by Sumner Byrne
In 2018, the City of Atlanta addressed the need for a new parking garage near Zoo Atlanta and the BeltLine, two of the city’s most iconic public spaces. With increased calls to reduce traffic congestion and improve community safety, the existing eight-acre surface parking lot was unable to keep up with increasing demand.
Faced with a major renovation, Atlanta’s Parks and Recreation Department (DPR) used the opportunity to invest in a multifunctional, sustainable space, using certifications as a tool to direct their work for the greatest community benefit.
Today, the Grant Park Gateway offers over 1,000 parking spaces topped with a two-and-a-half-acre green roof and restaurant space, providing a grand lawn area, a shaded terrace plaza, terraced seating, a water feature and a pedestrian overpass, as well as nearly nine acres of green space. It is the first project in the world to achieve LEED certification, SITES certification for sustainable landscape development, and Parksmart certification for its parking structure.
This triple-certified project’s success is thanks to the visionary efforts of the City of Atlanta’s DPR, design-build lead the Winter Johnson Group, lead landscape architect HGOR, Smith Dalia Architects, sustainability consultant the Epsten Group, Breedlove Land Planning, the residents of the Grant Park neighborhood, and many others.
Some of the collaborators shared their thoughts on the pursuit of multiple certifications and how LEED’s integrative process became more relevant than ever on the Atlanta site.