Archive for November, 2011

Beltline Transit Implementation Strategy Meeting Announcement

November 30, 2011

From ARC’s Transportation Spotlight blog:

Please join staff from Atlanta Beltline Incorporated on December 1st to learn and discuss the implementation of transit on the Atlanta Beltline project. Attendees will see the latest maps and analysis of potential transit corridors and will be asked to provide input on the work completed to date. Since beginning more than a year ago, ABI and the City of Atlanta have been working on the Transit Implementation Strategy for the City of Atlanta. This process involves evaluating transit corridors along the Atlanta BeltLine, which will result in an implementation strategy for transit on the Beltline.

When: Thursday, Dec. 1 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
WhereFriendship Baptist Church, 437 Mitchell St., SW Atlanta

Summit on Loft Housing To Be Held in Madison, GA on Dec. 14

November 21, 2011

Via the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH):

Loft Housing & Beyond: A Summit in Madison, GA

December 14, 2011

Cities that invest in residential areas near or adjacent to downtowns give a boost to existing downtown businesses and make downtown a more attractive place for new private investment, bringing a critical mass of people downtown to visit restaurants, go shopping, and go to work. Local elected officials, developers, bankers, and other housing experts in the state will share best practices and discuss how they encouraged residential development near downtown as part of an economic development strategy.

Keynote Speaker: Mayor Deke Copenhaver, City of Augusta

Convening Partners:

Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH)
Housing and Demographics Research Center, UGA
Fanning Institute, UGA
Georgia Municipal Association
Georgia Department of Community Affairs
Georgia Cities Foundation
Georgia Department of Economic Development
Georgia Downtown Association
Georgia Power
Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, UGA

Register on or before December 7 for $45. Day of registration is $55.

Visit the GICH website to download a detailed agenda and registration materials.

New Federal Report: Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities

November 18, 2011

Per a release from US EPA today:

The HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities and the USDA has just released Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities, a report that discusses how the four agencies are collaborating to support rural communities. This publication highlights how small towns and rural places across the country are using federal resources to strengthen their economies, provide better quality of life to residents, and build on local assets such as traditional main streets, agricultural lands, and natural resources.

The report includes sections on how HUD, DOT, EPA, and USDA programs support environmentally and economically sustainable growth in rural places; performance measures rural communities can use to target their investments; and 12 case studies of rural communities using federal resources to achieve their development and economic goals. It also outlines steps the Partnership for Sustainable Communities is pursuing to support small towns and rural places.

To read the report, please visit

For more information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, please visit

ULI Atlanta Hosting Dec. 6-7 Forum on Transit Funding and TOD

November 17, 2011

The Urban Land Institute is set to host an exciting forum in Atlanta on Dec. 6-7, 2011. Titled Retooling Places and Leveraging Transit: Overcoming Funding and Coordination Challenges to Build a Better Region, the forum will explore how U.S. metropolitan regions are approaching development around transit in the new economy, and will share information on challenges and effective approaches from Atlanta and elsewhere. Discussion questions include:

  • How can regions take advantage of the market lull to position themselves for more compact growth in the future?
  • How can transit be used to channel and promote new development?
  • What funding and financing mechanisms are being utilized in this era of austerity?
  • How are jurisdictions and developers rethinking what suburban and transit oriented development can and should look like—and how it can be funded—in a post-2008 age?

The event will feature a wide array of notable speakers and panelists, such as:

  • Heather Alhadeff, Senior Transportation Planner, Perkins + Will
  • Scott Condra, Senior Vice President, Jacoby Development, Inc.
  • Jim Durrett, Executive Director, Buckhead CID and Chair, MARTA
  • Dave Stockert, President & CEO, Post Properties, Inc. and Chair, CTM
  • Francine Waters, Managing Director, Lerner
  • Yvonne Williams, President of the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts, Atlanta, GA
  • John Heagy, Vice President, Hines
  • Brian Leary, President and CEO, Atlanta BeltLine
  • David Leininger, Chief Financial Officer, Dallas Area Rapid Transit
  • Jack Wierzenski, Director of Economic Development, Dallas Area Rapid Transit
  • Gary Slagel, Former Mayor of Richardson, Texas
  • Jason Jordan, Director, Center for Transportation Excellence
  • Kathleen Osher, Executive Director, Transit Alliance, Denver
  • Jim Stokes, Interim Executive Director, Livable Communities Coalition of Metro Atlanta

The program also features ARC’s own Tad Leithead for a special presentation and Dan Reuter as a panel discussion moderator.

For more information and to register, visit the event web page.


ARC’s Livable Centers Initiative Awards $34 Million to 13 Communities

November 15, 2011

ARC Press Release

(ATLANTA – November 15, 2011) Through its award-winning Livable Centers Initiative (LCI), the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is awarding 13 local governments a total of $34 million to build innovative transportation projects. These communities will use the grants to make their LCI study areas more walkable, livable and, in some cases, more supportive of transit.

Each of these projects includes pedestrian and bicycle improvements that make the local roads, “complete streets.” Several implement technologies and features never seen in the Atlanta region.

The recipients have been awarded grants in the past that helped them create plans to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality by better connecting homes, shops and offices; enhancing streetscapes and pedestrian amenities; and improving access to transit options.  The LCI transportation funds were awarded to communities that have taken strides to follow through with those plans.

The 13 communities chosen, out of 48 that applied are:

  • Buckhead (Atlanta), Peachtree Corridor, $1.5 million
  • Conyers, Hardin/O’Kelly Bike and Pedestrian Facilities, $3.6 million
  • Decatur, Clairemont-Commerce-Church Bike and Pedestrian Improvements, $2.1 million
  • Doraville, New Peachtree Bike and Pedestrian Improvements, $2.3 million
  • East Point, Downtown-MARTA Connectivity Project, $3.9 million
  • Fairburn, West Broad Street Bike and Pedestrian Facilities, $3.1 million
  • McDonough, Town Square Connectivity and Pedestrian Safety, $1.3 million
  • Midtown Atlanta, Juniper Street Bike and Pedestrian Facilities, $3.4 million
  • Monroe, North Broad Street Bike and Pedestrian Improvements, $1.6 million
  • DeKalb County, Lake Hearn Drive, Perimeter Summit Parkway, Parkside Place Bike and Pedestrian Facilities, $3.1 million
  • Atlanta, Ponce de Leon Avenue Pedestrian Facilities and Beltline Connections, $4 million
  • Suwanee, Buford Highway Bike and Pedestrian Facilities and intersection improvements, $3.3 million
  • DeKalb, Tucker Streetscape, $960,000

The LCI program is funded with federal transportation dollars. Once communities have completed their plans, they are eligible for this larger pot of federal funding to build the transportation projects required to see their plans realized. Each community must also pay matching funds to help cover project costs.

“LCI has helped communities across metro Atlanta re-tool and redesign over the years, creating more places that attract residents and businesses alike,” said Doug Hooker, ARC Executive Director. “This program is a model for others around the country and has helped to create or finalize many of our region’s most innovative and livable communities.”

To see more information about each project, including the amount of the local match, visit the LCI Transportation Program page.

Since the first LCI grants were awarded in 2000, more than 84,000 residential units, 21 million square feet of commercial space and 45 million square feet of office space are either planned, under construction or complete in these areas. Region-wide, 41 percent of all office space built since 2000 has been built within LCI areas. And, LCI areas have attracted eight percent of all new residential units and 21 percent of all new commercial development built in the region.

For more on ARC’s LCI program and a list of past recipients, visit

Funding and Technical Support Available from Livability Solutions

November 10, 2011

Below is information on available funding and technical support through Livability Solutions and the EPA’s Office of Sustainability. The submittal deadline for this grant is Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 8pm EST. Follow this link for additional information

Livability Solutions is a coalition helping communities succeed. We work with communities on livability, sustainability, placemaking, and smart growth. Livability Solutions came together in 2010 for the explicit purpose of consolidating and coordinating our individual initiatives and tools — making it easier for communities or regions to access resources that will help them to move toward a more livable, sustainable future. If you have a need for technical assistance to implement your goals, please contact us to access the combined experience and tools of the leading nonprofits in the field.

Our ability to assist communities was recently enhanced by a grant from the EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities under its Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program. The Building Blocks program funds quick, targeted assistance to communities that face common development problems. Through the grant we will be providing one- or two-day technical assistance programs to 6 to 12 communities in the coming year.

If you would like to apply for technical assistance under this grant, go here for more information.

We are excited to be joining the EPA in working with a growing number of communities around the country, enhancing livability, creating lasting economic and environmental improvements, and effecting positive change in the public and social health of their residents.

We welcome additional support for our efforts to offer communities a coordinated approach to solving the complex challenges of sustainable development.

Registration Open for Upcoming ARC Community Planning Academy Course

November 8, 2011

Development 101: The Real Estate Perspective of Development in the Region

The development process in our region can be a complex world to navigate. Assumptions and starting points from five years ago are very different today. This workshop will provide information on the current economy and specific tools communities can use to help plan for future development. Market trends, market studies and tools such as pro formas and project feasibility studies will be discussed. Participants will come away with a clearer understanding of the tools of development and how to set realistic goals for future growth in their community.

Sessions include:

  • Overview of Development in the Region; Monte Wilson, Urban Land Institute Board
  • Market Trends in the Atlanta Region; Eugene James, Metrostudy
  • Start to Finish: The Steps of Development; David Haddow, Haddow & Company
  • On the Ground: The Real Estate Perspective of Development; Rick Porter, Richport Properties; Stephen Arms, Marthasville Development; Cheri Morris, Morris & Fellows
  • Who’s Financing Development? Michael Hartman, Reznick Capital Markets; John O’Callahan, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership

Date/Time: Tuesday, November 15, 2011, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Location: Cornerstone Bank – Community Room, 125 Clairemont Ave., Decatur, GA 30030

Online registration:

* All tickets include breakfast, lunch and all workshop materials.

* AICP CM credits will be pursued for this course.

Six Recognized as Developments of Excellence

November 4, 2011

ARC Press Release

Atlanta Regional Commission, Livable Communities Coalition Bestow Honor for 13th Year

(ATLANTA – November 4, 2011) The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and the Livable Communities Coalition (LCC) recognized five of the region’s most innovative developments and one “Great Place,” with the 2011 Developments of Excellence Awards. The winners, announced at ARC’s annual State of the Region breakfast on Friday, November 4, were:

  • Perkins+Will Atlanta Office, Development of Excellence
  • Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, Great Place
  • Fairburn Educational Campus, Livable Centers Initiative Achievement Award
  • Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center, Leadership in Sustainability
  • Duluth Downtown Phase I, Exceptional Merit for Context-Sensitive Infill
  • The Brickworks, Exceptional Merit for Adaptive Reuse

The Developments of Excellence awards, presented annually by ARC and the LCC, recognize developments in the 10-county Atlanta region that exemplify cutting-edge, livable designs that are helping to create a positive framework for future development. The Great Place, making its debut this year, is given to a place in metro Atlanta that represents livability and sustainability, but is not necessarily a single, private development.

“We are proud to recognize developers, local governments and nonprofit organizations that change the way people and businesses in the Atlanta region interact,” said ARC Chairman Tad Leithead. “These projects and their success show us that metro Atlantans want to create a better region that is sustainable both economically and environmentally for future generations.”


2010 Development of Excellence Award

Perkins+Will Atlanta Headquarters

Looking for new office space, the architecture and design firm decided to stay close to their former Midtown home by renovating a nearby office building. Their location near the Arts Center MARTA station enables some 30 percent of employees to ride transit, carpool, bike or walk to work. The renovation allowed a branch of the Atlanta-Fulton County Library to remain in the building and created space for the Museum of Design Atlanta, as well. It also includes many “green” features like captured rainwater being used in all flush fixtures and landscape irrigation and energy-efficient systems that have resulted in 58 percent lower energy costs and a 68 percent reduction in Co2 emissions.


Great Place

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area

The Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area covers 64 square miles located in parts of DeKalb, Rockdale and Henry counties, including the City of Lithonia. A model for public-private partnership and inter-governmental cooperation, the area contains all types of development from single-family homes to office properties, Stonecrest Mall and schools like the LEED-certified Arabia Mountain High School. The heritage area also boasts the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, Panola Mountain State Park, the Monastery of the Holy Spirit and Vaughters’ Farm. The South River flow through it, as do more than 20 miles of interconnected, multi-use trails. With help from local governments, corporations and individuals, the area is overseen by the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance.


Development of Excellence, Livable Centers Initiative Achievement Award

City of Fairburn Educational Campus

ARC’s Livable Centers Initiative provides grants to seed new ideas for more livable, walkable communities throughout our region.

Looking to boost economic development in its downtown area, the City of Fairburn and the Fairburn Development Authority decided that investing in education was the answer. With an anchor tenant waiting in the wings, the collaborative used $10 million to finance a ready-built college or technical school campus. Today, satellite campuses of Georgia Military College (GMC) and Brenau University occupy space in classically-designed education buildings. Situated along Highway 29, the campus will eventually consist of four education buildings, an administration building and two commercial buildings to provide needed services to the campus and to downtown Fairburn.


Exceptional Merit for Leadership in Sustainability

Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center

Living up to its mission of “greening Atlanta,” Trees Atlanta rehabilitated an existing industrial building on Chester Avenue and converted it into a platinum LEED-certified headquarters. The public is welcome to visit and/or schedule meetings in the nonprofit’s new office building, which features a green roof, an urban forestry demonstration site, porous landscaping pavers, rainwater collection, geothermal heating and more. While this award focuses on Trees Atlanta’s new headquarters building, it also recognizes that since its inception in 1985, the organization has planted, distributed and cared for more than 100,000 trees and educated an average of 2,000 children and adults annually. After 26 years Marcia Bansley has stepped down as head of Trees Atlanta. This award is also a tribute to her tireless work.


Exceptional Merit for Context-Sensitive Infill

Duluth Downtown Phase 1, Stantec Consultants and Mathias Construction

The Developments of Excellence jury found that Duluth struck a perfect balance between old and new with this downtown project, tying the old part of Main Street to the new city hall and amphitheater, with thoughtful location and design. The two-story, 61,000 square-foot building provides Duluth’s residents with attractive office space and new retail capacity, while minimizing the visibility of the necessary parking by placing it to the side, behind and beneath the new building. Duluth’s downtown is frequently cited as a successful example of ARC’s Livable Centers Initiative program.


Exceptional Merit for Adaptive Reuse

The Brickworks, Midtown West Associates

Located at 1000 Marietta Street, the Brickworks development has helped transform Midtown West into an integrated live-workplay environment. This innovative 144,000 square-foot development is the latest of several rehabilitation projects in the Midtown West District, a 17-acre area created from renovated warehouses, many of which date back to the 1880s and are occupied by more than 44 businesses. The district includes spaces for retail, restaurant, entertainment, showroom, live/work and office/commercial uses. Midtown West paid careful attention to preserving the historic and architectural structures with a focus on the reuse of existing wood and antique brick.

Douglas R. Hooker Sworn in as New ARC Executive Director

November 1, 2011

ARC Press ReleaseOctober 31, 2011

The Atlanta Regional Commission today voted unanimously to appoint Douglas R. Hooker as the regional planning agency’s executive director. Justice Robert Benham of the Georgia Supreme Court administered the oath of office immediately following the vote.

With Mr. Hooker’s appointment, ARC has chosen a highly experienced professional with extensive ties to government, business and nonprofit organizations throughout the Atlanta region and across Georgia to be the agency’s fourth executive director.

“Doug Hooker will be a superb executive director at a crucial time in our region’s history,” said Tad Leithead, ARC Chairman. “The ARC search committee conducted a nationwide search that attracted many qualified candidates, and Doug stood head and shoulders above them all. We are extremely fortunate to find the best candidate for this job, right in our own back yard.”

“You honor me greatly,” said Hooker after taking the oath. “This is a critical time for our region. It is vital that we build on the great success of the Atlanta Regional Roundtable, build on our Livable Centers and Lifelong Community programs, secure water supplies for our future and strengthen partnerships with public and private agencies throughout the region in order to lead metro Atlanta toward a more prosperous and sustainable future.”

Cherokee Commission Chair Buzz Ahrens chaired the ARC search committee, whose work culminated in today’s action. He noted that about a third of Commission members participated in the interview process.

Mr. Hooker comes to ARC from Atkins (formerly PBS&J), where he served as vice president and southern states director since 2005. In that capacity, he led client development for the company’s water, environmental and transportation businesses in the Southeast.

Mr. Hooker’s previous experience includes serving as executive director of the Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority. During the 1996 Olympics, and throughout most of the 90s, Mr. Hooker was commissioner of public works for the City of Atlanta. He has also held leadership positions with other engineering firms.

Mr. Hooker is deeply involved in the community. He is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta, Leadership Georgia and the Regional Leadership Institute. Mr. Hooker is co-founder, board member and former chairman of the Civic League for Regional Atlanta. He serves on numerous other boards, including the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Council for Quality Growth and the Emory University Board of Visitors. He is a former board member of Georgians for Passenger Rail, Georgia Conservancy, Park Pride and the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership (IGEL), among others.

He served on the inaugural board of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District and the Governor’s Advisory Council for the ACT and ACF River Basin Compacts.

Mr. Hooker holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and Master of Science, Technology & Science Policy from Georgia Tech and a Masters of Business Administration from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. He is married to Patrise Perkins-Hooker. In his spare time he likes playing in a community band, composing music, reading and spending time with his grandchildren.

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