Redesigning one of Atlanta’s oldest neighborhoods

Photo by Unique Rodriguez | The Signal

A brand new semester is here and Georgia State has more in store than just academics, as development around Summerhill promises new places to eat, shop and live.

Carter, the development company working on the private aspects of the renovation, partnered with Georgia State to round-out the area around the new Panther Stadium with restaurants, shops and student housing.

With several steps in the works, students can expect new happenings every few months. The first step, according to a statement released by the university is revitalizing Georgia Avenue as a bustling hotspot.

“Once re-energized by eateries, shops and community staples, that strip, a stadium cross street and a main drag in the area, will be an anchor for a larger vision: A mixed-use reinvention of Summerhill,” the press release stated.

According to Carter’s Senior Vice President, David Nelson, everything is going according to plan and both teams are working to ensure smooth transitions.

A barbecue restaurant, an ice cream shop, and a brewery are already set to open once construction is finished.

“We’re under construction on it. We’re expecting to be done with construction within the next couple of months and that way people will be able to visit by the spring,” Nelson said.

The project is intended to highlight the potential for collaboration within the community and bring the university and the city closer together.

Krystle Rodriguez, a Georgia State graduate from the class of 2006, is helping to solidify the relationship between the two.

“She wanted to be near her school and to be a place where students to go to hang out,” Nelson said.

The area is said to be designed with students in mind, with bicycle lanes, plenty of opportunities for work or internships within the retail and business districts and student housing slated to be move-in ready by Fall 2019.

After Georgia Avenue “neighborhood retail” facelift, Nelson says Hank Aaron Drive is next on the docket.

“As we go up Hank Aaron drive, it’s a bigger, more urban feel. On that street, we have the potential to do a grocery store or a movie theater or a fitness center. Ultimately, for the full project, we could have a little bit of everything,” he said.

Traffic and safety are also expected to be reduced, as the plan already includes $12.6 million in federal funding to bring the Bus Rapid Transit Line from downtown to within Summerhill’s center by 2024.

“That would help move students or people that are staying downtown to businesses or residences,” Nelson said.

According to the Atlanta Police Department, Summerhill’s crime rates have declined, and the implications are significant.

“We hope that this project will appeal to students; undergraduates, graduates, or people that have graduated and call Atlanta home. We want to be a place that they choose to live or shop or hang out,” Nelson said.