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Former BeltLine Leader Joining Dan Cathy Effort For Midtown Park Over Interstate

Midtown Atlanta skyline

Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy is getting some help from the former leader of Atlanta's BeltLine in his ambitious vision to bridge a park over the Downtown Connector, connecting Georgia Tech with Midtown Atlanta proper.

Former Atlanta BeltLine Inc. CEO Paul Morris is executing a study that will determine the feasibility of capping the interstate with green space, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports.

“We are right at the beginning stages,” Morris told the ABC, adding it was too early to know the cost of the project, but that Cathy had committed an undisclosed amount of money toward its funding.

Bisnow first reported Sept. 4 that Cathy was exploring the idea of creating a new park in Midtown. The head of one of the largest fast-food chains in the country met with various Midtown property owners and government officials over the past few weeks, including a meeting on Aug. 10 at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry was also at that meeting.

Cathy and Morris are just part of the latest effort by city stakeholders and officials to create these unique public parks that will cap the interstate in Atlanta.

Central Atlanta Progress is underway with a feasibility study to determine the design and cost of a project called “The Stitch,” a deck park that would cover nearly a mile of interstate from Spring Street to Georgia Power's current headquarters on Ralph McGill Boulevard in Downtown. The Stitch would create a link between Downtown and Midtown and open up underused land to development. Early estimates put the cost of The Stitch at around $300M.

And the Buckhead Community Improvement District is studying a plan to create a $250M park within the financial district covering Georgia 400 from the Atlanta Financial Center to the Buckhead Loop, including MARTA's Buckhead Station.

Cathy's Midtown project, if it were to come to fruition, would likely involve both public and private funding. But the initial step will be an environmental and engineering analysis, and Cathy is footing the bill for now.