'm the only old white guy among great throngs of teenagers, I would probably leave. Justified apprehension or not.

    8. I would NEVER consider dining at AS. Me and all my neighbors are very sympathetic to the plight of the LOCAL restauranteur, and support them every chance we get.

    9. The parking at AS, underground or above, has never bothered me whatsoever. Not even at Christmas.

    10. AS has great potential. I wish it were a little closer to Peachtree, to increase Atlanta's potential of having a thriving commercial center, but hey. I'm glad to see this concern and enthusiasm.

    Onward!!!!
    Bill D.

  32. Not sure where to start but hear goes my thoughts about Atlantic Station.

    I'm proud to be a resident of Atlanta for 17 years now and enjoy the conveniences of intown living. When Atlantic Station opened in 2005, what a relief is was to have intown options for shopping and dining. NOTHING is perfect, nor will it ever be, so come on people give up on the pity comments about parking (it's free for 2 hours, plus free for the movies) - remember where you parked, it's not the properties fault you didn't think about it when you got out of your car. And the parking is clearly marked, get off your phone and open your eyes.

    Security - there will always be issues regardless of where you dine/shop/hangout. Learn to be smart and if you feel unsafe, don't go at it alone and report it to the onsite security teams.

    Diversity - it's 2011 - GET USE TO IT!!!
    The diversity (black, white, gay, straight, male, female, etc etc etc) is what makes us who we are and our city what it is.

    Atlantic Station offers a wide variety of shopping and dining experiences - I personally love having a Banana Republic, DSW, CPK and OMG Kilwins chocolates close to home vs. fighting the traffic to Buckhead. No property, no mall will ever please everyone so enjoy what AS has to offer.

    The management at Atlantic Station have done a great job in promoting the property and the events they host have been amazing (Cirque du Soleil, Cavalia, Pets with Santa, movie nights, holiday tree lighting to name a few).

    Like Mark and the new ownership have said - got an idea - let us know, got a problem - let us know....where else do you dine/shop that they ask publically for your opinions.

    Keep up the good work - I'll continue being a AS Fan!

  33. There is diveristy DURING THE DAY, but on weekend nights it is 99% black people and most are not the educated, normal kind.

    I went with my girlfriend and her friend one night (they wanted to go to H&M) and we were walking up the stairs to from the parking garage and these 2 ghetto looking guys were coming down and as they passed were like "daaaaamnnnn, mmmmm". It pissed me off and was disrespectful, but nobody was going to say anything because it isn't worth dying over.

    It's the thugs like that who make it an unpleasant place at night. Not to mention we were one of the few non-black people there. I also don't remember seeing any security or police.

    If you want intown people with money to come, get rid of the stupid ghetto nightclubs, get more local restaurants, local pubs, even some local shopping (that's not ghetto!), more visible police/security, add slightly more upscale shopping/destination stores, keep some type of market but make it better (more local artists and maybe add a farmers market as well), have live music at night in the park area (no ghetto music!), horse drawn carriage rides?, keep bringing events like Cirque de Soleil, etc., and upgrade the facade of storefronts to give it a less monotonous feel.

    Atlantic Station can be fixed! Please don't give up on it like the city gave up on Underground! Atlanta's reputation can't afford to have TWO Undergrounds!

  34. Oh, and what about putting a curfew in place for teenagers without adults at night like some malls do??? That might help some.

    I'd love to go to AS for a movie at night, but I won't go with those loud, annoying people there. It's a horrible experience if you aren't one of them.

  35. I work in one of the office buildings in AS. I can't tell you how many days I have walked past some of these same people just sitting in their cars in the parking deck smoking weed. The smell resonates throughout. Not to mention watching one fine young ghetto teen boy body slamming his girlfriend to the ground and then stomping on her on a Wednesday around 2:00.

  36. Mark - get rid of the subsidized MARTA shuttle, install a curfew for teens, get rid of the nightclubs, swamp the place with officers/security guards, ban loitering, ban cruising, have a "no-teens-without-parents" policy. That should clean the place up.

  37. I live in Midtown and go to A.S. with my girl friends on a regular basis.
    There are several things about A.S. that I like and several things that I agree need to be changed. For the record, I am a 32 /White Female.
    We usually go during the day on the weekends.

    I hate the cruising.. you need better security. Guys are always hanging out on the corners or against the walls.

    I hate going to the movies, because of all the kids, so we go during the day and hope no one is there.

    I love the open air market on the weekends. For my girlfriends and I, its the one thing that makes A.S. interesting and fun. We love to go and alwyas look for it. And, we like it just the way it is.

    As for the comment, needs to add a farmer's market, there is one in Piedmont Park, we don't need another one. Besides, no one lives in A.S. And, isn't one of the goals join Midtown and A.S. together?

    I love kilwins, i love them most when they are in the park, with the market, I just wish they sold chocolate outside also.

    The parking isn't bad. If you go to the movies, but they should have some free parking.

    The stores aren't the best. I like West Elm and Zgallery

  38. Seems to me there's plenty of quality, reasonably priced restaurants around town that would warrant a second location, given their patron overflown, especially on weekends.

    Today I saw a second Noche setting up shop in partially built Town Brookhaven. So it's possible. Maybe another Atkins Park Tavern in AS. Hell, the Brick Store Pub in Decatur has been scouting a second location for years, last I knew. Parish is always packed. A second Holy Taco? Fox Bros. BBQ?
    Not that I'm qualified to make these recommendations, but:

    - Let the least desirable leases expire.
    - Offer incentives to arrange retailers and desirable restaurants/pubs into certain areas.
    - Designate certain storefronts for local establishments only. An entire little street. Call it "Taste of ATL Lane" or "Georgia Street" or something less cheesy. Wall-to-wall local. No vehicle traffic.
    - Explore the feasibility of an open-container policy on this particular street, like Beale Street in Memphis. Might sound risky, but DULUTH is doing it. And I do mean Duluth, Ga.
    - Age restrictions on said street after dark.
    - Highly visible but not oppressive security. Solid marketing. Rebranding of what AS is.

    I'd go there.

  39. Security is an issue. Weather there are incidents or not, the lack of security is percieved as an major concern to me and to most who have commented on here. It's a hefty expense but you are losing customers and I'm sure losing retailers and owners.

    More foot patrols. More car patrols. Cameras (especially in the parking areas) and large signs saying "you're on camera". Basic policeing. And unfortuantly, it can't be security guards. No one respects them. It needs to be cops. APD.

  40. Good ideas for improving retail but the movie experience needs to be improved. I live 1/2 mile away from AS but I often drive over to Landmark for local restaurants and foreign/independant film. Regal AS needs better movies, better box office/conceirge staffing and working movie ticket/parking validating machines. A classier/modern decor would be nice but that may be asking too much. They need to remove people from the theater for talking/cell phone distrubances. I think the parking is fine until I try to leave. AS needs a quick, reliable, moron-proof way of emptying the deck when a movie lets out.

  41. When they were building Atlantic Station I thought that the really neat thing about the entire development was that all of the streets would be pedestrian only and all of the traffic would be flowing one level below in the decks. They built the thing and then let cars drive all through it. It would be a good idea to keep cars and pedestrians separate...and it seems to be possible, just not currently implemented.

  42. Here's some input to draw family friendly traffic with no conflict to the local retailers...Seafood festival, Atlanta Fireman and Police Event, Kid's Fair, AVP Beach volleyball exhibition (or competition), Restaurant tours/open house (including samples and "meet the chefs"), Classic Car Show, Sports Clinics (Tennis, baseball, soccer), Art displays and sale, Live Music...basically anything that would generate foot traffic and encourage me or the family to dwell, eat, shop, and basically just hang around an enjoyable atmosphere for a while...

  43. Oh yeah, how about allowing some local auto dealers to place current model sweet cars on display outside at various spots around Atlantic Station? They would love the publicity and it's great seeing the latest and greatest (especially the Chevy Volt or other unique vehicles...)

  44. Atlantic station would have been a success in many other cities. It just so happens Atlanta, Georgia has a toxic and dysfunctional african-american culture which leaders in the city endorse.

    I suspect AS will ultimately be closer to TJMax than Crate and Barrel. That has been the history of Atlanta anyway. The Philly of the south is what this town really is.

  45. I just don't get all the slagging on AS. It has an appropriate mix of stores (not too much high-end, and not too much low-end), an array of housing (condos, lofts, high-rise), and a nice grid with a heap of underground parking.

    Surprisingly, it pulls a lot of folks from outside the city limits into the city...what other attraction in Midtown does that? Seriously! (this is coming from a guy that has lived in Midtown for 5 years).

    I keep reading comments about an "element" in AS. I get a sense that this is a (horrible) way of saying 20-something african-americans....As a 20-something white guy, I've come to appreciate what a great city this is that white, black, asian, and hispanic folks can all come to the same place and watch a movie, buy some pants, and eat some pizza around each other. I've lived around AS for 5 years, and I have never been bothered by an "element"...I've driven, walked, jogged, hung out, drank, and whatever else at AS, and the place seems to be pretty cool. A little disney? sure. I'm not saying there haven't been issues, but come on, haven't any of you all ever lived in a city before?

    And seriously, who complains about Dillards? It's a freaking store that sells clothes. IF they make money, awesome. If not, the market will send them packing.

    If we really want a variety of retail, the developers need to create MUCH smaller spaces in AS. There is no way a boutique can make money with 4k sq. ft. of space...

  46. My wife and I love the Artist Market on the weekends, and went this weekend to walk around, do a little shopping, have lunch, and it was just a bunch of kids hanging out in the park and one guyu actually made a remark about my wife, while we were walking past them. We had lunch and we left afterwards.

    Its unfortunate, A.S. has a long way to go, but I haven't really heard anything about their "evolution".

  47. Good point, SB.

    Yes, perhaps there's some whining going on here. AS is a nice project with some problems--but we have a developer that is really trying to listen to the locals. It's much better than having a filthy steel plant for sure.

    The fact that Mark Toro is reading all of our comments is fantastic. So, I say thanks to him.

  48. I like AS and want it to succeed. But I wish they'd work on linking it up better to the Westside. They have a shuttle to Midtown, so why not have a shuttle that does a short loop hitting Georgia Tech and the Howell Mill/14th street areas too? At night, AS and Home Park are just way too scary to walk through.

    The Westside has a diverse mix of folks with money who'd be thrilled to spend money at AS. But with the lack of paths, safe neighborhoods, and traffic, it's difficult to get there without having to drive--which seems silly when one lives only a few blocks away.

  49. As I said in an earlier post, we are encouraged that people care enough to take the time contribute to this thread. There is a definite theme developing here and we intend to share what we've heard in a few days. Stay tuned...

  50. Mark-

    As someone who has a vested interest in Atlantic Station, I am a homeowner, I would like to remind you that the individuals that read a blog like this are an extremely small percentage of the population and usually, a "foodie". It does seem that everyone that reads this blog wants home grown restaurants, upscale shopping, the artist market, and even a farmers market.

    And, alot of people on this blog are encouraging others to "embrace the diversity"

    However, I do not think the readers of this blog effectively communicate the needs of the larger, whole, midtown community. I would encourage you to solicit information from other sources before making any decisions that may cost us all money. Even though I like and support all of the recommendations listed above, I'm worried that those recommendations might not help the overall financial picture of AS in the long run. Independent restaurants, save a few, have a large turn over percentage.

    If AS is revamped, and fails....we are all in trouble.

    You have GOT TO GET RID of the weekend crowd, plain and simple or we are in serious trouble as the Underground reputation is going to be permanent. Do you get rid of the "Free Ride"? Do you have a curfew for under 18/21? Those might would be hard decisions that may not be politically correct. But this is private property, your investors money, my money, and something must be done to protect our investment. And, the investment of the City of Atlanta.

  51. I like the idea of a curfew. But obviously the movie theater makes money off of these youngins, and it's the only big theater in the city! It will take redevelopment elsewhere to lure some of the weekend folks away.

    I wouldn't want to see some of the lower-end stuff go away because the accessibility of A.S. options is what brings me there! You guys are crazy for not liking Dillards lol... their shoe section is the best! Stuff I can actually afford!

  52. It would be so awesome for ATL station to have a spot that was a mix of restaurant, bookstore, fair trade market and gathering place, much like Bus Boys in DC.

  53. 05girl, are you kidding me? The movie theater at AS doesn't need obnoxious teens and ghetto thugs to make money. It's not like they are buying anything else at AS anyways. Put in a curfew, attract a better set of demographics and ALL of AS will prosper including the movie theater.

  54. Atlantic station has a reputation for just being another thug (wannabee) hangout area like the Buckhead Triangle area became before it was razed. People on other out of town web boards even "warn" others about going there now, telling them not to waste their time unless they for some reason actually WANT to watch 16 year old future carjackers with pants down to their knees jive with each other. Except for certain special events held there rarely, the only reason to go to that area is IKEA (if you're into the place).

    Is it better than the old mill that was there before? I guess. But the fact is, just like Baltimore, Cleveland, and Detroit, Atlanta has a very large urban thug element, and it tends to creep in and ruin just about anything good that's built until you have AAA+ security there in numbers that discourages them from hanging with the hood. So far, it's not working.

  55. The Dry Cleaners in AS closed today.

    I was told by another local cleaner rent was astronomical, and that was the reason for the closure.

    I did not fully read the sign posted on the door, but the first line announcing the closure cited a lack of business. Although, it always seemed full of clothes when I came by.

    If AS wants to be a live, work, play community...a dry cleaners is a MUST. I used it weekly.

  56. Top Ten Reason Why the Dry Cleaners Closed at Atlantic Station:

    10. Because you need residents to live there.

    9. Most of the residents places had been foreclosed on,
    so their cloths were left at the dry cleaners

    8. Most of the clothes belong to the prostitutes that work at Twelze

    7. Most of the clothes were left from the last HIP HOP convention

    6. Leftovers from the PORN convention that was held there

    5. The resident didn't want their blood stained cloths back after
    being held up by gun point and then beaten.

    4. The resident was shot at Atlantic Station

    3. (New Ownership) Rent concessions: pay or get out

    2. Because most Business that open at Atlantic Station Close

    1. The Owner of the business wasn't Caucassion and/or from Midtown

  57. Atlantic Station's theme song should be:

    ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST!

    Another one bites the dust....
    dun't, dun't dun't....
    another one bites the dust..

    *Its universal, it could apply to the Businesses, Residents or Guest of Atlantic Station

    I'd be interested to know,

    1) How many business have closed at Atlantic Station.

    2) How many residences have been foreclosed on.
    Last I heard 45 % of the Twelze was foreclosed and 55% of the Elements

    3) What their crime rate is.

    4) How many people have DIED there

    5) How many times someone has heard gun shots

    6) How many units are section 8 (low income subsidized)

    7) How many years its been for them to get the C.O.

    8) How much mold is in the "upper units" residences over the retail stores

    9) What their current demographic is

    10) How many students walking back to G.A. Tech has been assaulted or held up at gun point/knife

    11) How many drug deals have been stopped or/ arrested for.
    (meaning how many known drug deals have gone done)

    12) How many shoplifters have been arrested at A.S.

    13) How many car tires have been stoled off the cars in the parking lot and at the residents.

    14) How many POUNDS of marijuana and drugs have been seized at A.S.

    Just Curious......

  58. The racism and classism on this thread is absolutely astounding. End the connection with Marta to keep the "bad element" out? I'm thrilled at the message the developer is getting: keep people out that are too black or too poor.

    Welcome to the USA!

  59. Brian...

    I live in Atlantic Station! I live here! So know your facts!

    My car has been broken into three times - 3 times! for NOTHING!!

    The music from the clubs is too loud after 11 and they do nothing about it.

    Kids are always hanging out. and, they don't live here.

    Adults hang out here. and, they don't live here.

    I've lost a TON of money on my Condo.

    The unit next to me had a huge mold problem.

    There was a Porn convention at the Twelve hotel, and they've had a problem with hookers.

    There's cruising all the time.

    Then the streets get closed with no noticed.

    There's been at least three shootings that I know about.

    There's been at least three deaths from drugs or gun fire.

    Parking is a nightmare with events. If you live here you know it.
    Cavalia, Cirque, NIGHTMARE! ! ! !

    Property values here are in the toilet.

    My friends can't walk to GA TECH, I have to drive them.

    I can't sit outside and have an ice cream cone with my girlfriend without being told to leave.

    One time we found a bag of coke under a park bench (yeah, don't you want your kids finding that!!)

    People are walking the streets all hours of the night, and if they aren't on the streets, they're in the parking deck.

    Guys are always pissing in the parking lot. fighting and yelling, blowing their horns, or cruising the parking deck.

    I can't go to the movies on a Friday night or Saturday without a fight breaking out or 50 people on their cell phone.

    damm, ATM was pulled out of the sidewalk.

    and Brian, as a black man, as a resident, this place sucks!
    So take your "absolute idiot" and stick it.

    I hear all this talk, and no one ever ask us as residents what improvements we need, they just tell us to get off the bench or that we can't sit here, or that we need to leave.

    I'm sick of this get rid of the black folks, they shouldn't be here, its their fault. And, here comes the white man to change everything.

    A.S. sucks! and ain't no white man going to change anything.

  60. JJ,

    We recently met with the Atlantic Station Civic Association, the group that represents your interests, and will appear at the Annual Meeting on Feb 24. I hope you will attend so that we can gain a full understanding of your situation, as we begin to address the issues you describe.

    Public safety is Job One...period.

  61. Gettin rid of the free shuttle cuts out people like myself that shop there and the employees that depend on it since Marta is about as dependable as the weather.

    I work and live in Midtown so I can feel the pain of thoses that live in this mixed-use complex. Even though I don't live at AS hookers and thugs are a big problem in Midtown period. There's not a day I can walk out of my complex and not see used condoms or broken glass from someones car being broken into.

  62. JJ-

    I live here too, in Element, and have never experienced most of the issues you have.

    I've heard nightmares of Twelve, and I'm guessing that is where you live.

  63. Brian : yup... and next time don't call me an "absolute idiot".

    Mark : No one told us about the Civic Association meeting, the only time we get emails, is when we are told to "watch our back about thieves".

    I'm tired of the management company/ security telling us to "leave" and I live here.

    and, I'm tired of everyone saying once we get the "BLACKS" out of Atlantic Station, it will be better. My money and every other black persons money is just as green as yours.

  64. JJ-

    It really is not a black/white issue.

    If white people were causing the issues at Atlantic Station...stealing, loitering, being just loud and obnoxious, cruising etc, that you mentioned above you better believe that everyone would be complaining as well....but, its not. Its "BLACKS" as you put it, and the issues are being discussed not the race.

    Everyone wants/needs these issues to be fixed. Race aside.

  65. The racism & classism exhibited in these comments is astounding & disheartening. People are spouting off stereotypes as if they're totally straight up facts we should accept. The lack of critical thought makes me ashamed.

    "OMG, YoU GUYS! BLACK TEENS! THEY DRESS LIKE RAP STARS, ARE LOUD, STAND AROUND! IT SCARES ME!" really? And how is this behavior unlike teens from any other race? Isn't standing around, hanging out with friends, being loud, dressing how you think looks cool things ALL teenagers do?

    These are your complaints? You sound super stupid right now.

    "If there were just a way to get rid of the black people and the poor people, AS would be awesome!" You do realize this is how you truly sound, whether you said it explicitly or not.

    I'm down at AS all the time for movie screenings. I've never had a problem after dark. I even once left the keys in the ignition of my car and it was left alone. The reason I don't like going on weekends is because it is super crowded and people go there to "see & be seen". That's just not my style. The numerous times I have been there after dark, I've had no problems. This doesn't mean things don't happen, but if "black teens are being teenagers in MY space!" please go play in traffic.

    Street harassment, unwanted sexual comments from strangers, IS a problem, but that's countrywide. Getting rid of teens, no matter how "thugish" or "ghetto" they APPEAR, wouldn't solve that. Also, if you're calling AS "ghetto", you've never been to one. Please stop.

    The security presence most definitely could be increased and a BOOKSTORE WITH FREE WIFI would be excellent.

    Plain Jane has it right

  66. 1. Get rid of the nightclubs and Fox Spots as soon as possible.
    2. Court Legoland Discovery Center to open in AS. This will bring in more families.
    3. Slightly more upscale stores like Lucky Brand Jeans, J. Crew, Abercrombie, Aldo, Zara, Sephora, Levi's store, Quiksilver, American Apparel, etc. and try to get a Nordstrom to locate next to Dillard's.
    4. MORE VISIBLE SECURITY EVERYWHERE.
    5. A curfew for teens at night without parents/adults.
    6. Possibly destination stores like Top Shop and Uniqlo.
    7. Better restaurants and PUBS... maybe more independent/local places or very small chains. NO WANNA BE RAPPER NIGHTCLUBS.
    8. Keep the market on the weekends but feature more local artists and make it bigger. Also, advertise it!
    9. Live music at night in the park?
    10. Change up the store facades so it all doesn't look the same and more greenery.

  67. Over here in Virginia Highland, we've had our recent security issues as well.

    To fix this, we had one resident set up something called "VAHI Alerts". Residents (and businesses I believe) can set up a trusted Twitter account, and can alert other residents via mobile when a problem arises. Also, there's a forum where people in the neighborhood can post specific issues. Learn more here:

    http://virginiahighlandconnect.org/virginia-highland-safety-alerts/

    Note that on the forum, there's a place to complain about specific businesses that do a poor job of policing their own customers (evidently, you have a problem with some of the clubs).

    Also, we have memberships that help fund additional police patrols. Residents pay a fee for this, but it helps us keep little problems from getting out of hand.

    http://www.fbacvahi.com/

    Look at Mark Toro's post again. He lists a few things here that indicate he might consider doing something like this:

    ///////////////
    1. Listen. Learn what Intown residents want and need.
    4. Remove nightclub operations.
    5. Emulate Midtown Blue public safety model.
    10. Explore synergies with Intown stakeholders.
    ///////////////

    If the residents, businesses and developers all want to change the security situation, maybe they could work together to put together these types of program.

  68. Mypitboss,
    Good post. I live near the Highlands and am happy that you all are doing something about the recent crime wave there especially since it has graduated from daytime robberies to very violent crime.
    I own a business here in Atlanta that routinely sends people into homes while the homeowners are away and can tell you the recent crime wave isn't recent - it just hit the Highlands recently. Daytime robberies have been an issue all over Intown for 2-3 years - it seems to move in waves hitting different parts of Intown until the neighborhood does what you are doing and becomes involved, vigilant, communicates and spends money on private security. The most recent activity I have seen is coming in the Druid Hills area. Homeowners get smart and install or activate alarms and keep a better eye out. Then the crime moves someplace else.
    There are 2 key differences with AS versus some more established neighborhoods and one is that most of the people that live over there aren't stakeholders. They don't own the condos or apartments they live in and many actually contribute to the problem facing that retail district. The second difference is this "issue" has been going on almost since the inception of AS quite a few years ago. It is not even close to being recent activity so it is well embedded in that area.
    I pulled my advertising over there a couple of years ago as I don't even want my people over there - especially at night.
    The sad truth though is that when one neighborhood removes or mitigates a problem it just moves someplace else. Atlanta has a problem that needs to be addressed by the City and the Police department. Until we start activities like NYC did back in Guiliani's day and crack down everywhere on illegal and obnoxious activity it will just find a new home.

  69. 1. Getting in and out of AS is a nightmare with too many traffic lights that stay red too long along 17th.

    2. Short term surface parking and valet needs to be implemented for quick shopping.

    3. Close the clubs

    4. Increase security and actually arrest lawbreakers

    5. No loitering policy instituted and enforced. Arrest violators.

    6. Curfew.

    7. Fix parking deck by hiring human beings to collect parking fees and process credit cards.

    8. Get rid of rap music blaring all over the place

    9. Get APD vice to shut down the prostitution at 12.

  70. Thanks Mark. I would love to talk more about my ideas. I am following you on Twitter (nyxmike) but I can't DM you unless you follow me.

  71. I am a little disheartened by some of the comments about Atlantic Station and I have to wonder about their motives in this anonymous format.

    First off Atlantic Station is a safe, clean, well-maintained family environment for everyone without exception. I have spent as much time there as a lot of the residents, and anyone saying there is even a noticeable amount of crime, derelict behavior, or unsafeness there doesn't know the first thing about what they're talking about.

    Second, I am sure the leasing rates are fairly high, and I'm sure that maybe something could be done to give smaller businesses a crack at retail space there, but if you want a well-rounded place that is one-stop for Everyone, put in a BOOKSTORE and a CONSUMER ELECTRONICS vendor. It also wouldn't hurt either to buy out the lease of that horrid dinosaur AT&T and let some less draconian and more modern telecommunication providers in! Nobody wants to buy from those guys, their equipment and network has become horrible.

    Third, the market here puts the City of Atlanta into the same class as Charleston or Seattle with a highly visible and professionally run traditional arts venue that is becoming a known tourist destination and should be expanded, especially during the holidays. The consumer traffic just bound for the market is due to the fact it is indistinguishable from a high end arts show, and visitors feel lucky that they had a chance to be there that day.

    And last, but not least, is the fact that this is the ONLY venue in the city where you can actually PARK. Imagine! You can actually shop, see a movie, and PARK TOO, and there isn't some derelict lot with a flagman asking for $10 so you can walk ten blocks... its actually secured, covered, and policed. If you want to expand on this basis LET THE MOTORCYCLES BACK IN. Atlantic station has completely alienated every last bike owner (along with their families and friends) in a 100 square mile radius, and they are militantly BOYCOTTING Atlantic Station and it wouldn't surprise me if some of the negative comments here aren't from some of them! Let the bikers come in, just tell them they need to "cool their engines"- they aren't rowdy, they just want to hang out with everyone too!

    Cheers,
    S.

  72. Miguel, I agree with all your points but there is already surface parking... it's called parallel parking and it exists on most of the streets in AS.

  73. I have been going to AS for several years and I didn't know AS had any nightclubs. AS has restaurants/etc that play music at night but AS does not have one nightclub. AS should have a nightlife scene but it should be mostly bars, pubs, or a jazz club. Nightlife is a good thing to have just make sure the "nightclubs" have a STRICT dress code. This will give people another reason to visit AS after the stores have closed. Get rid of the Marta shuttle. Ban teens unless they are with their parents. AS is still a great place to visit. The same problems AS is having 99% of most cities have the same problems.

  74. To Mark Toro: I learned about this discussion from MyPitBoss, who is a member on our Virginia-Highland message board.

    He suggested I get in touch with you about the VHAlerts safety alerts system that I co-created.

    We'd be glad to show you and the Atlantic Station Civic Association how to set up your own similar text message safety alert system for AS. It uses all free, off the shelf components (including Twitter and a third-party app).

    I briefly lived in AS in 2006, and while I didn't like living there (that would be an understatement), it would make me happy to contribute in some small way to something positive for AS.

    You can get in touch with me at the following thread where MyPitBoss suggested I get in touch with you, and I'll private message you back:

    http://virginiahighlandconnect.org/forums/index.php?/topic/677-i-think-atlantic-station-needs-david/

    You know that people from around the city want to see AS improve and succeed... when there are discussions even on messages boards for other neighborhoods, such as ours.

    Is there a message board for Atlantic Station to connect residents, businesses and visitors?

  75. Geisha House, Dolce, Prime, Ten Pin Alley, and Fox Sports Grill while not exactly "nightclubs" do attract the thugs at night for some reason. It's unfortunate because Ten Pin Alley and Fox Sports Grill could be fun but they are ruined by the thugs that ruined Underground Atlanta!

  76. I've worked in Atlantic Station now for 5 years so my point of view is a bit different than many of the ones expressed so far.

    As far as the "element" and what to do about it, Atlantic Station already has a "Rules of Conduct and Respect". It obviously isn't enforced very strictly but it's there:

    And all you who are complaining about the issues at night, you should have seen it 3 years ago. Atlantic Station has come leaps and bounds from where it was a few years ago. Unfortunately perception is reality and Atl. Station has suffered because of the reputation it got years ago.

    You can't get rid of the free shuttle because many Atlantic Station employees depend on MARTA and the shuttle for transportation to and from work. I'd recommend even extending the route to go to GT's campus. The area between Tech and Atlantic Station is a bad area and many GT students have to walk to and from Atl. Station.

    As far as stores go, if you want Atl. Station to succeed, foot traffic during the week has to improve. Weekend traffic will be there when the weather is nice but Atlantic Station is a ghost town during the week. To do that, you have to bring in stores that are more utilitarian in purpose. We get questions all the time about a bookstore or electronics store. All these fancy high end stores are nice, but you need everyday stores for the people who live in a close radius of Atlantic Station.

    Parking is an absolute nightmare. Like I said, I've worked here for 5 years but still get lost in the garage. More detailed signs explaining what stores/restaurants are at that stairwell. Paid parking is ok, it's free for the first 2 hours and much more affordable than other places in Atlanta.

    Speaking of parking, there needs to be change machines on the streets. Everyday we get people coming in asking for change and for anybody who's ever worked retail, you know that kills your traffic/conversion ratios.

    This is great that the new management group is being so open to ideas and suggestions.

  77. This development is not an indoor mall, strip mall or traditional urban shopping street, its an urban mixed use develpoment - a new thing like many others blooming across the country. As an African American husband/father, I frequently attend the theater in Atlantic Station, shop the open air market or Dillards and grab a bite to eat at Doc Green's or Cold Stone. We might go around 5 or 6 and end up leaving at midnight. I've never seen anything happening there that I haven't seen in Little 5's, Lenox or VA Highlands. However, because its different it comes with its own set of pluses and minuses unique to a newer model urban shopping area. It doesn't have to be the end of the world and it's a long way from Underground Atlanta.

    The divisive mentality that keeps whites from embracing blacks is deeply rooted in our dark past. The comments on many news blogs in this city and every other across the country prove it everyday. It also proves the point the legislation can't solve every problem. The Civil Rights Act, which passed over 40 years ago, lead by visionaries hailing from this very city, is still ineffective in the hearts and minds of so many today. Whites continue to want to be segregated.

    Mark, there definitely is a "theme" here as you say, and its Keep The Blacks Out! Build in the kind of high end trendy shops that only whites enjoy. Then the whites will come back. Never mind that young African Americans hanging out at AS (because they have no place else to go) have never caused personal harm to 99% of all posters. The fact that they are there and act & dressing like young rappers intimidates whites who are forced to assume they are up to no good.

    The mention to enforce th conduct code is an appropriate response to solving most of the problems stated. Once established, it will be understood what is and is not acceptable among patrons. However, the spirit of segregation lives in those who make such suggestions as "get rid of the bad element or current clientele, etc." Instituting a text or twitter alert system is good for real problems, but given the current stream of thought it will be like crying wolf...people will report cultural indifferences more than not. Many NFL stadiums have instituted it and are now working with stadium security teams to revamp how they approach "complaints." I attended an out of town game cheering on my favorite team. As my team began to strengthen their lead and my cheering and that of other supporting fans continued, security showed up saying that our group was reported by text as "disturbing." The group of white fans near me cheering on he same team in the same way immediately came to my defense recognizing the racial implication.

    The behavior of many young African Americans is not cool! It is an issue that needs to be addressed in many American cities. Whites cannot continue to turn their noses up and simply criticize their black counterparts without getting involve to help with the hard, deeply rooted issues that plague the black community. We have to make the decision with conscious effort to live together. Otherwise our problematic differences will never be solved by whites simply not wanting to go where blacks are. I don't know if you noticed it or not, but blacks go where whites are, but the opposite is rarely true. You see, blacks like nice places to spend money, too...places that are not developed where most of us live.

    It's funny how children can play together and see no color, while the "big boys and girls" can't get along. Atlantic Station is and should be a great destination for all people. Developments like AS are not built in black neighborhoods, so we have to come to where they are. I don't agree that they necessarily should be. They should be built to replace desolate steel mills and reformed into thriving social communities that we all can enjoy!

  78. Stop kidding yourselves, the problem is 100% a black problem, the exact same problem that killed the Buckhead Village. Let's face it, suburban whites and a large portion of the white in town population just doesn't want to hang out and shop with with young ghetto looking kids.

    You can place the blame directly on Fox Sports Grill, when they opened, 99% of the staff that they hired was black and their friends are the first ones that started coming to AS. From there it grew exponentially. AS was not all black from the beginning it became that way as Buckhead was getting torn down.

    You can can call my comments racist but the topic was not how to be PC and save the world but what to do to make AS work. Get rid of the blacks and let the whites know that you got rid of the blacks and the whites will come back. BTW, the previous owners knew exactly what the problem was as soon as it started but were too chicken shit to address it without looking like racist and look what it got them.

    The best idea I have seen so far on this subjects would be to require no visitors under 21 without a parent after 7pm.

  79. Atlantic Station is not a horrible place! If it were as bad as people are making it out to be on here, APD would have a dominant presence there. They don't because they're not needed. You can't generalize people. There are good and bad of every race. It's funny how white racist are so brave and vocal online, yet they never express their hatred openly, in the real world face-to-face, man-to-man. Derek 1268, I dare you to walk up to black people in Atlantic Station and tell them these things to their faces!

  80. School Boy: what do you suppose I tell someone? My comments are not intended to be racist but to comment on the issues at AS. Is there something in my comments that are not accurate? Who both black and white doesn't know what the issues are at AS? Don't make this a racist issue, it is a class and race of that class issue.

    BTW, I visit AS several times a week and own a business with a 100% African American customer base. I am quite comfortable and very used to being in a setting where I am the only white person but I also know that most people are not and both black and white prefer to hang out with people of similar educational and socio-economic backgrounds.

  81. I've been following this thread for awhile and I finally decided to post something as a person who visits Atlantic Station roughly 3x a week during the day to go to the gym. I have two small children and I would love a reason to hang around with my kids, but the restaurants are not anywhere my kids want to eat and there are no other places to go with them. For example, some have mentioned children's clothing stores - even something like The Children's Place would draw in moms with small children as there isn't one ITP - the nearest is at Cumberland Mall. You could combine that (or a Baby Gap or Gymboree) with a more 'boutique' type of shop - Hanna Andersson, Janie and Jack, etc. - I'd love to be able to shop for my kids at A.S. As it is, we hit the Old Navy and then we leave. I'd love to see a shoe store like Abbadabba's that sells shoes for kids and adults that people like myself (30 something's) would wear.

    As far as restaurants, I actually stopped into Which Wich last week to grab a sandwich and someone popped in and asked the employee where she and her son could get a hamburger. The person who runs this blog seems to think that there's some sort of burger fetish happening in Atlanta; why is there no decent burger joint at A.S.? GOOD pizza? (Sorry, but CPK's food sucks and they are extremely overpriced.) Bring in a family restaurant - something like Mellow Mushroom, a great burger joint like George's, a Mexican restaurant for the normal person (Rosa Mexicana is a bit too upscale for kids and Moe's isn't a real restaurant and there's a dearth of *good* Mexican food in this city), a good Italian place - somewhere my husband and I can eat with the kids that is a sit-down place would make it a destination for our family instead of a place we don't go during evenings with kids in tow.

    A bookstore - with story time for kids - would be an awesome draw for me. Again, I'm looking for reasons to stick around after I get in my workout. I know you tried the stroller mommy meet-up, but honestly, the mommy walks don't work because there's not a lot to offer moms with young children at A.S.; it needs more stores with clothing and accessories for children and I'd love to see at least one specialty children's shop. I'll second the suggestion for a carousel.

    We did stick around for the 'National Night Out' last spring after we left the gym and my son loved the bounce house. We also happened upon a free screening of the last "Shrek" movie this past fall, which also had a fair in Central Park, and that was a lot of fun.

    I've never felt threatened there - my husband and I go to the movies at Regal Cinemas on occasion. I go to the L.A. Fitness regularly. I shop at The Gap. I live in SW Atlanta and it's basically the closest development to my home, so I'd like to see it improve and provide more of a destination for those of us that are underserved in our own neighborhoods.

  82. One more thing - what about commissioning a local artist or two to create some 'interactive art' for Atlantic Station? It would be fun to have a cool statue or something that the kids could also crawl around and play on since a playground type of structure isn't really feasible.

  83. "Never mind that young African Americans hanging out at AS (because they have no place else to go) have never caused personal harm to 99% of all posters."

    Disagree with ya here...they are killing our property values. Period, End of Story.

  84. Derek1268: Tell'em that "the problem is 100% a black problem" and AS should "get rid of the blacks and let the whites know that you got rid of the blacks and the whites will come back." As a matter of fact tell your customers to read your post as Derek1268...see how long before you need to revamp. Your first post is very different from your second; please take a hard look at yourself and deal with the duality of your racial views. I hope my son, who has far more white middle-class freinds than I ever had growing up, can continue to build his comradery with them and not be disconnected because his not-so rich father can't keep up with their socio-economic status. The truth is, everybody wants the same things. If we get to know the hip-hop kid with the baggy pants or the punk rock girl with the pink hair, we'll learn that they like us want the same things.

  85. First, let me say I love this site and following you and Mark Toro on Twitter. I'm going to make a few suggestions based on my personal needs so I hope the other posters will indulge me.

    My husband and I are in our 30's and live in a condo in Atlantic Station. Full disclosure...We're white, employed/school and have dogs. We plan to live in Atlanta for another 2 years, we've been in Atlantic Station for 3 1/2.

    The shopping district for Atlantic Station is right across the street, but we find that we have certain needs that are not currently being met by the businesses here. For these things, we travel away from Atlantic Station and end up doing the bulk of our dining, shopping, etc. while we are out.

    1. I like beer. I enjoy sitting down with friends at dinner and enjoying a few glasses of beer. I'm too old to drink liquor and it gives me a headache. Doing shots are for young people who don't need to get up early or who are young enough to still be cute when they're plastered. I outgrew that years ago. When I relax, I like a good beer. At Atlantic Station, their idea of craft beer or import is Heiniken. The standard beer list at any restaurant or bar in AS is Bud, Bud Lite, Miller, Miller Lite, Blue Moon, Sweetwater (if you're lucky) and Heiniken. Perhaps a Sam Addams. Instead of the boring beer list at AS and the iffy service, we go to one of the many bars close by, such as Ormby's, Cypress Street Pint and Plate, Taco Mac or 6 Feet Under. Those restaurants offer an impressive selection of craft beers and imports. I'm a beer snob, so you're losing my business. Craft beer is one of the fastest growing segments of alcohol sales and most high end beers are bought by people with higher incomes.

    2. A quiet night at the movies. We usually drive to the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. I'm not a high-brow movie fan (again, I like beer over swanky liquor), but my husband is. We'll sometimes split up to see two different movies. I like stuff blowing up and sharing a theater with adults. My husband likes sub-titles, but we make it work. Perhaps the theater at Atlantic Station could work to bring in more artsy titles. I also like Landmark because they sell beer at the theater. (I'm simple in my needs).

    3. I like not getting murdered. I appreciate the fact they have security but there isn't nearly enough. They probably need to increase the security presence by at least 50% everyday and more on weekends. My husband and I were there one afternoon before the movie at Central Park. He saw a woman run past him chasing a young man. He had stolen her purse. She screamed to a security officer for help, he smirked, and continued his conversation. I'll suggest beefing up security and start with checking their IQ's. I heard there were 19+ car break-ins last week. Three cars in my building were on cinder blocks one morning in the parking garage. We have armed security, but not enough of them. I also suggest you talk to the area condos about beefing up their security. If you have armed guards and things are still getting broken into, you don't have enough. I caught two kids breaking into cars. I notified security and it was swept under a rug. The condos and businesses here don't want to report things to APD because it can hurt property values. Perhaps have AS security patrol the parking garages at the condos too and push the condo associations to increase security patrols.

    4. I need a hair salon. The last one closed above CPK but not before selling my husband a $100 gift card that is scrap paper. People need an affordable salon, not a $300 hair cut spa. There are lots of students in the area and I think affordable is better. A lot of people were burnt by the salon, including the employees. It was shortly after a holiday so there were lots of people with worthless gift certificates. People remember that. A national or local chain may work best and bring a sense of stability and trust. (The dry cleaners closing may have had more to do with the previous dry cleaners closing than blood splatter. I was scared to take my clothes there and when I did I picked them up the moment they were ready. The last place closed up and many people had to go out of their way to get their clothes back. Trust is big.)

    5. We could use a yoga studio. The closest one is on Peachtree and parking is awful. I'd stay closer to home if there was a yoga studio. (Gotta work off that beer).

    6. I agree with an electronics store but I don't know where they could find the square footage unless they give up the Cirque spot to Best Buy or Fryes. Now we're driving to Lindburg for Best Buy or Wal-Mart. (Considering the geek to normal human ratio with Georgia Tech, an electronics store would do very well.)

    7. I go to the book store at least once a week. The closest one is Borders and it's closing. Books-A-Million doesn't have a location near by and they have the Joe Muggs coffee. The Starbucks at 12 has very limited hours. It was common for me to go to Borders and then run next door to Kroger. It is cheaper than Publix. If the folks at the Publix weren't so awesome I'd always go to Kroger.

    8. I don't like hearing my neighbor got robbed at gunpoint walking home from Georgia Tech. It makes me scared to go anywhere at night. It's not really the problem for AS but their suggestion can influence those making the decisions about shuttle routes.

    9. I'd like the restaurants to offer more vegetarian options. Atlantic Grill had a veggie burger but took it off the menu. We can't eat there now unless I settle for a plate of french fries to go with my Blue Moon. (Yuck!) Side salads are a smack in the face to vegetarians. I'm not asking for a full menu, but two or three things added in. Most restaurants in town got the memo on vegetarians. Can someone make the suggestion. We rarely eat in Atlantic Station for this very reason.

    10. Re-vamp the A-card. Let people use it and an ID with an AS address to get priority seating at the AS restaurants and skip the wait. I'm running across the street to get food, not necessarily making a night of it. I want to eat and get on with my life. I think the people who live across the street should get more perks.

    11. I like taking my dogs to restaurants with pet friendly patios. We typically don't eat at AS because of the poor beer list and lack of vegetarian options for me, but I'd stick with a nasty side salad and a Blue Moon if I could take my dogs.

    12. I'd appreciate a winter weather plan on the part of AS. I don't think ice skates should be required to grocery shop. Following the winter storms, it takes forever for AS to be usable. They should hire a company to salt or brine the roads and sidewalks and clean up any ice. I nearly broke my neck getting into Publix. The parking garage was closed and we had to park on the street. It was like an ice skating rink for days. Businesses should also be responsible for cleaning the entire sidewalk in front of their business and not just a 12" path. Perhaps AS could store salt and shovels as a courtesy to the businesses since many don't have the storage.

    13. As much as I would love a farmer's market, I'm guessing Publix has that off limits as part of their leasing agreement. The same agreement that says Target can't sell meat and produce. Is there a way to get around it? Perhaps an organic farmer's market?

    14. I like the outdoor shopping and the craft stands but I do find the art and other items tend to be more ethnic/urban. Has anyone checked out the jewelry stands in VaHi? I'd even like some of the New York Central Park type vendors who sell hats, scarves, pictures of Atlanta pre-framed for the tourist, etc.

    15. I like live music. Center Stage has great shows and will usually have a great turn out. Perhaps look at their bookings and get complimentary bands to play when it makes sense. Have they thought about booking regional bands/performers to play on weekend nights? I think jazz or even some all ages jam bands could be fun in the summer months.

    It's not about cutting people off but offering what more people want.

  86. I am a resident/owner in the Element condos and I feel this is an excellent, well written article. I agree with all suggestions in the article (and only with a few of the resulting comments). There are two things I would like to add. Diversity is not the problem, it is the LACK OF DIVERSITY that is the problem. On Friday/Saturday nights there is 99% only one group of people there which is a lack of diversity and not representative of the whole population of Atlanta. Secondly, the "artists market" is a great concept but is a joke in it's current state. If those are "artists" anyone could call themselves an artist. How about some high quality artists that will attract affluent people in. Revamping ALL of the restaurants is definitely in order. As residents, we do not eat there. Local, unique restaurants would be great. Thanks again for this fantastic article! Let's make this happen!!

  87. Not trying to make it a race issue, but we need to understand the problem and address it. To turn a blind eye to who is committing these crimes in ignorant and does not allow us to find out where to start making changes. In the past 18 months the HomePark neighborhood by Atlantic Station has had close to 60 violent crimes. All, but one committed by an african american. The numbers don't lie. As this does not nor should not be a slant to the entire race, I think it is where much of this fear is rooted in terms of the "element" at Atlantic Station.

  88. One other comment I forgot to mention in my last post. How about charging $5+ for non-residents and non-employees of Atlantic Station (and the surrounding condos/apartments). Make it free only for employees and residents and maybe the loiterers would not be so inclined to come hang out and not spend any money (unless they fork out $5+ for the shuttle, or drive themselves).

  89. I've found that I cut my visits short to avoid paying for parking. I always tell myself that I'll walk back over when I have time, but never do. Perhaps they can develop a free parking option for residents. I understand that completely free parking would lead to problems. I'd suggest offering free parking to residents Monday-Thursday 10a-6p and forbidding overnight parking. Require residents show a drivers license with an AS address. They could direct residents to use one of the slower exits (P2 on 16th?) or dedicate the exit nearest the attendant. This may help weekly daytime foot traffic as well.

    Of course, I'll be more likely to go when there are more things to interest me. AS may be able to bring in new tenants but the challenge will be working with the current businesses to broaden their services, menus, etc. to appeal to families and not 22 year olds.

  90. Please stop with talk of curfews. Ridiculous. We live in America not the Soviet Union. I dont mind the kids, I might the punk adults. The 12 Hotel services cash intensive offenders' partying habits (drugs and hookers). That hotel needs to clean up it's act. Need a williams sonoma.

  91. AS could take advantage of it's town-like layout and create unique activities that make the public spaces profitable and attract more people:

    1.The Saturday and Sunday markets could be enhanced with family oriented street performers such as jugglers, face painters, balloon twisters, caricaturists, puppeteers and magicians. The performers would work for tips.

    2.Friday and Saturday night street performers could have more of an “edge” with traveling performance artists, mimes, talented solo musicians, fortune tellers and fire breathers.

    3.I also like the idea of letting people walk The District with their drinks on Friday and Saturday night – lots of security – and clean up!

    4.Free morning Yoga/Tai Chi in Central Park 3 or 4 times a week for residents and workers could be hosted by LA Fitness. Encourage the participants to visit a coffeeshop or restaurant after the workout.

    5.Be the weekday evening start/finish location for running/biking groups. All that exercise makes the folks hungry.

    6.Have an ASO fundraiser by hosting a Sunday night of Atlanta's best musicians appearing on the streets performing solos for donations. The same could be done for The Ballet and Opera. It also acts as marketing for them.

    7.I like the idea of having some parallel parking spaces rented to car companies to market luxury and “green” vehicles on an ongoing basis. This makes the streets a cutting edge car showroom.

    8.The last time I was there, there were no food carts in Central Park. That might have changed but it would be nice to get a crepe, falafel or locally made pastry in the park.

    9.Regal will never have the great films that Landmark has but they could work with Regal to attract more film festivals to the evolving town center.

    10.Take advantage of Tech events by hosting Buzz, The Ramlin' Wreck, Tech cheerleaders and other Tech icons during rush, homecoming and graduation.

    11.One of the most popular events at Atlanta Pride is shopping at Phipps and Lenox. Attract shoppers to AS by presenting an LGBT performer/comedian in Central Park or featuring an LGBT Screen on the Green.

    12.Ice skating has become overdone in Atlanta during the Holiday Season but a rollerskating rink in Central Park may be cheaper and warmer - Disco Christmas.

  92. SteveK, I really like where you're headed. It's what we call "experiential retail". Have you ever been to The Grove in LA or Santana Row in San Jose?

  93. @SteveK and Mark Toro: Brilliant suggestions to improve the atmosphere of Atlantic Station. By changing events depending on time of day you can attract a wide variety of constituencies so that AS is not just seen as a "family" place or a "party place" etc. New Orleans has managed to do this with their riverfront area next to the French Quarter. I do think that it is crucial mark, for you to take a good hard look at the clientele and business practices of the 12 Hotel. I am friend with a lot of guys who work for APD, and to a man they see that hotel as the epicenter of AS' problems. The hotel is no controlling its customers and looking the other way on a LOT of bad behavior. That clientele attracts other undesirable elements that spoil the AS experience and have people encouraging their friend sto stay away.

  94. Thanks Mark. I got the ideas from my travels to places like New Orleans, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and European cities. I wouldn't over do it. I can feel desperate or kitschy.

    I looked up the places you mentioned and they would be great models for AS: local, trendy, family, upscale and fun. AS currently lacks this diversity.

    Have you thought of changing the name? It may encourage people to give it a second chance. “Old Mill Village” or “Steel Town Square” or something that keeps a reference to the site's history.

  95. Wow is all I can say. First let me say that I am aN African-American female Pharmacist and all of my friends are pharmacists and other health care professionals and we frequent AS often to shop and dine when we don't feel like going to Lenox. I enjoy the artist market and just getting some fresh air as I enjoy my ice cream. So many of you have spoken about this so called "black problem" however it should be pointed out that there has been many a time that white people have behaved very badly as well. Many of YOU hang out with no money in your pocket acting like you own the place, while my friends and I try to manuever around you with shopping bags in our hands. I could really go there and type a list of the asshole behavior I've experienced from white people in AS over the years. Atlanta is full of well to do African American, Hispanic, and Asian people who enjoy spending our money at the establishments in AS. My male friends can go from baggy jeans to business suits but the ignorance some of you convey would automatically label him a thug from what you see. We love word of mouth and I am going to circulate all of these comments because obviously you all don't want our money, not only black money but gay money as well because I belong to both communities and we love to indulge regularly on good clothes, shoes, food and drinks. So one of two things will happen, majority will be appalled and choose to take their money elsewhere or, knowing that you all don't want us here, we will come out in full force and really take over. When will you all learn to coexist peacefully. Half of you talking all of this madness will never have the balls to say anything outside of the anonymity of this thread. So stop it. To the GM of the Grape I liked it better when it first opened it was jazzy and really comfortable before, when I was there a two weeks ago it felt cold and unwelcoming. A bookstore would be a wonderful addition. We do read in case some of you were wondering.. I empathize with the residents who have watched their homes go down in value. I lived in a mixed development in Jacksonville and it was wonderful. Any HOA meetings attend them and let your voice be heard Please. One would think that for a city that is roughly 50% African American you all would be used to us by now. Some of you need little sterile close minded bubbles to live in so you won't be subjected to "ghetto, thuggish" and whatever other terms you used to describe black people. I wish those who have money and time invested in AS the best of luck and would advise MR. Toro and others to make sound business decisions to make AS better for EVERYONE!!

  96. One more thing @ Steve K in regards to your #11, you are totally accurate and I will tell you why. When everyone comes to town for Pride it is put out there through once again "word of mouth" that Lenox is more gay and lesbian friendly than AS is. We can hold hands, walk through the mall, and shop in peace without the dumbfounded looks and sub-par treatment from other shoppers and employees. Here is another experience we had a group of 8 well dressed gay & lesbian mixed crowd to eat at Copelands where given a two-hour wait, a group of 10 well dressed white people comes after us and we overhear them being told a wait of 40-45 minutes. We promptly let them know what we heard and to cancel our table. We went to the Cheesecake Factory instead and spent almost $500 that night with them. Any place that shows this lack of open-mindedness we do spread the word to avoid them.

  97. Great ideas SteveK! All of those things would make me want to visit more often! And I think The Grove in LA is a great model for AS, especially in terms of retail.

    Also, I agree about Twelve - they need to do a much better job with enforcement. Definitely something that needs to be looked at...

  98. Atlanta is a metropolitan city but it is not a very cosmopolitan city. We're not a melting pot, we're more of a tossed salad. Many African Americans have simultaneously embraced diversity on one hand and people who belong to the “Thug” sub-culture on the other. Unfortunately, thug culture seems to have a very strong anti-White streak in it. When Whites criticize thug culture, African Americans see it as racism. When African Americans defend thug culture, Whites see it as “reverse” racism.

    AS needs to attracts all people: gay, straight, Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, young, old, student, professional, tourist, singles, families. etc. AS needs to make all feel welcome with diverse events and stores while focusing on the taste of its Midtown/Buckhead market. If a group that intimidates others based on race appears (such as Thugs or Skinheads), they must be eradicated immediately. They also need to let owners/mangers know that if they develop a reputation of hostility toward one group, management will work with them to develop a more cosmopolitan clientèle. The previous management company did a very poor job of this but I think the new management is wrestling with this thorny issue.

  99. KS, no one wants to see your male friends exposed butt because his baggy jeans are so low. Maybe he isn't a "thug", but he certainly has no class. Indecent exposure isn't cool. Just because the rappers do it, doesn't mean it should be acceptable.

  100. Mark, I know it would be an expensive undertaking but I truly believe a light rail streetcar component in Atlantic Station would really set it apart. That's what sets Dallas' West Village apart. A loop through the residential area, down to Ikea, and back up through the village is not only quaint but a functional way for people with groceries and such to not have to drive.

  101. Yes to that, Jonathan. The transporting-groceries thing is something that bugs me occasionally. The #37 MARTA bus runs too infrequently through here to be as usable as I need it to be. And the shuttle, on the weekend especially, can get very crowded and cramped. Trying to fit on it with a few full shopping bags can be a pain. A light rail -- or even a more frequent, simple bus route like the Peach Bus -- would get a lot of use here.

  102. I just found out today.

    I arrived at Atlantic Station to learn that Black Market / White House had closed, I was so disappointed. This was the first place I looked, so THANKS Caleb and Shaun. I was really surprised to read some of the things that I did, I mean really surprised. But, I never really hung around Atlantic Station in the evenings, and I guess when I think about it, it was for these very reason.

    There aren't to many stores that I go Atlantic Station for because they really are for a younger crowd. I loved Black Market/ White House however, and I like Anne Taylor lofts.

    I've been hearing alot about what's going on with the new ownership and how things are "going to change" I can only hope that they change for the better.

    I think its funny however, that they are targeting the Midtown to Old Fourth Ward as "their client base" when I live in Peachtree Battle, which isn't that far from Atlantic Station. Hello,, neighbors to the north.

    I am a big fan of the weekend Artist market that they have their and I hope that is the one thing that will stay! Its one of the things that keeps me coming back, as I can find new things all the time, sometimes, I'll come on a Saturday and Sunday or two weekends in a row, because its so much fun. I will often come down with my Mom or girlfriends (and we spend a long time) to look at jewelry vendors that they have there.

    Its one of my favorite things to do in Atlantic Station, then of course we go to DSW.

    I'd like to see some a better line of women's store there, GUESSS, H&M and EXPRESS just don't cut it for me.

    I hate the parking garage and there isn't any change machines on street level. None of the store will give you change either. And, that new parking meter "call in system" is the worst. I got charged one time for 24 hours! I couldn't beleive it, and when I called, they said it was my fault and I should have remembered to call and cancel it when I left. That was the last thing I was thinking.

    So if there was one thing that I would change is the parking and the meters, and if there was one thing that I would keep, that would be the open air market on the weekends.

    But, I'm just someone from Peachtree Battle, not, Midtown.

  103. @Mark - have you considered getting some consulting help from Georgia State University's Criminal Justice department? They have some expert researchers there who do work on public safety, gangs, and crime prevention through environmental design. I took classes there and they are nationally recognized scholars. They have something called the Crime/Violence Prevention Policy Initiative that would probably be perfect for helping you make some changes and tweaks to AS that would elevate safety and (more importantly) the perception of safety.

  104. One other comment I forgot to mention in my last post. How about charging $5+ for non-residents and non-employees of Atlantic Station (and the surrounding condos/apartments). Make it free only for employees and residents and maybe the loiterers would not be so inclined to come hang out and not spend any money (unless they fork out $5+ for the shuttle, or drive themselves).
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Sorry Amy that won't work. Marta is only 2.00 or people can walk from the train station for free. If I pay 5.00 for a such a short shuttle ride then it better serve imported beer with a masseur as well.

  105. I spotted a website yesteday that appeared a decent amount similar to this, are anyone convinced an individual seriously isn't copying this web site?

  106. Since the theater acts much like an anchor tennant to AS, why not look at turning it into an upscale, reservations-only, preferred seating type of place (for example .

  107. JM - Monaco Pictures is an EXCELLENT idea! I looked them up and it would definitely make the necessary upgrades to the AS movie experience and attract an upscale crowd (that would spend more money at AS stores). It would be a risy but bold move to get rid of a big company like Regal but the crowd Regal attracts, the movies they show and their ugly decor have got to go!

  108. Love to hear changes are coming, but how about taking care of what we have now? For example, the AS website still lists White House/Black market and the Cleaners on the shops page. In addition, we're 7 days from March 1 and the March events calendar is not up yet. How about planning ahead so that people can get excited for upcoming events like the Sham Rock N Roll run? Hope things get better, or we'll be moving next year.

  109. Many thanks to all whove taken the time to share their perspective on Atlantic Station. We've identified a number of themes emerging from posts here and elsewhere. Please visit our Facebook page and share your comments to our "What We Heard" posts.

  110. I agree with alot of the suggestions stated, however I dont agree with the underlying tone. Everyone keeps talking about "black,thugs,poor,ghetto". Unfortunately, if you look at the inner city demographics those are the people you are amongst when living in an urban environment. If you look at the inner city in itself there is nothing for the group of people you are referring to, to do but hangout at AS. There are no other outlets for these individuals to go to. The malls have just as many "black thugs, poor, ghetto, and gay" people visiting them as Atlantic station. Wherever you have public transportation and free bus rides you will have young people (no matter what demographic) hanging out. I like the idea of a curfew. This would get rid of alot of the very young people hanging out late nights, however living in the city, crime is a part of the equation. Hell, I lived in Alpharetta and had my car broken into twice and stolen. There are very few of the "undesireables" living way out there. To the buyers, you should have known what you were signing up for before moving into that area. Statistics dont lie. If you want majority "white, non threatening blacks, less homosexuals, and a greater sense of security" move to the northern subarbs, because you all know whats on the eastside, southside, and westside of Atlanta. The people who were displaced so you all can have the "Urban lifestyle" you are looking for. Get real....Im from NYC...the complaints that you are giving would be laughed at....You would think that with the high taxes you guys are paying to live in that zip code you could have you own highly visible police department...Property values everywhere are falling and its due to the original inflated house prices, vacancies do to unemployment and lower wages, and foreclosures. If they left Buckhead alone midtown would not have this problem...lets hear it for the "Rodeo Drive of the South" that never quite happenned....SMH

  111. Copy a complete success - The Grove in Los Angeles. Beautiful organic open spaces, the right, successful retailers and restaurants and virtually no bad element. Nominal parking fees from the first minute and no through streets keep out the bad element. No thru streets and no traffic also make it very kid friendly. Adjacent to a permanent farmers market brings in more of the right demo. Has a nice movie theater that's a dollar or so higher than others nearby, so keeps the element out as well. Only thing that can't be replicated is the weather - so consider some outdoor fans, heaters and rain shelter to get closer.

  112. Sabrina, you are spot on!

    We are in the process of copying The Grove, blatantly and shamelessly, as it is the best example of experiential retailing in the US. To assure that we get it right, we have brought on a General Manager who knows how it's done...because he's done It. Tom Miles ran The Grove and Santana Row, another great example of experiential retailing, and he is already hard at work...shaping our guest experience.

  113. Mark Toro, I'm sorry I ever doubted you. I'm a fan and am looking forward to seeing how you get AS up to par.

  114. As an urban designer, I have to refute "C.O."'s causal relationship between urbanism and crime. Cities like Tokyo are much more urban than any city in the U.S. yet their crime rate is lower. Each society must calibrate its tolerance between personal freedoms and public safety. Most Americans visiting Tokyo might find it too restrictive although they appreciate the safety of the city. Atlantic Station on the other hand needs to improve public safety even if that means restricting some personal freedoms. As for the young kids who have nowhere else to go, parents need to teach them that they are free to be rude and coarse but that behavior will restrict where they can go in life. Instead of their parents asking society to lower its standards to the kids' level, these parents need to tell their kids to either aim higher or accept the fact that there are places where they will have a hard time being accepted.

  115. I'm looking forward to Atlantic Station being the type of destination place it was originally designed to be! I'm also super excited that - for once - we feel that our voices are being heard! I would love to see some sort of niche boutique or retailer come in that's no where else in Atlanta. Too bad you couldn't get Jonathan Adler in there! He's on your side of town, though 😉

    Keep it going! I can't wait to see what you all have up your sleeve...

  116. Atlanta just sucks! I just moved back after living in Chicago for 4 years and this town will never be in the same class as the Miami, New York, Chicago, LA, London's of the World.
    You need great visionaries for that not just developers trying to make a buck.
    It's funny...Chicago had an area kind of what Atlantic Station was. An industrial area on the West Side that was old factories and 1920-1940's era buildings. Did they tear it down to build a new cookie cutter, city within a city cut off from the rest of CHicago w/ the same old corporate chains.

    No they are CHicago not Atlanta. They filled the place up with retro lofts, trendy restaurants bars and nightclubs with easy access to the city all the while keeping the architecture and character of its era.

  117. @Atlanta Sucks:
    We've done the turn-old-factories-into-trendy-loft thing over and over again (see Ford Factory Lofts). And, like a lot of cities, we've also done the live-work-shop thing a few times (which is the idea behind Atlantic Station).

    There are plenty more opportunities for that. For example, we have Old City Hall which, at least a few years ago, was going to be yet another live-work-shop complex (I think it was abandoned).

    I'll tell you this. I really hated Atlanta when I first moved here. But, I really like it now. You're going to make yourself insane if you expect it to turn into Chicago.

    Take a deep breath.

  118. I personally am not surprised at the end result of Atlantic station. I have had the opportunity to develop a hotel/condo tower on the east side of the connector for some five years. (Granted, now would not be the time.) The project was shelved because we realize the city of Atlanta will always force "inclusion" upon developers when they (the city) know darn well the developer will sell those units (Section 8) at a loss. They also know that in Atlanta low income inclusion means the "ghettoization" of an area.

    Perhaps in the future we will have a new Milton County where development will thrive.

  119. Normally I don't comment on your posts but I wanted to let you know I have placed a link to your page on my blog. I was thinking that maybe you could benefit from my visitors since we have somewhat similar pages.

  120. What a great article! I've lived in Atl. Station for 3 1/2 years and love it. I moved to Atlanta from London and chose this part of town for it's convenience and close proximity to all the things I love...the museum, great restaurants, easy access to the airport, etc.

    I would love to see the concept of Atl Station evolve, and under the new ownership, I do see some changes ( albeit small) making a positive difference.

    I'm not from Atlanta, but I do find that anytime you see a large contingency of African Americans, folks tend to get a little nervous...this is still GA, after all. But, I suppose, that's another post for another time.

    I'm anxious to see how the changes that have been implemented pan out in the coming months. I'm hearing rumblings that there will be a few major overhauls to the stores and restaurants here. I really wish Empire State South would have opened in the area. THAT would have been a definite game changer. Overpriced chain restaurants are never a good look. A farmer's market would be a GREAT addition as well.

    Overall, I don't think folks from Atlanta will truly embrace the concept of live, work, play...most of the residents in my building are from elsewhere. The price-point is high, and Atlanta isn't necessarily conducive to $1500+ rentals and $500K condos...but for those of us who enjoy urban living, it's a great concept.

  121. Atlantic Station is the next Underground Failure and "Downtown Buckhead: Failure waiting to happen. You can't frequent the place after the sun goes down, it's infested with the filth that took over the Buckhead district that finally shut it down....Gang bangers, Guns and Thugs.
    Just wait, 2-Shootings/Murders and a 1/2 dozen muggins from now and the place will be a Ghost town...(Did I just read American Eagle is bailing on the complex????). Sounds familiars.

    And in their short sitedness...they'll start charging for parking for "everyone"...that will be the nail in the coffin...

  122. Okay, Anonymous. We all know that AS has had problems. Did you miss all of the things the new owner is trying to do to fix the problems? I think they're reconsidering the parking issue. Would that change your mind at all?

    Don't you want for this to work? If you have suggestions, you should put them on here. Or, should we just assume that all development in Atlanta will become like "Underground", throw up our hands and be done with it all?

  123. I could NOT agree more about the restaurants. Atlanta's local restaurants are so strong, and I think the developer missed out in not getting them to consider a new location at Atlantic Station.

  124. I'm a black female physician in my thirties. I've patronized AS multiple times per week for years. I've never felt unsafe and have never witnessed any crime. To read these posts, I guess I've just been lucky. The changes the new management has made are palpable, but they definitely make me feel that I am not a target demographic. There seems to be such a tremendous desire to bring in more whites (the music being played and the performers being booked) that you exclude people of other races regardless of their upbringing, values, class and socioeconomic status. This thread has shown me that several of you equate black with poor and thug. It'll be interesting to see if this "white wash" can be created in a city with so much diversity. I cannot continue to patronize places that cannot see past race and considers all people of my coloring to be the same. I don't do that to other racial groups.

  125. I am looking at this place for a vacation rental, would there be any problems with the home owners association or covenants that would prevent me from doing this? Mostly looking at the condos in the high rises.

  126. I love the changes at Atlantic Station! It's finally beginning to have some unique qualities instead of just being a boring suburban lifestyle center. I had quit going there, but have begun to shop there again recently. Does anyone know if the report is true that Neiman Marcus is going to open a "Last Call Studio" store there?

  127. Decided to give AS another chance. Our family went into a restaurant after Christmas, across from the movie theater, and turned around and left after 30 seconds. The four 25 year old guys with their pants down to their knees in front of us made us sick.

    The place is full of gangsters and there is no way can I bring my 2 kids into that kind of environment. It's really too bad. Get rid of that movie theater and you might have something. Bring in a farmers market or something.

    http://www.suburbansquare.com/ Check this out to see how it's done Atlanta.

    So long Atlantic Station. We will never return. Epic fail.

    Saddened Midtown Resident

  128. For those that brought the race issue into the discussion. Yall are disgusting. White people need to get used to the fact that no matter where you go, you gonna see black people. There are all kinds of black people just like their are all kinds of white people. If you dont want to see black people stay at your country club. Get over yourselves. When Atlantic Station was built there was no real incentive to go there instead of a regular mall. Strip was wack, the menu was weak and the restaurant was raggedy from the very beginning. The movie theater wasnt well kept either. It was filthy. I thought what is so special about coming here if they cant keep it clean? I did think that Dolce, Geisha, and California pizza kitchen was great, but now they need to put stores and restaurants there that are unique. I agree with the idea of boutiques with one of a kind pieces. I never saw a hair salon but that is needed ( an upscale salon) and a full service spa. If you get some creative minds Atlantic station will be fine.

  129. HA - "Terresha"... wow - your parents sure played a joke on you!

    Either way - your argument is just as racist as any other made on here - "stay at your country club"? Ridiculous. Maybe some of us like to go shopping without having to worry about our cars being broken in to, purses being snatched, or just making a wrong turn down a dark alley. I had a friend who living in one of the condos and had someone climb 2 stories up and break in through her balcony. Luckily she wansn't home but I'm sure you can guess where he DIDN'T live...

    End the free shuttle and the crime will cut in half. If all of these people want somewhere free to hang out they need to stay in their own neighborhood.

  130. What is Kimco? Suburban Square is a nice place to go and you don't have to worry about dudes walking around with thier pants at their knees. At least you feel safe.

  131. Well, the last 2 times I tried to support AS I was treated like I wasn't really wanted there. The first time was earlier this summer when the wife and I were on our touring motorcycle (not a loud Harley) and wanted to have dinner. The "security" there said we could park our motorcycle anywhere except the Target parking lot. So, we went somewhere else where we were more welcome.

    The second time was a couple of weeks ag. After spending about $140 at one of the restaurants we get to our car where one of the meter maids was writing a ticket for our car. It had literally just expired by 2 minutes and as we were walking to the car. The "meter maid" wrote the ticket anyway even after we showed our receipt. So, guess what....we will NEVER come to Atlantic Station again.

    I'm sure the retailers and restaurants are real happy about that. AS needs to be much more consumer friendly in addition to having better options for shopping.

  132. My husband and I (50-something empty nesters) moved to Atlanta 3 years ago and were looking for a one year rental at the time. We looked at Atlantic Station and passed because it felt cold, half-empty and not dog-friendly. At the time we were not aware of "the element" issue which is unfortunate.

    As a resident of midtown for the past 3 years, I go to AS a couple of times a month, but it tends to be a one-stop trip - to Ikea, to Target or to Dillards, West Elm, etc. I have seen improvements over the past 3 years - the parking, while still confusing has improved with better lighting, signage and attendants, thank you!

    We have recently bought a condo in midtown and would love to see a Midtown-AS loop/shuttle/trolley which allows us midtown residents to not have to navigate TWO parking garages (at our condos and again at AS) or give up our coveted on-street space. A hop-on/hop-off trolley for residents/students/tourists that runs from AS to Arts Station to Colony Square-10th St -5th St- Ga Tech Conference Center would encourage traffic and make all of Midtown a destination rather than the one-way ticket for teenagers with nothing better to do.

    More stops will encourage shoppers as well as schelpping packages/groceries 5 or 10 blocks is a hassle, 1-2 blocks, not so much.

    AS needs to connect with the Midtown Mile as you have shopping experiences that those residents need! You need to tap in to the thousands of current mid-town residents as well as the 1,000+ new apartments/condos coming on stream in the next 12 months. It's not Us vs. Them. We are all in this together to make this a thriving community!

  133. For starters, change the rules i.e. "code of conduct" at AS and enforce them with beefed up, visible, security. I was there last week and a "cruisin' car passed by me blasting rap music. It was pretty obnoxious.

Click on a tab to select how you'd like to leave your comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

The Elite 100

WNA’s Picks of ATL’s Best.

View The List
Partner Spotlight
Southern Choice Construction

Southern Choice Construction strives to be a valued partner through the entire process, from concept development to facilities...

LEARN MORE