Perhaps lost in the furor of election coverage, there was a potentially very big economic development story in Atlanta on Monday. After multiple delays and re-workings, the Atlanta City Council voted on and approved a development deal for the “Gulch” – a large swath of land adjacent to State Farm Arena and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Gulch has been an eyesore of sorts for decades, really since the beginning of Atlanta, and the deal may radically change the look of downtown. A relic from the railroad era, it is currently a generally empty patchwork of parking lots and railroad tracks. With Underground Atlanta still in rebuild mode, the Gulch is part of a dead zone from the Hawks home all the way to Georgia State between Decatur Street and M.L.K. Jr Drive downtown. All of that is directly adjacent to the most historic and architecturally-rich part of Atlanta, a location ripe for renewal but stalled. The City Council has been hoping for a Gulch deal for years and it appears this may be it.
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