Good opportunity to advocate for tasteful, walkable multi-story density at the current one story building adjacent to the castle. Elevation could be added while preserving the one story building's stone exterior. A retirement center with adjacent hotel for visiting family members or a conference center and expanded arts space and studio apartments overlooking the bluff would be nice additions to help the city see we are serious about creating the density needed to justify light rail. All of these approaches could include preserving the stockade building while integrating it's back patio with the adjacent Arts Exchange facility. Great location for walkways and a bike route away from traffic. Grant Park desperately needs an east-west bike route where parents can ride safely with kids. Make it happen.
In understanding how the bait and switch process works with local developers, we can anticipate a flurry of concern about the potential loss of the historic stockade at Glen Castle. The historic committee will help fan the flames to "reach a compromise" with the developers. The historic structure will be maintained and additional retirement buildings will likely be added - which is good if it's designed for community interaction and walkability. Unfortunately the compromises we've seen over the previous years have lacked the walkable New Urbanism that went into the design of Glenwood Park. Instead we're seen barriers to walkability, like the block-long ENSO structure with no break for a walk-through. Most of the new apartments being created in the area are likewise missing opportunities to create public facing squares and multi-use public alleyways.
The Glenwood Castle bluff will likely emerge as a gated community as a result of the current mindset. It's how people concerned about security-first design their worlds. It's not the design philosophy of connectivity that makes Glenwood Park great with cool hidden stairways, pocket parks and open community areas. It's a sad day for Glen Castle in my opinion. It's a lost opportunity to create our own open retirement community where people of all ages enjoy recreation and art-focused amenities. Grant Park, if you continue to favor fences and structural barriers out of fear, your fears will add yet another barrier to walled Atlanta. Midtown gets it, SAND gets it. Grant Park is still divided in understanding the importance of connectivity to the New Urbanism.
Fuqua's signs said "Live, Work, DWELL" long before the neighborhood started discussions. In retrospect, Walmart would have been more likely to create an exciting walkable urban town center if the neighborhood were more proactive in engaging our own local architects in pitching concepts. Kroger is all about large exposed parking lots and lacks the focus on solar energy production that makes Walmart the countries largest producer of clean solar energy. Walmart also has a new fleet of efficient, quiet trucks rolling out. In contrast, Kroger has been aggressively closing stores nationwide to avoid losses in recent years. The move to create massive Kroger superstores is defensive. Closing the nearby Kroger store on Moreland seems likely within several years. Fuqua said from the start he wasn't pitching the space for a Walmart. Bait and switch. A Walmart seems more likely at Turner Stadium, let's hope they do something cool and urban with covered parking. Let's also hope some brilliant business woman can figure our how to quickly move products from these megastores into small local satellite stores so we can stroll to grab fixin's for our evening meals without fighting traffic on the outskirts of fort Grant Park.
Looking forward to hearing if Fuqua has improved the plan for the adjacent forest with the smaller store footprint. If not, we stand to lose A LOT of canopy. Hopefully the neighborhood can get a variance for fewer parking spaces since a three story deck is planned for 2018. Combining two lanes into one with pull-in parking would preserve even more forest while protecting pedestrians.
Here's a graphic illustrating the concept:
The top of the graphic shows the tall 8+ foot embankment from the prior Fuqua proposal. It would be nice to instead stagger the elevation using an elevated pathway (lower illustration). The south side of the path could connect to the food truck area Fuqua is adding across from the high school. The north side could connect to the senior residence building where a bike path will connect along the freeway to Kalb Ave.
Fuqua Development had a parking deck in the second version of their proposal which was removed it in the third application. It covered half the parking surface area and did not extend over the sewer trunk line. It was a good step in the right direction, though it had a hideous canyon in front of the box store where a pedestrian street could have resided. Why is Fuqua Development now saying "no" to a parking deck? Are they planning to offer to reinstate a partial deck as a negotiating chip? Let's get the entire surface covered, akin to Atlantic Station. Let's also advocate for sharing the high school parking area after 5pm to allow for a dinner theater. With most attendees arriving on foot and bikes, extra parking won't be needed. Let's avoid the unused covered parking lot that was required at the Edgewood Target. Some of the current cement slabs would be great to retain for their rustic feel as a public space. I assume that's where the food trucks would reside. The forest surrounding Glen Castle also needs major passion from the community in advocating for stairways and a terraced garden area similar to the Duke University Gardens.
@JoeInAtlanta - I voted down your post because I think the parking deck at the botanical garden is incredibly well done. I'm opposed to parking decks at Glenwood Place and would rather see multiple small parking lots with more onstreet parking. The botanical garden deck shows that the Fuqua family does support projects that listen to community input. I assume Faqua Development is under contract from Walmart to present dozens of "possible" plans around the country. I think the blatant disregard for the fabric of adjacent Glenwood Park was Jeff Fuqua's way to support his obligations with Walmart, while delivering a plan he know the community would reject. Someone as successful a Mr. Fuqua doesn't get there by making dumb moves. Our real challenge is to hammer home the details - water retention pond with green space, no fake facades (avoid the false fronts of Edgewood Shopping district), bikeways in park areas rather than along roadways, close integrate with the surrounding neighborhoods by making Glen Castle part of the neighborhood design. Here's a page where we're collecting ideas: http://neighborhood.org/go/grantpark/east/
Coffee shops should simply charge laptop squatters $10/hr after the first 30 minutes. Buying food and drink suffice as payment.
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