Debbie Frank with MARTA on Radio

Director of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Debbie Frank with Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) joins the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast to chat about new projects and developments, the transit company’s biggest challenges and more.

Responsible for TOD planning and implementation around stations, Frank assists in the development of mixed-use communities for MARTA users. During Frank’s six-and-a-half years with the organization, MARTA has experienced an economic impact of nearly $1 billion in new real estate at or near one-third of the 38 stations in its network. A considerable aid to the transit system’s efforts, Frank’s resume highlights include 25 years of planning, development, real estate and redevelopment initiative experience for non-profits, for-profits and quasi-governmental agencies in Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio and now Georgia. 

Before working with MARTA, Frank was a managing partner for Urban Blueprint, a real estate development and planning consulting firm based in Nashville, Tennessee. Her previous experience also includes serving as the executive director of the North Nashville Community Development Corporation, an affiliate organization of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Frank said, “We pride ourselves on being an option for folks. The convenience of MARTA is definitely one that more people should experience.”

MARTA is the ninth largest transit system in the United States, servicing the city of Atlanta and Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties. The organization has 38 rail stations, 570 buses and 338 rail cars, with upcoming plans for new rail cars in the works. A truly accessible way of travel through the metro area, the MARTA network also features a mobility service with 211 vehicles set aside to support the program. 

Frank said, “Prior to the pandemic, we had a daily ridership of about 450,000 people and annually that amounted to about 7.9 million riders…We saw a decrease…but we are pleased to say we are seeing an uptick in our ridership.”

The MARTA ridership has also increased with the current rise in gas prices.

The team at MARTA was fortunate enough to host the grand opening of the King Memorial TOD, a mixed-use development boasting 11,000 square feet of retail and office space and apartments adjacent to Oakland Cemetery and the King Memorial Station. The apartment sector of the project, Marchon, features 305 apartments available for rent, 32% categorized as affordable housing.

Creating jobs and income for the surrounding neighborhood, Frank shared that the King Memorial TOD was a $63 million investment for the community. The developer worked closely with InvestAtlanta to ensure the creation of affordable housing units.

Frank said, “We try to create as many opportunities [as possible] to work closely with our local jurisdiction where the opportunity presents itself. It did here at King Memorial.”

Tune in to the full interview above to learn more about MARTA or visit www.ItsMARTA.com

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