The Invest Atlanta board recently voted to authorize the use of $550,000 to create the MLK Innovation Village using repurposed shipping containers at the H.E. Holmes MARTA station.
The container village will provide transit-accessible retail and office space for small businesses along the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive corridor.
“We think there’s going to be an exciting mix of new, innovative businesses that have yet to open on MLK, Jr. Drive,” said Invest Atlanta Real Estate Director Chris Leutzinger. “Hopefully these owners will decide this is a great area where they can spin off their businesses and build them along the corridor.”
Once the Innovation Village is complete, Invest Atlanta will solicit applications for tenants over the next six months, and those who are chosen will pay an affordable monthly rent pegged at cost recovery levels.
“I think it’s a really economical way to service this kind of incubation, and it’s a great project for that site,” said Invest Atlanta board member Randy Hazelton.
Invest Atlanta is partnering with MARTA on this project, and they see it as an innovative opportunity to jumpstart future interest in transit-oriented development (TOD) at this station.
“We reached out to MARTA to come up with this concept to utilize repurposed shipping containers,” said Kevin Johnson, Invest Atlanta’s Senior VP of Economic Development. “What we’ve come up with is a really unique opportunity for the City of Atlanta.”
The MLK Innovation Village is part of the larger effort led by Mayor Kasim Reed to invest in the MLK corridor. Last year, the City of Atlanta received a $10 million TIGER grant from the USDOT that will fund a portion of the $22 million in infrastructure improvements planned for MLK, Jr. Drive.