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Revitalizing Neighborhoods: Atlanta's Glenwood Park

Glenwood Park is an award-winning, 28-acre, mixed-use brownfield redevelopment, two miles southeast of downtown Atlanta. The neighborhood is noted for its commitment to traditional neighborhood design, walkability, mix of uses, and environmental management practices.

Published May 2, 2012 in Learning From      16 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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Prior to its development, the project's location was an industrial site that had been used as a concrete recycling facility.  In 2000, the industrial site was purchased by Novare Group.  During the real estate boom, Novare had looked into developing a similar project in downtown Jacksonville.  By the time Novare was ready to build, the market had changed, causing Novare to invite Atlanta-based Green Street Properties to take over the development.



Green Street's plan was to create a development that would be a real neighborhood, moreso than an isolated infill project.  The result was a neighborhood featuring a traditional mix of different housing types, along with retail, office, civic, and recreational assets.



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Glenwood Park will be a real neighborhood that features a traditional fine-grained mix of different housing types as well as retail activity, office space, civic buildings, and recreational assets.

Glenwood Park will offer a compelling alternative for those who are dissatisfied with the choices provided by conventional development. Conventional development emphasizes the private realm—privacy, exclusivity, bigger and bigger houses. Glenwood Park will emphasize the public realm—community, diversity, the quality and character of streets, and sidewalks, parks, plazas, and other public spaces.

Glenwood Park will gracefully accommodate cars, but it will be designed for people. It will be very walkable. Cars will travel slowly, and sidewalk and street designs will emphasize pedestrian comfort and safety. There will be plenty of interesting things to walk to, because of the fine-grained mix of uses. And walks won’t be too long, because the neighborhood will be relatively compact.

The commercial center of Glenwood Park will have retail establishments that serve the practical everyday needs of both Glenwood Park and its surrounding neighborhoods—needs that are currently not well served. And because of its unique character and easy access, it will also act as home for businesses that are a destination for citizens of the entire metro area and beyond.

Glenwood Park will be designed to allow a great deal of flexibility in how the neighborhood evolves over time.
http://www.terrain.org/unsprawl/17/









In the commercial areas of the development, surface parking is located in the rear of buildings.  Both private and public spaces are provided.









Three major challenges to making Glenwood Park a reality had to be met during the permitting phase.  First, a new city ordinance had to be passed to allow the development to have narrower streets and tighter corners than what city officials originally desired.  The second issue involved reconfiguring the existing sewers to create a storm water retention park for the development.  The last major challenge was convincing the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to give jurisdiction of Bill Kennedy Way to the City of Atlanta.  This was important because this street would serve as the project's main street, featuring street trees and on-street parking.  At the time, the GDOT was not supportive of the main street approach.


Glenwood Park site in 1993.


Glenwood Park site in 2011.



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16 Comments

tufsu1

May 02, 2012, 09:02:20 AM
I have visited here a few times...quite possibly my favorite new urbanist development

jcjohnpaint

May 02, 2012, 09:04:31 AM
very very impressive.  Glad someone is building neighborhoods to last.

Jason

May 02, 2012, 09:10:34 AM
That place looks fantastic!  Just imagine if something like that was built along the MARTA line...

mtraininjax

May 02, 2012, 12:01:48 PM
Eh - Not as special to me as Virginia-Highlands or Morningside.

tufsu1

May 02, 2012, 12:40:02 PM
^ sure but those aren't brand new, master planned neighborhoods either.....let's reexamine Glenwood Park in 50 years and see how it stacks up

simms3

May 02, 2012, 12:52:16 PM
Glenwood Park is actually only about a mile from the Inman Park MARTA station (though it's not highly accessible and too far still).  I actually work for the firm that developed this project in partnership with another prestigious local developer/financier (Jamestown bought Green Street in 2008, and the partnership included a man who heads one of the largest development firms in the SE) and this was the key development that turned me onto the firm (glad I made it in!!).

The "2011" aerial is actually a couple years old.  There are a surprising amount of similar developments in the city, though Glenwood Park is one of the few that got a substantial amount of press.  It's mostly self-sustaining now.

What I say is if Atlanta can develop into a large urban city with only 2 lane roads serving 20 lane highways and no grid, built around ravines and hills, then Jacksonville should EASILY be able to with its large grid and flat land.  You would not need large developers to build Glenwood Parks in Jacksonville because you should be able to tweak the zoning codes and land use codes to enforce similar development from a grass roots piece by piece process.  The whole city could essentially look similar, all done on a 1-4 unit basis rather than larger projects all at once.  Atlanta needs the larger developments, tied together by corridors due to its topography and the way it is laid out, but Jacksonville could be uniformly similar.

simms3

May 02, 2012, 01:01:25 PM
I forgot to mention that Green Street Properties co-founder Charles Brewer is also the founder of Mindspring, which merged with Atlanta-based Earthlink later on.  Charles is no longer with the company (Katherine Kelly, the other co-founder, is and remains a director at Jamestown as well).  Charles is still active with Midtown Alliance and other local organizations, and is one of many many similar smart, wealthy entrepreneurs.  Jacksonville needs its own to step up and become more active.

billy

May 02, 2012, 01:08:41 PM
Wasn't Mr. Brewer doing some work in Costa Rica?

jcjohnpaint

May 02, 2012, 04:21:23 PM
Glenwood Park is actually only about a mile from the Inman Park MARTA station (though it's not highly accessible and too far still).  I actually work for the firm that developed this project in partnership with another prestigious local developer/financier (Jamestown bought Green Street in 2008, and the partnership included a man who heads one of the largest development firms in the SE) and this was the key development that turned me onto the firm (glad I made it in!!).

The "2011" aerial is actually a couple years old.  There are a surprising amount of similar developments in the city, though Glenwood Park is one of the few that got a substantial amount of press.  It's mostly self-sustaining now.

What I say is if Atlanta can develop into a large urban city with only 2 lane roads serving 20 lane highways and no grid, built around ravines and hills, then Jacksonville should EASILY be able to with its large grid and flat land.  You would not need large developers to build Glenwood Parks in Jacksonville because you should be able to tweak the zoning codes and land use codes to enforce similar development from a grass roots piece by piece process.  The whole city could essentially look similar, all done on a 1-4 unit basis rather than larger projects all at once.  Atlanta needs the larger developments, tied together by corridors due to its topography and the way it is laid out, but Jacksonville could be uniformly similar.

Yeah I agree.  It goes to show it is mostly about leadership.  You can have the most fertile ground and still not choose to grow on it.  I just hope we see it before I'm old and grey. 

mtraininjax

May 02, 2012, 04:34:25 PM
Quote
Jacksonville needs its own to step up and become more active.

The way Arthur Blank is whining about a new stadium? HOK estimated the new stadium would cost 1 billion there in Atlanta when the existing is not that old for stadium standards and is still in very good condition. To achieve the 1 billion cost, the latest idea is to add a surcharge for every ticket sold to a facility in Atlanta, a facility fee to help pay for the cost to maintain a facility, even if that facility is an outdoor park. So this facility fund grows and grows and is used for maintenance, right, who is to say the fund is not used for Peter who robbed Paul and another city need?

Why can't Blank put down his own money for a new stadium? Is Home Depot really in that bad of shape?

finehoe

May 02, 2012, 04:36:25 PM
Quote
During the real estate boom, Novare had looked into developing a similar project in downtown Jacksonville.

Located where?

simms3

May 02, 2012, 07:09:02 PM
mtraininjax...lol.  I don't know enough about the stadium deal to comment, but your example is just way off base.  I can name on one hand private sector leaders who truly care about Jacksonville and make visible and impactful differences.  I don't think I can conjure up 1/20th of the people in Atlanta even if I researched, or 1/5th in Charlotte or Nashville.

That's hopefully not too insulting to those with influence and who put forth effort who may read that comment, but it is true, sadly.  Arthur Blank has invested so much in Atlanta already, probably enough to buy the City of Jacksonville if that were possible.  His stadium thing may be a bad deal and may pose conflicts with the state, taxpayers, fans etc, but it's offset at least with everything else.  His partner Bernie Marcus has certainly contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to Georgia Tech and Emory, and countless other not-for-profits locally.  They both provide seed money and advise funds, chair non-profits, sit on community boards, bring business to the city, etc etc.

In development world there are even more examples, and as has been mentioned Jim Borders is certainly one of the big names, as is Michael Brewer and Katherine Kelly, the three instrumental folks at Glenwood Park.  It took a good bit of personal financing from all three.

simms3

May 05, 2012, 12:24:03 PM
MetroJacksonville got a blurb on Curbed:



http://atlanta.curbed.com/

Jason

May 08, 2012, 09:59:21 AM
Nice find Simms!

billy

May 08, 2012, 11:41:19 AM
I thought Novare had planned to do a for sale highrise in Jacksonville at some point, prior to the current malaise. I was told they had a site picked out. I would be curious about the location.

tufsu1

May 08, 2012, 01:31:32 PM
correct....they had done some due diligence on the open lot on the river next to the Riverside Ave. YMCA
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