Doraville has taken a step closer to completing a plan for the largest brownfield redevelopment in state history.
Public input from a Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) study meeting Sept. 22 could help shape a vision for the former General Motors plant–the city’s longtime economic engine until being closed two years ago.
Costing $100,000, the LCI is funded by the Atlanta Regional Council and due for completion early next year, said Caleb Racicot, an associate with Tunnell-Spangler-Walsh & Associates, the private company contracted to complete the plan.
“We’ve taken those ideas and are developing them into a master plan, which will be presented in December or January,” said Racicot, adding that a final plan will be ready for the city shortly thereafter.
It’s Doraville’s second LCI study in the past six years–the first one concentrating on the downtown area near and around the Marta station.
“The biggest reason [for a second LCI study] is that the first was done on the assumption that GM would be here in the future,” said Racicot, when asked the necessity of two studies in six years. The Atlanta Regional Council also requires studies to be updated, he said.
“We’re respecting ideas from the first that are relevant and are focusing on connecting it [to the second LCI],” said Racicot. “There’s a lot of good synergy there.”
The question of what to do with the vast space near Spaghetti Junction has perplexed city and county officials since GM announced the closure five years ago.
Former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones touted the idea of an “Atlantic Station II,” highlighting the mixed-use—retail and residential—concept of the award-winning development in Atlanta. Doraville set up a focus group around the same time.
In the past two years, rumors of a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons have surfaced. Recently, county commissioners rejected a proposal by current CEO Burrell Ellis to partly buy the land from GM with public funds in conjunction with a Florida-based developer, which would implement a mixed-use vision.
A mixed-use plan is considered the most likely recommendation of the LCI, and may incorporate more scope for a public transport for the metro area. With Doraville now lacking a major contributor since GM’s, sales taxes from a large retail district would be a welcome revenue boost.
On Oct. 19, a smaller LCI focus-group will be meeting in the Doraville Civic Center at 5 p.m. and will be open to the public. Information about the study, including latest developments, is available at http://www.tunspan.com/doraville/index.html