For the first time since last summer, Atlanta BeltLine patrons are expected to have a direct connection to Historic Fourth Ward Park later this week.
Jim Irwin, president of developer New City Properties, tells Urbanize Atlanta a public elevator and stairs linking the Eastside Trail to the scenic greenspace are all but finished and set to open as early as Wednesday.
The bike-ready elevator—the first freestanding lift along a BeltLine path—replaces the winding Gateway connection that was too large to fit with New City’s 12-acre redevelopment of former Georgia Power property, called simply Fourth Ward project.
The developer agreed in talks with the BeltLine to close the serpentine Gateway trail early last summer and to immediately begin constructing its replacement. The gently sloping Gateway had debuted in summer 2014—a few months before another connecting path opened nearby to what was then colloquially called “Murder Kroger,” eliminating dirt paths used to access the former suburban-style grocery.
Both small trails had large impacts on connectivity in the area but have been swallowed by New City development as Eastside Trail-adjacent land values and investment has exploded. The former trail near Kroger is now a public plaza and patio.
New City’s glass elevator is meant to echo those found along New York City’s High Line.
For bicyclists, the stairway includes runnels—channels for bike tires—that aid in transporting two-wheelers between the BeltLine and park.
New City’s plans call for a modernist mini-city costing upwards of $1 billion and requiring a decade to finish. The site is considered the largest workable parcel of BeltLine land left for private development.
The first component to go vertical will be two mid-rise office buildings neighboring the new elevator, connected via a skybridge, where digital marketing titan Mailchimp will uproot its 300,000-square-foot headquarters from Ponce City Market.
Those two office buildings are scheduled to open, directly across the trail from New Realm Brewing and other businesses, by the end of 2022.
• Recent Old Fourth Ward news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)