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Deal Struck For $80M BeltLine Project, Adjustments To Trail

In this Nov. 20, 2012 photo, pedestrians walk their dogs along the Atlanta BeltLine in Atlanta. Since an Atlanta nonprofit opened a 2.25-mile-long paved trail east of downtown last month, it has attracted a steady stream of joggers, dog-walkers and cyclists to take in spectacular views of the skyline as well as a slice of established neighborhoods that were once only seen by riding a freight train. The Eastside Trail is the latest and most visible phase of the Atlanta BeltLine, an ambitious $2.8 billion plan to transform a 22-mile railroad corridor that encircles Atlanta into a network of parks, trails, public art, affordable homes and ultimately streetcars. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
In this Nov. 20, 2012 photo, pedestrians walk their dogs along the Atlanta BeltLine in Atlanta. Since an Atlanta nonprofit opened a 2.25-mile-long paved trail east of downtown last month, it has attracted a steady stream of joggers, dog-walkers and cyclists to take in spectacular views of the skyline as well as a slice of established neighborhoods that were once only seen by riding a freight train. The Eastside Trail is the latest and most visible phase of the Atlanta BeltLine, an ambitious $2.8 billion plan to transform a 22-mile railroad corridor that encircles Atlanta into a network of parks, trails, public art, affordable homes and ultimately streetcars. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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While much of the Atlanta BeltLine’s development so far has involved walking and biking trails, transit options have long been on the drawing board for parts of the 22-mile project. Those plans were in jeopardy until recently according to a report in this week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle.

An agreement has been reached to allow a big new mixed-use project to proceed on the Atlanta BeltLine while preserving future transit options along a rapidly developing area of the Eastside Trail.

Discussions have been ongoing for weeks over a proposed $80 million mixed-use project at 670 DeKalb Ave. in Inman Park. North American Properties and Vantage Realty Partners are planning a 4.4-acre development that would include about 350 apartment units and 25,000 square feet of retail and loft office space.

In recent weeks, community activists were up in arms because they believed the proposed alignment of the Eastside Trail would prohibit future transit under DeKalb Avenue and through Hulsey Yard — an active CSX Corp. rail yard and one of the most complicated segments the Eastside Trail will need to navigate.

BeltLine officials, developers and neighborhood activists finalized a new plan that realigns the BeltLine’s future transit and trail slightly westward, according to people familiar with the discussions. Involved in the talks were North American; Vantage; the BeltLine’s visionary creator, architect Ryan Gravel; long-time BeltLine advocate Angel Poventud; and architecture firm Brock Hudgins Architects.

“The previous plans would have made it virtually impossible and impractical for transit to go through the site,” said Neil Kinkopf, president of the Inman Park Neighborhood Association. “I’m confident we have preserved transit as an option.”

North American and Vantage’s project now is set to go before the Inman Park Neighborhood Association on Oct. 19. It also must clear other community meetings, which it expects to wrap up by the end of the year. Construction could kick off in early 2017.

Amy Wenk covers hospitality, retail and restaurants for Atlanta Business Chronicle. Douglas Sams covers Commercial Real Estate for Atlanta Business Chronicle.

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