LARGE-SCALE URBAN REDEVELOPMENT projects are not for the faint of heart. The most ironic hurdle in the development of Atlantic Station, a 138-acre, mixed-use project on the site of a former steel manufacturing facility, was a steel shortage. But there were other roadblocks along the way, including adverse soil conditions, utility problems, and ongoing quibbles with a small army of city, county, and state agencies. The site was inaccessible to the public during the first six months of the Phase 1 sales period and the first three months of apartment pre-leasing.

These challenges only made the handsome project that much sweeter when it finally opened. An elliptical park with a five-acre lake (you'd never suspect that it's a retention pond) now serves as a shared “front yard” for the urban-chic apartment homes and condos hugging its banks. The pond is traversed by a 200-foot pedestrian bridge that links the residential buildings' amenities, including a wellness spa.

Individual building plans are equally innovative. Each building wraps around a parking garage that is completely hidden from public view. Another surprise inside each multifamily structure: an interior courtyard pool, offering sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of city life.

For decades, the interstate highway flanking what is now Atlantic Station served as a fat divider bisecting the east and west sides of town. Anew 17th Street bridge (which serves as a gateway to the village) spans the divide and reunifies the turf on either side of the expressway. A six-million-square-foot retail/entertainment district just east of the residential commons puts dwellers within walking distance of office buildings, nightclubs, restaurants, and shopping. More homes are on the way in Phase 2.

Category: Site plan; Entrant/Developer: Lane Investment and Development, Atlanta; Builder: Lane Realty Construction, Alpharetta, Ga.; Architect: James, Harwick + Partners, Dallas; Land planner: J. Lancaster Associates, Marietta, Ga.; Landscape architect: Cornerstone Gardens, Houston; Interior designer: Duncan & Miller Design, Dallas

BRAWNY AND BEAUTIFUL For nearly 100 years, the site that is now home to Atlantic Station was occupied by a steel manufacturing facility. To preserve a piece of industrial history, land planners recast artifacts salvaged from the original plant as sculptural objects amid community walking trails and landscaped courtyards.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA, Atlantic City, NJ.