Is it fair that Atlantic Station is going to charge for parking if you don’t buy something?

Caleb J. SpivakMiscellaneous, real estate91 Comments

atlantic station parking ~ what now atlanta

Photo credit: Ryan Vincent

The 150-acre Midtown development is scheduled to drop free parking without validation July 11.

UPDATE (July 8): Is Atlantic Station having second thoughts about their new parking policy?

Can you imagine driving to Lenox Square Mall with the intent to purchase a piece of clothing, decide against it and as a result have to pay for time parked?

Us either.

But will it work for Atlantic Station?

Liz Gillespie, director of marketing for Town Center at Atlantic Station, told What Now Atlanta in an email Tuesday the development is spending $2.5 million in parking improvements as part of the development’s “evolution.”

“We’re in the middle of $2.5 million overhaul of our parking facility, including improving the way we manage, police and secure the deck for the benefit of our residents and guests,” Gillespie said. “We’ll have more parking improvement details in the days to come.”

Below are some photos of the “parking deck revamp progress,” something Gillespie says is “festive” and will help in navigating the deck.

atlantic station parking program ~ what now atlanta?

atlantic station parking program 2 ~ what now atlanta

“The color coding will certainly simplify the ‘where did I park my car?’ process,” Gillespie said.

Here’s the new parking policy (we’ve uploaded a PDF of the entire posted parking policy here):

Shoppers and guests visiting our retailers, restaurants, food trucks and other venues will receive a validation card at their point of purchase.

Guests visiting Regal Cinemas may still validate parking tickets to get an additional two hours of free parking.

Only one two-hour free validation per transaction.

Per usual, Mark Toro, managing partner at North American Properties (Atlantic Station’s new developer) is listening and will respond to your input. Let him have it!


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Caleb J. SpivakIs it fair that Atlantic Station is going to charge for parking if you don’t buy something?

91 Comments on “Is it fair that Atlantic Station is going to charge for parking if you don’t buy something?”

  1. fitz

    Yes, it’s fair. Buy a t-shirt at H&M for $0.60 or however much they cost there, or get a soda or something and your parking is free. And if you really, really don’t want to buy anything… $2 to park ain’t all that much.

    Paying to park is another one of the prices we pay as a city that hates public transit. Plenty of free ways to get to Atlantic Station… shuttle, walk, bike…

  2. Dan

    I do not see anything wrong with having to pay for parking if you do not purchase something while at AS. If anything it is strange to find so much free parking throughout a city as large as Atlanta. Also, this may get people to use public transportation a little more.

  3. SB

    Clearly an attempt to make loiterers think twice. I don’t think it’s at all an attempt to make more money by the owner. Perhaps the compromise would be for it to be free before 6pm.

    $2 is nothing either way….

  4. Maurice Garland

    sounding mighty rich in here.

    i usually walk to AS since I live nearby, so I rarely worry about parking. but still, if was driving…looking for something I wanted, and did not find it…I’d feel a certain way about paying to park. Isn’t AS supposed to be a mall or something like it? We don’t pay to park at Lenox, South Dekalb, Greenbriar, Shannon or whatever malls you “2 dollars aint nothing” choose to shop…so why pay here.

    petty stuff like this is usually what kills a place. Look at Kenny’s Alley in Underground Atlanta. Granted, it was never going to take the place of Buckhead, but it had plenty of nightlife for whoever was looking.

    As soon as they started charging people $2-$3 just to set foot on the grounds, it turned people away.

    And just who are these “loiterers?” How can you tell who is a “loiterer” or not? Last time I checked the place has grass and benches, guess what, people are going to sit and chat.

  5. Jessica

    The Atlantic Station developers have been talking for awhile about “improvements” to the horrible parking situation there. I don’t call having to charge for parking an improvement. I understand the concept of having to pay to park in a city, but this is a MALL. Even though I usually buy something or eat at Atlantic Station, I probably will spend less time at Atlantic Station just because the idea of having to pay for parking there galls me. But I do like the compromise another poster suggested of charging only in the evenings when people come just to loiter.

  6. JH

    No, I don’t think it’s fair at all (do any other large retail centers in Atlanta charge mandatory parking fees?). Two dollars isn’t a lot of money, but if a retail center doesn’t have what I’m looking for as a customer, I shouldn’t be forced into spending money. It might be better if it was 1 hour free – that’s enough time to run a quick errand (as I often do on my home from work). Or like the commenter above, after 6 or 7 p.m.

  7. James

    I question the wisdom of it–I have a feeling many people who frequent Atlantic Station will think twice about going because of the parking fees and the administrative hassle of dealing with the tickets and validation process. Parking at Atlantic Station was frustrating enough with bad ticket dispensers and bad readers (which happens a little too frequently), spotty validators at the movie theater, and people who can use neither the pre-payment nor the exit gate machines.

    I also think it’s ridiculous that they haven’t updated atlanticstation.com to include a detailed rundown of their new policy. Even if it goes into effect next week, a simple page describing the changes would eliminate a lot of the confusion going into this change.

  8. James

    Make it a destination before you charge to park. It would be nice to get a farmers market something like Reading Terminal that people would enjoy to come and people could socialize and enjoy. Right now it is an open air mall with food!

  9. john

    i agree with the earlier comments. there’s absolutely nothing wrong with charging to park. it encourages public transit. keeps out loiterers. i think they should go further and keep all automobile parking underground and keep the streets on the upper levels for pedestrians, food carts, public transportation, and bicycles. too many people don’t understand how crosswalks work here in atlanta.

  10. JT

    if you are really concerned about just running a quick errand or just browsing for a few minutes the street parking has always been more convenient for both. Just dig a few quarters out of your car park right outside your destination and go. I’m probably 50/50 with the garage at street parking at AS and almost always use it when i’m there during the day, its available and just easier.

  11. Tom

    Parking isn’t free to build and maintain, so why shouldn’t they charge? If retailers in Atlanta actually charged customers the actual cost of building and maintaining parking, there would be a lot less traffic, fewer ugly parking lots, and a lot more convenient transit. You can’t complain about traffic one day and then claim that parking should be free the next. The math just doesn’t add up.

  12. SS

    Keep the two hour free parking and validate parking tickets over two hours if you have purchased something, gone to the gym, movies, etc.

  13. Harry

    Props to the person who pointed out above that the people AS is trying to keep out with the $2 fee (CODE WORD ALERT!!!!!), will just get crafty and park over at Target or take the Arts Center shuttle from MARTA.

  14. Master of the Obvious

    The real (paying) customers are against this on principle (mainly because they mistake AS for a mall: it’s not and can’t be, simply because free parking downtown only leads to more traffic and people standing around buying nothing), but they’ll gladly pay $2, or buy a sandwich, to see less loiterers in AS. This parking fee is targeted at loiterers and nothing else, and it’s the best change new management has made. Next step: Target will monitor who parks in its deck and tow anyone not shopping at Target. Bye bye, loiterers. Now to shutdown Copeland’s, Fox Sports Grill, and Strip…

  15. Midtown_DD

    People loiter in cities. Doesn’t anyone ever just go to a park or sit on a bench and people watch? Many of you talk about loitering like it is a crime!

  16. Maggie

    This doesn’t make sense because, until they finish placing new shops and restaurants, there is nothing in AS that is unique or exciting enough to have people running here. Frankly, and this is coming from someone who works here and has to deal with AS everyday, I’d rather go to Lenox, save the headache and money.

    And do the people who come for Food Truck Fridays get validated?

  17. Kwood Resident

    Why is it that Atlanta believes parking should be free when and wherever we choose to park? If you want a more walkable city then we need to move away from large, free parking lots. One way to do that is to charge more for parking or to limit the amount of parking. Obviously what Atlantic Station is saying is that if you want to go and hang out somewhere and not purchase something then go somewhere else..or pay a small parking fee. So what’s the big deal? It’s private property. They can do whatever they want. It will be interesting to see how these changes affect the dynamics of the property in the end. Oh, and Lenox Mall does charge for valet and upfront parking as well.

  18. Frequent Visitor

    I think it is unfortunate that A.S. is going to start charging for parking. I run by A.S. several times a week during my lunch break to run errands with the intent to purchase something; however, I only find what I am looking for about 75% of the time. If I now run the risk of having to pay to park if I don’t find something I want to buy, I will stop frequenting A.S. as much as I do during the day. Also, had this been the policy from the beginning, I don’t think I ever would have started visiting A.S. as much as I do. Overall though, I hope A.S. starts to improve and it becomes a better destination for in-town residents.

  19. Urbanist

    @ Maurice – It’s petty stuff like this that helps places like Atlantic Station survive. In case you were unaware, AS has been an abject failure since the day it was developed. Part of that reason is the crime and the loitering. By implementing measures designed to curb those things, you’ll get more purpose-driven consumers in AS, more successful businesses, a more attractive environment, and and more successful development. It’s pretty simple. Oh, and if you can’t tell who the “loiterers” are in AS, then you’re either blind or stupid, so unless your keyboard is brail….

    @ JH – Yes, they do. There’s the deck at 1010 that charges, and there’s the deck at the Loew’s that charges, oh, and Colony Hills does too. Besides, I didn’t realize that there was a stipulation that all commercial centers had to be identical…oh wait, this is Atlanta, maybe there is.

    @ James – is putting two tickets into a machine that much more difficult than putting in one?

    @ Frequent – Why don’t you just try becoming a bit more efficient with your errand running? That way you can stop at AS once or twice a week for the things you need, rather than several, and buy something 100% of the time. Then you don’t have to worry about paying to park.

    I really find it hard to believe that anyone would argue with this. Everyone complains about how bad the situation is at AS, and then there’s a reasonable measure that’s going to be implemented to curb the loitering problem, and people are whining about $2. If you don’t want to pay it, walk, take a Marta bus, or buy something; it’s that simple. I know Atlanta has a love affair with doing everything the way it’s always been done before, but that hasn’t worked out so well. Perhaps we should start embracing a little change, even if it costs an astronomical $2.

  20. Suburbanist

    I question NAP’s wisdom for implementing this policy now. It seems counter productive to their desire to re-image AS and get locals excited about shopping there again. Perhaps they need the cash flow to implement some of their other plans???

  21. JonC

    I think the new parking policy is totally in line with the new vision of Atlantic Station, and it won’t deter me from going there. It’s not the end of the world people.

  22. Midtown Rich

    This really bugs me. I go to the movies a lot. Atlantic Station is the closest theater to me. Despite all the riff raff, it actually is a pretty nice theater. Even with validation, it is impossible to go see a movie in under 2 hours. This is essentially adding $2 to an already overpriced movie ticket. I think I’ll have to take my business elsewhere.

  23. Intown Mom

    As an Intown Mother with two small children, I can tell you that this policy will keep me from shopping at Atlantic Station anymore. 2 hours is a drop in the bucket when schlepping around 2 children and worrying about a time limit is a headache I don’t need. Just going to Publix and running into one shop takes more than 2 hours. Now, I’ll just drive a bit farther to Lenox to avoid feeling rushed.

    We can debate all day long the merits of public transport (which I would LOVE to see improved in Atlanta) but in making this policy Atlantic Station has conveniently ignored 2 facts:

    1) Whether you agree or not, it is a fact that parking at every single shopping area in Atlanta is FREE
    2) there currently exists no subway to Atlantic Station

    From a business perspective, debating whether or not parking should be free is pointless when every other competitor has set the standard of free parking.

  24. I Use Target Often

    I can understand both sides of the argument here; personally I think making this slight change is the best way to see how things improve or get worse, without doing something drastic. But as others have said, all the other variables have to be taken care of for this to work, such as people parking at Target and walking, etc. I am in the area every day and ALWAYS see people making that trip.

    One more note, this is a 2.5 million dollar investment on the maze of a parking garage that takes an hour to both park and exit… where do you think that money comes from?

  25. Damon

    For the people they want frequenting Atlantic Station the $2 charge isn’t going to be an issue at all. This ONLY applies if you don’t buy anything whatsoever. I think its a good move for them- why encourage people to come down and not buy anything?

  26. Rent Hiker

    @MidtownRich…the article states that with validation, you can still get 4 hours free from Regal Cinenas (2 hours free + 2 hours validated)….nothing changed there…read more carefully and please continue to come to Regal Cinemas Aitantic Station because it s a beautiful theater.

  27. Chris

    If anyone is still wondering who the “loiterers” are, it’s the young black youth from the hood.

    I’m all for the $2 parking fee if it will cut down on the loitering. Atlantic Station used to me my main shopping spot, but my girlfriend would constantly get harassed and “cat called” by these guys. It made her very uncomfortable and pissed me off. Nobody wants to here, “Damn I’d like to tap dat ass” while you are Christmas shopping.

  28. JT

    Agree 200% with the person who said Copelands,Fox Sports, and Strip needs to go. I was at the Airport Friday and went to the Sweetwater Brewhouse in Concourse B. the food was airport food, but you can totally see the potential this concept has if expanded upon. Copelands, Strip and the AE space should be local chef driven restaurants but you do need one neighborhood pub type place in the development and this would be a great mix of touristy/local. I see it being some sort of mix betwen Six Feet Under and 5 Seasons, with traditional southern sea food and some more exotic things similar to 5 seasons like elk, and ostrich, etc. It also would act as a great billboard for them over the connector.

  29. Matthew

    It is up to them fair isn’t an issue. However it does mean that my occasional trip to Atlantic Station will just not happen any more. They have just made it not worth my time when I can spend less then 2 dollars on gas to get to a place with free parking.

  30. James

    @Urbanist: I personally don’t think so, but that sort of thing has plagued AS since the beginning so much so that they station attendants by the exit gates when it’s really crowded (to say nothing of the bad card reader/bad validator problems that I’ve had before).

  31. ATLResi

    This will change once the cost of the parking renovations are paid for through this tactic. It’s so obvious what they are doing. It makes absolutely no sense to charge someone only if they don’t buy something.

    If you are going to charge, make it the same for across the board for everyone. There have plenty of times I’ve visited the stores at Atlantic Station and didn’t buy anything because I try not to impulse shop. But now, knowing that I will be charged if I don’t buy, then I will simply no longer shop at any of the shops at Atlantic Station.

  32. Darin

    This will be an interesting development to watch. If there’s one thing Atlantans hate, it’s paying for parking — even in a “what if I decide not to buy anything” hypothetical way.

    One possible upside: if there are a significant number of car-dependent loiterers here, there could end up being an increase in the number of available parking spaces in the deck on a given evening. So the whole parking deck experience could become more convenient.

    Anyone know if the food truck vendors will be validating?

  33. 05girl

    1. As someone else said – Make it a destination before you charge to park.

    2. Makes way more sense to charge at night/after 6pm than all day. it could have even been phased in that way.

    It’s just not the kind of place people will want to pay to park at – a leisure spot. We just don’t have that mindset here. I’ll go up the road to buckhead where I can park and eat for free.

    To those that say it encourages public transit, it’d be one thing if Atlantic station was right off a subway stop, but it’s not. No one is going to start riding marta & hoping on the shuttle just to avoid the $2 fee.. isn’t a Marta rise $2.75??

    I go to Atlantic Station a lot – most of the time buying something.. but still, the charging to park thing rubs me the wrong way.

  34. fitz

    @Darin– The food trucks will be validating.

    @Intown mom– The old parking rules gave you two hours of free parking whether you bought something or not. The new rules give you two hours of free parking if you buy something. If your issue is that it’s impossible to be in and out of any shopping center in less than 2 hours with kids in tow, then you were paying for parking at Atlantic Station before these new rules were even announced.

  35. Urbanist

    I’m sorry, but if the “possibility” that you’ll have to pay $2 to park is enough to deter you from going out and spending some time in a public place, whether it’s eating, drinking, browsing a store, indulging in a service, or checking out a cultural attraction, then you belong in the land of free parking and Applebees. It amazes me that people in this city will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for homes with 4 more bedrooms than they need, or buy $70k cars, but they won’t pay $2 to park them somewhere in which they could experience something new or different, whether it’s a meal, a shopping experience, or a cultural attraction. Maybe that’s because you can’t mortgage your parking ticket.

    If this, “$2 is too much for me to pay to park” attitude means that these Clark Howard wannabes will forgo Atlantic Station, I say charge $4. It’ll deter those who are so lacking in zeal for something new, that hopefully it will compel the new wave of retailers & restaurants in Atlantic Station to be that of an original caste – not a spinoff of 5 Seasons, or a replica of Sweetwater – who appeal to people who would rather trade $4 for something interesting, than save it for a Bud Light and a new pair of Croakies.

  36. SteveK

    The people who are deterred by this parking policy probably aren’t the people who shop and dine in Virginia Highlands, Morningside, Little 5, Midtown or Buckhead where you pay on the street or in lots. Even if valet is free you still need to tip a couple of dollars. The proposed new shops and restaurants need to be on the heel of this policy because the old crowd will leave (hopefully) but the new crowd needs a reason to give Atlantic Station a second chance (marketing/rebranding). I know a lot of folks in my neighborhood to the north of AS are still a little uncertain about the place despite all the talk of change.

  37. JT

    If you really just compared Sweetwater to Bud Light then you are an idiot who knows nothing, oh wait, you’ve proven that. Believe it or not there is a while culture to microbrews and craft beers that is not the same as bud light, wings and recliners. Saying you drink cocktails not beer doesn’t make you cultured it makes you pompous and ignorant. There is a whole world of beers out there with unique tastes and crafted to be enjoyed at certain times and with certain foods. For some one who claims to be cultured there is a lot about culture you seem to not understand.

  38. JT

    I used to think this site was based in pride of Atlanta but have realized its really just some sad souls that hate that they ended up here instead of NYC and will endlessly bash our culture and way of life. If you hate everything here and you could cut it in NYC then you’d be there. Some of us are here by choice not because of some kind of inability. You can’t change what we are if we like what we are so stop trying. Stuffy cocktail lounges with uptight dress codes and $10 cocktails will never work here, they have all failed because the majority of us don’t want that. You wont change our minds, if you want that i suggest you go somewhere that has it.

  39. FallonLatrece

    Will LA Fitness be validating? I pay for that monthly so you going to make me pay again just to park to go there? Ridiculous! No $2.00 is not a lot of money, but I shouldn’t be forced to buy something just to visit AS. There’s not a guarantee that I’m going to find something to buy every time. What happened to just browsing?

  40. TJ

    I like the idea of charging $2 as a deterrent for those that choose to loiter around and cause problems, but one thing you need to realize is that a lot of those who loiter take MARTA to Arts Center and then take the free shuttle, so the $2 means nothing to those people because they’re not driving.

    Plus, even if they did drive, it wouldn’t be a big deal for one person to buy a $2 Coke and get free parking for an entire carload.

    So, if the main reason for the charge is to reduce loitering it will not work.

    If it’s designed to increase sales at the stores and restaurants it will work because people are more likely to buy something they may not have bought so they’re at least getting something, versus paying $2 for nothing.

  41. Erinautiger

    Maurice Garland, you expressed the points I would have made. Nicely said. I go to Atlantic Station often because it’s very convenient to where I live and I enjoy how simple it is to get in and get out – regardless of if I’m just window shopping or there to drop some cash.

    Honestly, I don’t see a whole lot of loitering going on, at least not to the extend that I feel it’s causing a problem or an unsafe environment. There’s certainly no more loitering than what you see at Lenox Mall!!! Is that the motivation for this change in parking charges? Cause that seems silly when AS is clearly a place designed for comfort and leisure of guests.

    Also, it sounds to me from the above that they are charging for parking (without validation) to make improvements to the deck. I guess I’m confused on intent here.

    I think AS should concentrate more on attracting more distinct and interesting tenants so loyal patrons WANT to come here to spend money. The rest will take care of itself.

  42. Erinautiger

    After reading some more of the above comments, can someone please tell me (with reasonable detail) how in the WORLD this parking policy would encourage public transit??? I laughed out loud at how many times people cited that as a valid reason for this. It’s such BS, but it is a “reason” the AS folks will be 100% in line with b/c transportation is a hot button issue right now in our fair city, and if they can disguise this under “being good for ATLs transportation issue,” then all the better for their rep!

    First, these “loiterers” (who, from my experience don’t equal criminals or deviants) PROBABLY aren’t parking cars anyway – they are walking, biking, reliant upon public transit (MARTA buses) ALREADY. Also, Atlanta doesn’t have a good transit system to rely on yet (I’m optimistic we will one day…which is why I said “yet) so how does this potential parking policy help encourage people to take public transit–that doesn’t exist–to a mall (and, yes, Atlantic Station IS a mall. Look at the stores: All chain retailers found at other–say it with me–MALLS!)? Atlanta’s transportation issues are being addressed and I think we’ll have a decent regional system one day. But in the mean time, we’re a commuter city that values convenience. MARTA isn’t convenient. People drive their cars because they have to. I live on the Westside (about a 10 minute car ride to AS) but I still have to drive b/c there aren’t convenient and safe alternatives. Once there are, we’ll be singing a different tune, perhaps. But even then, our city’s residents (and hopefully our surrounding cities) will have to undergo a mental and cultural shift of being a public transit city.

    Anyway, back to the main point, I don’t think this issue falls under the categories of fair or unfair. Like someone brought up earlier, AS is run by a private company…they can do whatever they want. But as far as best practices are concerned, I would be surprised if this turned out to be a good idea for this already fledgling outdoor mall. Again, to my earlier point – address the lack of interesting and destination retailers; get that fixed; and THEN discuss parking reform. I guarantee, if the main problem is fixed, patrons will be far more eager to listen and cheer lead for change.

  43. imagine

    You shouldn’t have to pay for parking period. Yes there will be some people that don’t buy anything like at any “mall” but of course there will be people that will buy. Then if you do buy something you have to think about rushing out of AS because of the two hour limit. It is ridiculous.

    On top of that, its a pain for the retail & restaurants to have to constantly give out validation cards as well as keep up stock with the validation cards. Along with us patrons having to remember to always get validation cards when we buy something.

    All around it is just a bad idea.

  44. Urbanist

    @ JT- You’d do yourself well to just keep quiet sometimes. I didn’t compare Bud Light to Sweetwater. Frankly, I’m not sure how you even made that connection. A Sweetwater Brewpub was proposed by a lot of people on the previous post asking what should go into AS’s vacant spaces. Sweetwater would be an expansion of something that already exists, and therefore unoriginal. Additionally, it would be a brewpub, which is even more un-original. It had nothing to do with the beer, and solely to do with the disinterest in having an existing concept reproduced. I used Bud Light (and Croakies) to identify the type of person that is probably griping about $2 parking. I also never said drinking a cocktail makes you cultured. You should really just stick to reading.

    @ Imagine – “you shouldn’t ever have to pay for parking”? I’m sorry, I didn’t know that parking a car was a “right”. That right there is the perfect exemplification of the backwards thought process of so many Atlanta drivers.

  45. NailNCoffin

    Charging for parking is another nail in the coffin of AS. It will not solve crime issues and for the average consumer paying for parking is a deterrent to shopping. This is true especially for AS which only has one destination retail outlet and that is IKEA which smartly has its’ own parking deck.

  46. Deepak and Satesh

    Can they arrest those who walk around with their pants down to their knees, showing an exposed underwear clad buttocks? That has to be indecent exposure doesn’t it?

  47. Jackson

    Urbanist: People are tired of being nickeled and dimed to death…It’s bad enough that the city of Atlanta entered into this insane contract with Park Atlanta which is no doubt hurting local businesses every day…I am not sure what uptopian world you live in or came from, but Atlanta is Atlanta.

  48. Brian Allen

    Parking is a problem but it’s not something that charging for parking will fix. It will only drive customers to other malls, and why give another shopping center an advantage? Simplify the parking so that you don’t feel you are driving into a maze when you try to park. Also, AS needs to beef up it’s roster of stores. Dillards, Target, Publix and the theater are the only draw right now. Which mall would you choose…Lenox Sq or AS? As for the public transportation issue, people don’t want to use MARTA, period. One shopping center charging for parking won’t solve that problem.
    AS could improve by simplifying (not charging) it’s parking and enhancing it’s selection of stores.

  49. Urbanist

    @ Jackson – Nickeled & dimed to death? So we should just expect developers to continue spending millions of dollars building massive parking decks, which take up a ton of space that could be utilized for future development, so that you can park for free?

    There are two sides to the Atlanta area (which are, of course, not split 50/50):

    There’s the smaller portion that lives in town, in condos or apartments, would love to have a viable public transportation option to get around the city, wants to see the city transform into a true urban center for the Southeast while taking advantage of all the opportunity that is here (world’s busiest airport, natural transportation hub, 5.5+mm people in the area, insanely affordable lifestyle, multiple Fortune 500 companies, etc.), and is interested in seeing that transformation become something that is more community and pedestrian friendly (as with most great cities, they are easily walkable).

    Then, there’s the larger portion. These are the people that think that success in life is a matter of how nice your car is and how many spare bedrooms you have. They have more interest in granite countertops than they do museums, theater, art, dining, socializing, and simply expanding their experiences. They have no concept of the social and economic impact they have on the city that supports them, and they get irate when that city tries to impose some of that cost back on them. They chastise the city for it’s traffic, yet refuse to do anything but drive. They live 30 miles outside of the city and complain about how long it takes them to commute. They gripe about the quality of the air while driving a pickup truck to an office job. They complain about the problems (crime, loitering, etc.) that plague a major development, and then vow to never return when new management installs a preventative measure that will “potentially” cost them a measly few dollars every once in a while. They ask, they take, they expect, yet are willing to give nothing back in return. They’re children. Worse yet, however, they’re children that are willing to accept mediocrity and forgo something new and fresh, for something plain and old, so long as it has free parking. It’s pathetic.

  50. SFN

    This is a positive development. This will keep some of the bad element out, and will cost little to those of us who legitimately patronize AS. They should have done this sooner. Next step should be to eliminate through traffic which currently lures bad element in.

  51. ATL Girl

    I went to Old Navy in AS yesterday to make a return (purchased at a different store). I happened to have a quarter in my wallet AND found parking on the street in front, so was able to get in and out in 5 minutes, which is what a quarter buys on the street. If there hadn’t been parking and I’d had to park in the deck, would they have validated my parking even though I was making a return, not a purchase? I see this as an attempt to increase sales at the AS stores. If I’m looking for something specific, I’m usually there for at least an hour shopping in a few different stores trying to find that item. I think it’s silly to think that I need to buy a Coke or sandwich to get “free” parking. If they want to drive in more business, they’d do better to keep the free parking for the first two hours and offer “summer specials” or other discounts that are exclusive to the AS stores. With the popularity of sites like Groupon, this is an easy way to get customers to frequent the stores.

  52. Maurice Garland

    @ Urbanist

    you make a great point. charging $2 to park will surely drive down “loiterers” and crime. Because as we all know, where ever there is free parking, crime is sure to follow. And yes, how blind and stupid of me to not be able to tell the difference between someone standing around without a bag in their hand (yet) or a person who lives in AS and simply wants to walk around the “neighborhood” or a person with time to burn before a movie.

    Again I ask, who are these “loiterers”? I could see if they were standing in front of the old Geisha House or something, but sitting…on a bench…outside? Walking…on sidewalks?

    @ Master of the Obvious

    Shut down Fox Sports Grill, Strip and Copelands…yeah, sounds pretty “obvious” who you don’t want there.

  53. 396

    Eliminate through traffic? How?

    Wouldn’t that cut it off from the rest of Midtown to an even greater extent than it already is?

    What “currently lures the bad element in” is the presence of other people. The “bad element” likes the same stuff you do: Being places where there are other people, and things to see and do. If you make a place attractive to the “right” people, it’s ALWAYS going to be attractive to a lot of the “wrong” people too.

    I do agree that 17th Street in AS is too wide. It looks like an expressway with traffic signals instead of a city street.

    @ Brian Allen – I give people more credit than that. I think they DO want to use MARTA. But for many of them, even in the favorite intown neighborhoods, it’s not as easy as it should be, so they drive. People who have a choice, and who are accustomed to driving everywhere are willing to tolerate only a very small amount of inconvenience to use transit in most cases. If we had BRT or streetcars to connect more neighborhoods to MARTA’s rail, many Atlantans’ attitudes toward using transit would be pretty different.

  54. New Peach

    I agree with the TJ the loiterers are not driving…They are riding public transportation, so can they be charged the $2 as well if they dont buy anything?

  55. Suburbanist

    @ urbanist- AS sure has a lot of apartments. Does this density support your density=safety argument? You acknowledge above that AS has a crime problem. I’m confused. Why is there crime with all these people around?:)

  56. Urbanist

    @ Maurice – It’s not that black and white. Cutting down on the free parking is just one of many ways to cut the loitering. As I said earlier, if you can’t recognize the loiterers, then you’re either blind of stupid, because it is really damn easy.

    @ Suburbanist – There are some apartments (many of which are vacant), and a lot of empty condos. Building apartments and condos and not leasing/selling them doesn’t translate to density. There’s also the fact that a lot of the residential in the Atlantic Station development is separated from the bulk of the development by a very large barrier – 17th street. When there is density, it has to be integrated, not alone on an island. The crime in AS is a combination of, in no particular order, (i) not enough density, (ii) bad design, and (iii) poor management.

  57. Harry

    Hopefully a store at Atlantic Station will open up selling some broad paintbrushes so the Urbanist can stock up.

  58. CP

    I’m on board with the fee. I don’t ever go there unless I’m buying something anyway. I just hope the additional fees gained are invested smartly into the project.

  59. Not so slow.....

    WOW @Frtiz…. you’re so super smart. You got called out in the last posting for being a nah-sayer about people’s comments and pulling out the pom-poms for Atlantic Station…
    So you changed it from @Greg to @Fritz… WOW – your so super smart.

    Therefore @Fritz @Greg.. your comments are one side, and you get paid by A.S., N.A.P.. which would make your comments, frankly, not interesting, one side and rather,…. well dull.
    So go work on your defunked website.

    Mr. Toro got called out for telling one person to “BITE ME” for giving their opinion.. and told another they were “an IDIOT”.

    The bottom line here is, to quote Mr. Toro’s earlier remarks…
    “We are going to Dummy Proof the parking deck”…

    So Dummy’s line on up and pay your two $2 bucks! or shop else where.
    *(because $2 isn’t going to stop someone from crusing and loitering.

    PS: LENOX DOESN’T CHARGE and neither does PHIPPS.. They want customers.

  60. MajorShopperATL

    While I understand the arguments about charging to park I think this new fee will turn away more people than it attracts unless AS seriously changes it’s retail mix fast.. Why pay to go to a “mall store” when you can just go to the mall itself and park for free.. And as far as keeping out the “loitering” you would prob get more bang for the buck eliminating that shuttle over from Marta rather than this parking policy.. as there are alot of serious real shoppers who instead of killing two hours “loitering” Aka browsing and possibly buying that will now just go somewhere else… There is a reason Ikea doesnt charge for parking.. While they def could as a major retail attraction they don’t have to…

  61. Lindsay

    This just makes sense to me. It seems every other big city I’ve visited it is nearly impossible to park anywhere for free. I don’t think it’s unrealistic for AS to only want paying customers taking up all their parking spots.

  62. Cuzzin Dee

    Hate to say this but race does play a factor in this. The loiterers being referenced are the young black youth. AS is in the middle of the city, an historic black city, where the people were here before the shops and proposed glamour. When I go to Towncenter, Cumberland, I always see caucasian kids hanging out walking around, skateboarding….loitering. Difference is WE don’t complain..2$ is honestly nothing, and if purchasing an icy or soda will validate your ticket then thats the move plain and simple. However, if its meant to stop loitering rather than pay for the upgrades then it’s directed at a certain audience.
    What will stop stores from having a min purchase in order to be validated? Dont just think of the immediate impact; think how it was evolve into something else. When has a change ever stopped at the 1st phase?

  63. Atlantan

    @Cuzzin Dee, how many of those white kids do you see walking around with their pants around their knees, underwear showing, disrespecting everyone and everything, stealing flat screens and blue jeans, and then shooting each other? There’s a clear cultural problem, let’s not deny the obvious.

  64. greg_fitz

    Hey @notsoslow, thanks for the feedback. I posted in the American Eagle thread twice identifying myself as working for North American Properties. I use the same email address whenever commenting, and had an exchange with Caleb via twitter yesterday using my handle @greg_fitz, where I also state that I’m an NAP employee.

    We read these comment threads for feedback on the changes we’re making, to interject with information when someone has a legitimate question or concern, and to find ideas for how we can continue to improve the property. I personally believe in the vision for Atlantic Station, which is why I’m proud to be a part of the team behind it.

    Notsoslow, thank you for your feedback, and we’ll keep working to make Atlantic Station a better place. And I sincerely hope your message of “wow your so super smart” was intentionally ironic.

    Everyone else… the NAP team truly appreciates your feedback as well, both positive and negative. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t post at all. We appreciate your passion.

  65. Steve

    Of course we don’t like the change… I think a much better solution is to up the time to 3 hours with validation is free to cover movies and the gym. Some of us end up being at the gym a little longer, or may want to get something to eat after a workout…or go to publix. If we have to worry about parking fees we’ll skip the grocery store afterwards.

    If it starts becoming an issue we’ll think twice before going to a movie there.

    A premier farmers market would be perfect for AS and would bring an even more diverse crowd if that’s what your are after.

  66. Laura

    If this actually happens, it’s going to make me never shop at Atlantic Station again. Now is not the time to start “nickel and diming” customers, or discouraging them from visiting your stores.

  67. HLT

    This will not affect my patronage of the merchants at Atlantic Station. As has already been said, parking decks aren’t free to build and maintain, so the costs will be passed on to us one way or another. If not in a policy like the one that begins on Monday, it will be in merchants’ prices.

    I see a movie at the Regal theater almost weekly and was happy to learn that they will validate for up to 4 hours.

    If you can’t afford to pay $2 to park, stay home. If you object on principle, have fun with that.

  68. Jay

    It’s $7 to park to see a movie at the AMC Loew’s Theater in Georgetown, DC….Atlantic Station’s Regal Cinemas is free with validation….it could be worse!

  69. SMH

    @05girl and @erinautinger I couldn’t have said it better! This new enforcement is completely ridiculous! AS wants to stop loitering but you offer events in park? Which are free? What sense does that make?

    And to mr Fitz or Greg or whatever your name is…If you want to charge for parking, at least offer something for patrons to want to come to. Right now AS has nothing to offer. On another note, I think it’s hilarious that this change is basically an attempt to push away blacks that makes up probably 75% of the patrons that even go there. I will make sure and post this link everywhere to make sure the blacks know they aren’t wanted. That should help you out a lot right?

    I am actually a resident of AS and I would rather get in my car, drive to Lenox, and park free before I patronize any store in this development. {and yes there is free parking to the person that mentioned paying for valet or upfront parking, which is by choice so your comment was completely irrelevant} It’s just really sad that I thought I was moving to a great development and this is what I get.

    So good luck to you AS because paid parking is only going to get you…NOWHERE, especially with all of your racist cheerleaders like Urbanist {who clearly doesn’t have a life or he wouldn’t be commenting on every site about how to get rid of the “unwanted”}

    And I almost forgot to mention- to the genius that came up with the great idea to pay $2 to sit on MARTA for an hour to avoid $2 parking….That makes a lot of sense…good job!

  70. Urbanist

    @ SMH – I’ll explain it to you. Free events encourage people to come to AS with a purpose. If they screen a movie, people come to watch the movie. If they offer a free concert, people come to hear the music. It creates a sense of community around the development, and it brings people into the development in hopes that they’ll spend money there. Loitering is just the opposite – it’s a throng of people who come to a place with no purpose whatsoever. They don’t spend any money, they congest developments and they create a barrier for the people who do want to spend money. I know you’d like to think it, but developments, retailers, and restaurants don’t survive when people don’t spend money.

    AS doesn’t have much to offer at the present, you’re right. However, new management took over 7 months ago, and they are clearly making a strong push to change what Atlantic Station does offer. I’m hopeful that in 12 months AS has a lot to offer.

    It’s really not necessary to make this a racial thing. It’s a weak argument, and it’s an emotional card that people only pull when they can’t defer to logic. It’s an investment thing. Loiterers are bad for business. Period. If it so happens that 75% of the patrons, and a large portion of the loiterers are black, then so be it. However, if it were Asians, a bunch of white folks, a bunch of Russians, or a bunch of Brazilians that were loitering, committing crime, and decreasing the value of this investment, the same steps would be taken. If it is true that 75% of Atlantic Station’s patrons, loiterers, and problems are black, perhaps you should spend more time asking that 75% to act appropriate, stop loitering, and stop committing crimes, rather than accusing a property owner of being racist, because he wants to protect his investment. I don’t really expect you to comprehend that, but hopefully some of the other readers will.

    So you’d get in your car, drive 10-15 miles to a shopping mall, just to do what you could do 1/4 mile from your home? All because the development is going to start charging in an attempt to prevent loitering? You sir, are brilliant.

    Contrary to what you want to believe, I have a life, and I want to preserve the integrity of it. That’s why I “cheerlead” people who make good decisions to eliminate the “unwanted” from otherwise pleasurable places. It’s comments like this that make me wonder if Atlanta is just one big Herman Cain show…

  71. JT

    I’m glad to see some people at least acknowledging that things aren’t free to create and maintain and understand that cost should be passed down to you as users of that service. It lets me see that not ALL of Metro Atlanta is crazy tea partiers. They call liberals free loaders but they are the ones who believe everything should be provided to them without payment on their part. Fix our schools, traffic, pensions, provide police and fire protection, but don’t you dare charge us taxes to pay for it…morons. At least there are some us that understand you pay a premium for quality and we are willing to do so.

  72. Not so slow....

    @Greg.. no you haven’t been consistent abour “reporting” that your an A.S. station employee and a Mark Toro intern, every time you pull out your pom poms’ and your chearleading rah rah rah… Let’s be clear on that.
    otherwise it would be in every opening line. And everyone would know, now wouldn’t they.

    And, “that you personally believe in A.S.”, I would be to in this economy.. every time I cashed my check.

    and @Greg @ Fritz.. which ever posting that you are that day.
    IF and I MEAN AT IF.. “the NAP team truly appreciates your feedback as well, both positive and negative. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t post at all.. then why is Mark Toro telling people to “bite me”, calling one an “idiot” on twitter and telling another one to “sit back, bitch, moan and and complain all you want” we’ll do the work.

    Could you help me out there?

    And, if A.S. really wanted to hear everyone’s comments they would allow them to be posted on facebook, (but, that’s where they’re hoping their new lease holder will look, so that’s not going to happen) and sorry Caleb, but there’s what 12,000 followers. can’t have that many people reading comments about A.S. now can we.

    @Urbanist… the loitering hasn’t stopped. Its noting to do with race.

    Its because of where it was built, which is why they pushed so hard to make people think that they really are part of Midtown, when for years they wanted people to think of A.S. as their own city within a city. With their own zip code…Noticed that they didn’t include the west side in their. White Provision doesn’t have a problem with loitering, neither does the West side. Its the culture and blood of A.S. period and its a bloody low end mall. I mean come on American Eagle even pulled out.

    American Eagle was robbed what three times? in a row? (help me out here Mark Toro – man with all the answers) and that was thought to have been done with internal assistance” the robbers knew what window didn’t have an alarm.

    And, check the facts, the first thing A.S. did besides buy a bunch of stupid planters is to put in a Police station, How many MALLS? have store front space, that’s a POLICE station sub unit?

    @Steve.. a farmer’s market isn’t going to happen, until they get rid of the flea market continues to run.

    and, yes Mark I was at the homeowner’s meeting when you said the “market” was going away. Did you forget that already? “cause it still looks like its there to me.

    Great improvements there, run a flea market (to take away from the struggling tenants) and let’s add – food trucks to take away from our paying tenants, of the 19 (+) resturants, that out number the retailers. BRILLIANT!

    When there are residents in the condo’s (which I believe are still owned by AIG) and there are people living their, then they might get a farmer’s marekt, but until the flea market of re-sell crap is gone, it isn’t going to happen.

    And, if people have to pay for immediate parking, (hhmm, that’s how we can get back the investment in the parking garage) don’t think they didn’t run the numbers here folks, its not about loitering its about getting their money back.

    This isn’t about loitering or race or anything other than getting back in the money they spent on the parking “for dummy’s”. If you spend 2.5 million dollars (really?) you have to be able to account on how your going to get that money back. period. this isn’t about overall improvements, its about how can they get the money back, to continue to pay for those changes.

  73. ShortTimer

    People from the suburbs drive to AS every weekend, when virtually everything there (except IKEA) is available to them OTP. If they are going out of their way to shop at AS, they are already wasting gasoline, so let them pay for parking too.

    While they are at it they can contribute to my invisible kid’s college fund.

    Disclaimer: I live in the suburbs, but find the attitudes a bit maddening sometimes.

  74. uncle martan

    Why would anyone want to shop at this piece of $hit chain filled ‘mall’ anyway”
    Much less pay to park there? AS Is a joke, especially for the clowns that live there.

  75. P

    I don’t know. It sure sounds like race and class as management’s best guess at how to get back to profitability. You know, consistently attract a more gentile crowd.

    FREE parking sure does make it easy to get in and out and do business there. I’m not sure Being convenience minded myself (or lazy) the free 2 hours with the ticket gets on my nerves. Especially when the ticket machines don’t work. Maybe the $2 will afford better maintenance.

    If they do it validation should be streamlined to the max. It should feel virtually effortless. Maybe there should be memberships like the fast lane on the toll roads or the Lexus lot at Turner field.

    I hate to be crass (actually I don’t mind) but should we dust off those old “Whites Only” signs? Maybe you can sharpie in “and well to do non-boisterous Coloreds.”

    Can we really all get along? Yes we are different. Class especially.

    I do agree that it should become more of an attraction before charging. The shopping isn’t all that great as it is.

    Finally, I think this investment will pay off with the soon coming improved economy and more urban density regardless of class issues. Not before.

    P.S. The loiterers maybe more willing to pay $2 than the customers.

  76. MLK

    Hi after reading the messages here and reading between the lines, it seems as if you are talking about the fact that there are a lot of young African American teenagers and gays who are in the area? So who are you… to determine where people in a free country can come and hang out? First off AS was built in an urban community near the projects…people who are typically loitering…as you called it…. can walk, get dropped off or ride a bus. So the people who will be charged to park will be others like people who may want to spend money so it will essentially have no real effect on teenagers hanging out or the gays who live in Midtown. First off why do you have a problem with teenagers hanging out? If you don’t like it move to Swanee…and don’t go to the malls there either. The problems seems to be that those who are in favor of this plan don’t like seeing the gays of Midtown or the teenagers or African American’s in general. Atlanta is very diverse, however I have notice that Caucasians do not come to AS as much as they used too. I have noticed that if it’s more than 40% ethnic whites stop coming…Just like Peter Street you think you can move into an majority black area and you have a problem when you see black people.

    Re-evaluate your -selves and the policy

  77. MLK

    @ P your writing skills are poor and you did not provide a clear message perhaps, you should take a writing class so that when you do write there is a clear point or points to your message.

    @Urbanist the white teenagers loiter at the Mall of GA but no one says anything, they aren’t buying anything really especially not the boys, however, it is a racist concept that you are promoting because I have been to Atlantic Station over 100 times and have not experience crime nor have I been bothered by the teenagers and gays. No matter where you are silly teenagers are everywhere white or black they are annoying to some adults who forgot what it like to be a teenager and just want to hangout somewhere with your friends and there are thousands of teenagers in GA…so what will you do move to Rolla Missouri.

    with love

  78. newcommenter

    @MLK – I love that MLK criticized @P for his lack of writing skills, then fails to use any in the next paragraph directed @Urbanist.

    I also don’t remember reading anyone saying anything about gays being loiterers. What I think makes people feel uncomfortable about loiterers (or at least makes me feel uncomfortable) is when I’m being stared at, yelled at, or followed around by said loiterers. I remember what it was like to be a teenager. I also remember that I was not allowed to just “hang out” wherever I pleased, especially in a place til all hours of the evening where crime is a well known fact. I used to work in AS and had a fellow employee walk me to my vehicle every night after my shift due to the reported crime that was (and still is) happening there.

    The $2 fee may or may not help with the loitering situation. But if it did, I would certainly enjoy spending more time there without feeling uncomfortable walking alone

  79. Jeff

    I pay to park all over Atlanta, but that’s for something distinctive. If I’m going to a mall, or a movie, I don’t expect to pay. It’s a non-starter to compare us to SFO, or NYC, where you’d expect to pay (or more likely, take public transportation everywhere.) Last I checked we’re not on the coast.

    You’re asking whether I’d prefer to pay $11 for a movie elsewhere, or $13 at AS and endure the hassle of getting in and out of that place, I hope you can see how it’s not going to work for everyone.

  80. Shannan

    This is going to cause A LOT of controversy but here it goes-

    I have lived in midtown all of my life. I grew up here and still live here to this day. I have seen Atlantic Station go from a desirable place to shop to a place I dread going. I’ll even go as far to say I refuse to go there at night because it becomes NOTHING but a hang out full of loiters. This place is not a mall – it’s an urban/city community and it’s not meant to be a mall. If you want a place to hang out then hang out at your home. Paying to park is not a unreasonable request and it will do nothing but give back to a failing economy. AS has many shops people love and frequent and it is an incenitve to purchase. And if you don’t have $2, chances are you have NO reason to be at AS or any shopping, dining, entertaining facility anyway. You want to shop somewhere where parking is free – go to south dekalb mall, stonecrest, etc. Stay away from there because all you do is drive people who are ACTUALLY there to shop and dine crazy. Loitering is tacky.

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