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GSU buys land for football field

The move is the latest step in the rede

The dominoes continue to fall along the Memorial Drive corridor. Just yesterday, Georgia State University threw down about $6.6 million for a 3.8-acre lot at 188 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., to be used as a practice field for the school's planned football team.

The land, which backs up to the MARTA line and sits next to that unsightly Corey smokestack, was formerly the home of The Warehouse, a homeless shelter operated by Blood and Fire Ministries. There was another, older brick warehouse on the land that has been slowly disappearing over the last year as construction crews have salvaged old timber and building materials.

The sale is but the latest change to an area that likely will be unrecognizable a few years from now. As I  noted in a 2006 article, the entire Memorial Drive corridor – including MLK Boulevard – from the Downtown Connector to Oakland Cemetery, has been zoned for redevelopment with townhouses and street-level boutiques.

Ironically, some of that development has already occurred, but it's been slightly to the east, across from the cemetery, specifically The Jane loft complex and the Oakland Park condo tower. Both projects house restaurants and retail space, helping bring a neighborhood feel to a strip that had been mostly industrial. For better of worse, however, the increased property values have pushed out businesses like Lenny's Bar, which managed to relocate on nearby DeKalb Avenue.

Over the summer, an anonymous donor helped the city of Atlanta buy up several vacant lots between Memorial and MLK, which have been cleared and landscaped with wood chips and small boulders. Eventually, the plan is for the entire strip running from the highway to the cemetery to become Capitol Gateway Park, a linear greenspace bounded on both sides by European-style townhomes.

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