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Invest Atlanta Planning Westside Innovation Center In Retrofitted Shipping Containers

MARTA's next transit-oriented redevelopment looks to involve something unique: lots of shipping containers that will be geared toward local entrepreneurs.

Rendering of the proposed MLK Innovation Village at the HE Holmes MARTA station

Trinity Development Partners plans to develop a $550K boutique office and retail incubator on an unused parking lot adjacent to the Hamilton E. Holmes MARTA station. The station is off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Interstate 20 in Atlanta's westside, near the Westhaven neighborhood.

Invest Atlanta is scheduled to vote on June 15 to approve $550K in funding to Trinity to utilize repurposed shipping containers in creating a boutique office and retail campus. The funds come from Atlanta and follow a U.S. Department of Transportation $22M TIGER grant awarded to the city in 2016 targeting mobility, safety and aesthetic improvements along a seven-mile stretch of MLK Jr. Drive from Downtown Atlanta westward.

Location of the HE Holmes MARTA station

Invest Atlanta stated in documents the offering is intended to "create an innovation village, offering attractive, affordable space to small businesses and entrepreneurs."

“We've been successful in attracting developers to the property we own [along] the north and east lines,” said Amanda Rhein, MARTA's senior director of transit-oriented development and real estate. But garnering interest from developers for TOD projects along the west and south lines has been “a little bit more challenging,” she said.

The goal is to create a semi-temporary environment to establish a community of entrepreneurial businesses next to the HE Holmes station, with the hope that it will spur a permanent TOD project in the future, Rhein said. MARTA has been pushing efforts to redevelop many of its transit stations with TODs by partnering with local developers, such as the Chamblee station project, where Parkside Partners is developing a mixed-use project called Trackside with 80K SF of office and 13K SF of retail.

Amanda Rhein, MARTA's senior director of transit-oriented developments and real estate

Rhein said the problem at HE Holmes and other westside and southside transit stations is “where the financial feasibility of TOD is much more challenging.”

Invest Atlanta approached MARTA with the idea of using repurposed shipping containers to create the innovation village at the station, an idea that alligned with the transit system's interest in activating underutilized property throughout the system to spur community development, Rhein said.

She said she was unsure if Trinity has any letters of intent or advanced tenant interest. Calls to Trinity were not returned as of press time. According to documents, Invest Atlanta will be the owner of the project upon completion and will work to place new businesses at the project for a period of three to five years.

CLARIFICATION June 14, 1:45 p.m. ET: Wording in a sentence has been changed to better reflect the funding for the project is separate from a U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant.