Atlantic Station open to the public last month and looks to be a huge succes. I think Steelyard Commons would have had much more positive feedback if it were modeled after the Atlanta project. They had the same problem we had - closed steel yard, vacant land - but they have turned it into a much more sustainable project. They have IKEA as a main retail tenent, as opposed to sprawlmart, so that may be a plus for them. The thing is, even if they had a wall-to-wallmart, Atlantic Station is adding a significant amount of housing to the new neighborhood. So, any possible loss to retailers in the surrounding neighborhoods due to loss of pedestrian traffic will be countered by the new residents.
If you look at the picture, you may think it is similar in land size (and shape) as to SYC. In fact, both are to have about 1 million square feet of retail; however, Atl Stn will add about 5,000 units of housing (I know, no low income housing - but many units will be labled 'affordable'), and abot 6 million square feet of office space. Everything will be constructed using smart growth policies.
The Atlantic Journal-Constitution states:
"To support the goal of being a pleasant place to walk, the retail district is laid out in a grid pattern, with wide sidewalks and narrow streets passing brick buildings lined with glass windows that let people gaze inside the shops. Parking is in underground decks, so streets should be mostly free of vehicles."
"While the place has all the signs of wealth, it also meets a goal of providing room for the working classes. Nearly 300 rental apartments and condos — one-fifth of all those built — were reserved for residents who earn the wages of office clerks, teachers and police officers. And the IKEA home furnishings store and Dillard's department store are filled with wallet-friendly items."
"The site paid about $300,000 a year in property taxes when it was a steel mill. This year, it will pay about $8 million, and payments are expected to reach up to $25 million a year in 2010. And those figures do not include new sales taxes to be generated by the retail district and hotel."
I liked this under the FAQ section of the Atl Stn Site:
Do I need a car at Atlantic Station? Only if you like having something to wash on the weekends. Everything you need will be within walking distance, from groceries, to work out facilities, to such a wide range of restaurants, that you'll never be bored with what’s for dinner. Need to get somewhere outside Atlantic Station? Just hop on our trolley and catch a ride to the MARTA Arts Center station.
I wonder if Mitchell Schneider of First Interstate has some plans in store for expanding the SYC to include office space or residential units. I wonder if he even looked at Atlanta as a model - doesn't look like it.