Atlanta Botanical Garden receives $25M for expansion to BeltLine

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 1:22 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The popular Atlanta Botanical Garden is planning to expand and connect to the Atlanta BeltLine thanks to a $25 million grant from the Cox Foundation, according to a press release.

By acquiring commercial property along Piedmont Avenue, the Garden is hoping to expand by 7 acres and add a second entrance dedicated to walkers and bikers. The goal is to create a more walkable, bikeable and livable urban environment.

ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDEN EXPANSION RENDERING
ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDEN EXPANSION RENDERING(ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDEN)

Expansion efforts began in 2018 when the City of Atlanta invested $20.4 million into the acquisition of retail and mixed-use property near Piedmont Avenue and Monroe Drive. Since then, the Garden has purchased commercial parcels with private funds for its expansion efforts. Ultimately, the goal is to link the city’s most popular greenspaces -- the Garden, Park, and the BeltLine.

“To have a front door on the beltline, 20, 30, 40 years from now, even five years from now it’s going to be pivotal. But even longer into the future, if you squint your eyes, and think about that, what a great, gracious way to let gas come and enjoy our beautiful botanical garden that is sustainable long into the future,” said Mary Pat Matheson, President and CEO of the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDEN EXPANSION PLAN
ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDEN EXPANSION PLAN(ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDEN)

James Fukartas and his family are looking forward to a day when they can curb the car and easily walk to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Fukartas, who just a few months ago moved back to metro Atlanta from out of state, sees the Garden and the Beltline as huge assets to the community.

“With expansion that offers more enjoyment for other people who want to come and support. And being able to have better access to the Beltline area would definitely help bring awareness to everything going on here as well,” said Fukartas. “You’re eliminating carbon emissions and stuff like that. You’re getting your exercise in.”

As the Garden expands, so too will Piedmont Park, which plans to turn commercial property they’ve purchased in the same area near Piedmont and Monroe - into more greenspace.

“We are excited for the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s recent announcement and to see their continued progress to green the area along Piedmont Ave. to the Beltline. We agree that the “node” area where ABG, the Atlanta Beltline, and Piedmont Park touch will be very exciting and interesting,” said Mark Banta, President and CEO Piedmont Park Conservancy.

Once the necessary land is acquired, the Garden will launch a capital campaign for developing the property. The goal for completion is 2026.

The new entrance from the BeltLine would allow guests access to new garden spaces and a visitor center, water features, display gardens and exhibition areas.

“We’re going to be the cultural anchor on the Atlanta Beltline. If you’ve been to the highline in New York recently, the Whitney is their cultural anchor, right? So I think of us as the Whitney on the beltline,” said Matheson.

The James M. Cox Foundation has been a longtime supporter of the Garden.