The General Motors assembly plant in Doraville shuttered in 2008. Since then, the hulking, nearly empty beast, has served as a reminder to motorists along I-285 of metro Atlanta and America's past life as an industrial and manufacturing powerhouse.
Traces of the lettering on the main office remain. A sign warning visitors not to bring unauthorized chemicals still stands at the worker entrance. Grass sprouts through cracks in the vast parking lot.
In several months, most of these remnants will be gone. A construction worker last Friday hopped behind the controls of a trackhoe and ripped a chunk of bricks from the plant's midcentury office building, drawing applause from media, civic leaders, and developers. After shattered hopes and failed efforts to re-imagine the megasite, developers are promising that the 165-acre property, once teeming with activity, would hum again. The vision: a walkable and transit-connected residential and business hub, almost 30 acres larger than Atlantic Station, that could bring new parks, restaurants, and other amenities — not to mention a sense of place, something lacking in the 10,603-person community.
"It's going to give us a sense of meaning," says Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman. "It'll put us on the map."
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photo credit: flickr member Exit to Future World