Rod Mullice Appointed To MARTA Board, To Push For More Development
A prominent Atlanta condominium developer and ally of Mayor-elect Andre Dickens has been named to MARTA's board of directors, and he plans to push for new projects from the perch.
Mullice's term will start Jan. 1, when he replaces Ryan Glover, the chairman of the Atlanta television network Bounce TV and founder of the digital bank Greenwood, who was appointed to MARTA's board in 2017 by then-Mayor Kasim Reed.
In an interview with Bisnow, Mullice said being elevated to MARTA's board will allow him to push for more mixed-use development at and around MARTA's network of stations, a program the transit agency initiated in 2014 at three of its stations.
“I want to program the 38 stations in the system to make it less cumbersome for the real estate development community,” Mullice said. “My focus will be on-campus, on-MARTA property, and also working with the local jurisdictions and neighborhoods in creating developments that complement the transit system.”
Since its inception, MARTA has spearheaded 11 transit-oriented developments encompassing nearly 2,000 units of apartments, 371K SF of retail and 2.6M SF of office, including Trackside in Chamblee, apartments at the Edgewood Candler station, and apartments and senior housing at the Avondale station, according to a MARTA spokesperson. Another 18 are in the planning stages.
But Mullice said MARTA's efforts to unlock new developments at their stations haven't moved fast enough.
“It's slow because there is not a laser-like focus and leveraging the billions of dollars investment that the citizens of Atlanta, DeKalb and Fulton have paid into MARTA since 1968,” Mullice said. “I want to program the 38 stations in the system to make it less cumbersome for the real estate development community.”
Mullice, whose The Pad on Harvard project in South Atlanta is next to the College Park Transit Station, will serve alongside Bottoms' other MARTA appointee, Taylor English Duma LLP partner Reginald Snyder, who was appointed late last year.
MARTA recently partnered with Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group for a $100M financing initiative to develop mixed-income and affordable housing projects within a mile of a MARTA station. The transit agency also established a $100M affordable housing fund in January with Morgan Stanley and the National Equity Fund to finance the development of affordable units within a half-mile of a station.
"We have a robust level of activity in our TOD program with a focus on affordable housing, with approximately 1,400 affordable units in negotiation, procurement or in planning," MARTA spokesperson Stephany Fisher wrote in an email.
In October, MARTA dropped plans with Cousins Properties and Integral Group to create a 3M SF mixed-use project at its Arts Center station in Midtown and pulled out of an agreement with RD Management and Kelco/FB Wincoff LLC for a 45K SF redevelopment of Peachtree Center Station, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Dickens, who takes office next month, said his plans for the city align with Mullice's for MARTA.
“Part of my vision is to develop mixed-income, mixed-use communities around transit stations in the city,” Dickens told Bisnow via email. "Rod Mullice has the proven track record and expertise to guide MARTA into more action around TOD."
Windsor Stevens has closed more than $150M in transactions since 2009, with a focus on projects in walkable environments near transit alternatives. Most recently, the firm broke ground on a 56-unit condominium project called The Gordon, walking distance to the Chamblee MARTA Station, and The Proctor, a 120-unit multifamily project in the English Avenue neighborhood.
CORRECTION, DEC. 13, 9:20 P.M. ET: MARTA's board of directors includes 13 members, both directors and officers. A previous version of the story only listed the directors. Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group provided MARTA with $100M in financing initiatives to develop affordable housing, not preserve and develop. The story has been updated.