Revitalization of Southern towns

Big ideas can transform a city with the right public-private partnership and the commitment of the community and elected officials. Chattanooga’s River City Company transformed a post-industrial downtown full of empty warehouses and factories into a vibrant, pedestrian friendly, destination downtown. It started in 1986 with a 20 year riverfront and downtown redevelopment plan; the first project was a 13-mile linear park that stretches along the Tennessee River. Now 30 years later the vision is realized in successful projects including the Tennessee Aquarium, Nightfall Concert Series, multi-family housing, Creative Discovery Museum, AT&T Field, Bijou Theater, Coolidge Park, new public schools, waterfront redevelopment, and Renaissance Park. The most recent project is the Tomorrow Building, an adaptive reuse of the former Ross Hotel into 39 micro-unit apartments.

One of the most ambitious and exciting projects currently underway is the Atlanta Beltline Project. The first railroad to Atlanta was built in 1845 from Augusta, soon Atlanta became the railway hub of the southeast. As industry grew and warehouses were erected outside of the city center, spur rail lines were built in a circle or belt connecting the many rail lines. Twenty-two miles of railroad were constructed around Atlanta between 1871 and 1908. In the 1970’s the industries along the belt lines closed and the railroad deteriorated. 

In 1999, Ryan Gravel, a Georgia Tech student, envisioned the Atlanta Beltline for his joint master’s thesis in Architecture and City Planning. By 2005, Gravel’s grassroots efforts had grown and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin created the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership. Led by the PATH Foundation, the first segment of the West End trail opened in 2008. The PATH Foundation is also heavily involved in The Spanish Moss Trail in Beaufort.

The Atlanta BeltLine project has become a comprehensive transportation and economic development project for the city. It will ultimately connect 45 in-town neighborhoods, create new in-town housing, both affordable and market rate, parks, public spaces, and a light rail line. Currently 4 trail segments and 6 new parks are open. The work will continue in phases with completion planned for 2030. The Atlanta BeltLine is building community by connecting neighborhoods that were previously segregated and isolated from each other.
Another southern city, Greenville, South Carolina began their revitalization in the mid-1980s when the Carolina Foothills Garden Club initiated the idea of removing the Camperdown Bridge that crossed the Reedy River directly over the falls. In 2002, the bridge finally came down and the 20 acre Falls Park was constructed. The park was the catalyst that has changed Greenville’s downtown from abandoned storefronts to a thriving central business district.
In planning our future – let’s think big!


Before and After : Shrimp Pond Master Bathroom

After completing an addition to the Shrimp Pond House last year (see the Shrimp Pond Studio), the owners hired us again to renovate the master bathroom. We designed the original house about 15 years ago, so the bathroom needed a facelift! We think it turned out beautifully, here are the before and after photos.

Friday Fun!

Every Friday afternoon, we spend a hour or so on a fun activity or project around the office or community. Sometimes we provide community service, sometimes we sketch around town, or tour a museum....sometimes we play Pokemon Go! ;)

Angie`s Birthday!

Last Friday was Angie's birthday. We celebrated with a Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake, party hats and party horns! It was a gorgeous day to sit outside and enjoy the view.

Spanish Moss Trail Cleanup

The Spanish Moss Trail is a great asset to our community. All of us in the office use it frequently for running, biking and walking. There are a number of people that use the path to commute to work by bike. After Hurricane Matthew, the trail was littered with downed trees, marsh grass, sand, and trash. Many areas were not safe to bike on or impassable. We spent a couple hours with rakes, shovels and brooms and cleared a section of the trail. 

Thanks to Kim Gundler and David Gorzynski for leading the effort, and to Carl, who was biking by and stopped to help!

Factory Creek Fishing Pier 

A few weeks ago, we walked down to the Factory Creek Fishing Pier and picked up all the trash in the Open Land Trust Park. We really know how to have fun!

Benjie is pleased with the result! A clean park for us all to enjoy!

Stay tuned to see what fun activity we come up with next! We are always open to suggestions too.

Zillow Digs Design Competition

We are the National winners of the Zillow Digs Design Competition for the bedroom category! Our design of this tranquil bedroom in Hilton Head was voted the best by Zillow Digs users throughout the country. Thanks for everyone who voted for us!