A. A few years ago I would have said Le Fleur de Lis in the Healey Building, which was this great little French place that was a killer place to take dates…but it closed. My other favorite was the Majestic, but since they renovated it just doesn’t feel the same. I’ve probably eaten at Waffle House more than anywhere else in this city, but I don’t think it would suffice for a “last meal”…
The Godfather of Soul and the Godfather of Gadfly, in more folically fantastic days.
Q. You’re given the keys to Underground Atlanta, a pot of money, and the directive to “make it work”. What do you do?
A. Ugh. We can’t just get rid of it? Since they re-did it, I think it feels less historic, so I’m not sure what core value is left to build on. The problem isn’t just Underground itself, but what surrounds it. There need to be more bodies living nearby to support the level of retail there.
So if I had carte blanch to “fix” Underground, I’d focus on the stuff around it. I’d build GSU dorms next door (and turn a blind eye to the underage drinking). I’d rehabilitate all the buildings on Peachtree Street south of Five Points, and focus on putting more residential units there. I’d get the state to go ahead and build the multi-modal terminal in the railroad gulch.
When it comes to Underground itself, I think it has gotten dislocated from its historic roots. It doesn’t feel particularly “historic”. I couldn’t tell you how to get to the Zero Mile Post. I think Underground needs to do a better job of leveraging that asset – otherwise it is just an odd retail center that no one goes to.
One thing I would definitely not do is build electronic casino machines.
BONUS QUESTION: What is Terminal Station, and why is it awesome?
A. Terminal Station is my blog! It started out as a place for me to keep track of Atlanta developments and real estate happenings, but you can only write about foreclosures and construction delays so long.
Now, I like to think that Terminal Station is a place to get data-driven analysis of the issues facing Atlanta. When I talk about the police department, I try to base my analysis on the actual hiring numbers, crime data (not crime stories), and academic studies about the policies and programs that actually work to reduce crime.
I’m most proud of the tone of Terminal Station – things are pretty laid back, but it is not the sort of place where you’ll get a lot of spleen and childish back-and-forth. I try to keep to the middle of the road – I’m not trying to push a party line or anything. I’ve had a few folks tell me they actually learn things from Terminal Station, which is a great compliment.
The Relevant Linkage
To take a magical photo tour of Al Sharpton through the years, click here.
To take a magical photo tour of Underground Atlanta through the years, click here.
To take a photo tour of a funky townhouse not far from Ben’s beloved Majestic, click here.
Photo Credits: Sharpton Brown: Arkansas Times, Murphy’s: About.com, City Hall: AtlantaArchitecture.info