The area of Atlantic Station is 138 acres and was originally the location of the Atlanta Hoop Company. Established in 1901, this foundry’s core business was making cotton bale ties and barrel hoops. As production grew, the plant and its facilities grew as well and the company eventually became the Atlantic Steel Mill. By 1952 the Atlantic Steel Mill had over 2000 employees producing poultry and field fencing, nails, rivets and more. The factory continued to operate to a very limited degree into the 1970’s and would eventually shut down completely in the 1990's as competition at home and abroad intensified.
After the steel factory closed and sat abandoned, developers began envisioning the Atlantic Station project in earnest in 1997. A vision and plan was put in place for a development with LEED certified office towers, a variety of housing and transportation options, and a wide array of stores and restaurants all in a walkable neighborhood.
However, a "business as usual" approach would not have allowed the Atlantic Station project to move forward. For adequate access, the plan required construction of a highway bridge to connect the site to both transit and the highway. Because Atlanta had not met Clean Air Act standards, the bridge (a form of highway construction) would have been prohibited under a standard interpretation of EPA regulations.
This obstacle was removed after an analysis by EPA's Development, Community, and Environment Division (DCED) showed that the smart growth aspects of the redevelopment would help reduce air pollution, among other environmental benefits. The analysis, coupled with EPA's use of regulatory flexibility under an innovative program called Project XL, allowed the development to proceed.
The result: shorter and fewer auto trips with fewer emissions. DCED's analytical work has been more broadly applied since Atlantic Station's planning by EPA guidance allowing cities to take air quality credit for smart growth development.
Open in 2005, Atlantic Station became the nation’s largest urban Brownfield redevelopment at that time. The size of Atlantic Station encouraged the US Postal Service to award the neighborhood with its own zip code: 30363. The center is the EPA’s first real estate-focused Project XL – a national pilot program that enabled private and public entities to develop and test better ways to protect the environment and public health.
Want to discover more or do you have a student trip planned for Atlantic Station? Learn more in our walkable neighborhood at the base of one of the Atlantic Steel Mill's former smoke stacks - adjacent to State Street and Target. Historical panels trace the history and development of the area. Our Concierge Desk is also here to help and can provide an engaging scavenger hunt and other Atlantic Station and tour information. 404-410-4010.