Will you make a purchase for free parking?

Atlantic Station visitors will have to buy something to get free parking starting Monday, AJC writer Arielle Kass reports.

When visitors spend money at stores, food trucks or restaurants, they will receive a validation card to be inserted into pay machines with their parking ticket, Kass reports. Currently, they get two hours of free parking without any proof of purchase.

The move comes as part of a planned $2.5 million upgrade to Atlantic Station’s parking facilities to make the deck brighter and easier to navigate, Kass reports.

What do you think of this? Will it cause you to buy something? Or will you go elsewhere?

Is this an understandable sign of the times, given the tough economy? Or is it a counterproductive move that will drive people away?

Do you think more malls and shopping centers will try this out?

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

88 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

July 7th, 2011
6:36 am

They have the right to charge for parking if they want to. Maybe this will reduce the likelyhood of AS being a thug hangout! That comment is made after talking to residents at AS. Where is there other free parking in downtown Atlanta since Park Atlanta was contracted?

“The move comes as part of a planned $2.5 million upgrade to Atlantic Station’s parking facilities to make the deck brighter and easier to navigate, ”

The original design was flawed; their original consultant should fix it for free!


July 7th, 2011
6:50 am

Even free is too much. AS is the biggest nothing that ever was.


July 7th, 2011
7:02 am

Agreed.. this place is just flat out ghetto. It’s a bust just like Underground. I wouldn’t pay and if they start charging, there are PLENTY of other options for shopping in better areas. Good luck with that.


July 7th, 2011
7:16 am

I’ll shop elsewhere. AS is just an outdoor mall. Lenox, Perimeter, and Phipps don’t charge for parking, so I’ll just go there to shop. While it’s true that many places in midtown and downtown charge for parking, AS isn’t comparable to free-standing independent shops and unique restaurants; it’s comparable to a mall full of chain stores.


July 7th, 2011
7:21 am

We have only been there once – to attend Cirque. We went early to eat before the show. AS has no appeal as a place to go to shop from what we saw on that trip. Won’t be back no matter if the parking is free or not.


July 7th, 2011
7:31 am

Should LA Fitness members also pay a parking fee? If so, that means the average price for a membership increases by the $3 a day for members.
LA Fitness will close if it does not change the policy because members will not pay more for parking than they do for a monthly membership…


John Grimes

July 7th, 2011
8:05 am

We all know why they are doing this…And if you’ve been, you know too.


July 7th, 2011
8:05 am

I just needed a space to say that Beverly Hall is a corrupt, cheating, money grubbing low life…oh, and did I say that she was really ugly, too?


July 7th, 2011
8:11 am

LA Fitness at 5th Street validates parking at the Centergy deck. If they don’t do it at Atlantic Station, I won’t go to that one anymore.

Rick Day

July 7th, 2011
8:13 am

Street parking should be free in a mall. Period. As is a mall with apartments nearby. It’s like Howell Mill and 75, only without the thugs.

There is a reason why A.S. is built on a Superfund toxic waste site.

My opinion, of course.


July 7th, 2011
8:37 am

Big mistake! This kind of things drives customers away. Just ask Riches and Davidsons downtown. Oh…you can’t do that they are out of business! Wonder why?

no go

July 7th, 2011
8:44 am

I’ve stopped going to atlantic station—too many thug types and bums hanging around. Plus, the restaurants are mediocre and overpriced.


July 7th, 2011
8:53 am

Lenox mall needs to do the same if they could.


July 7th, 2011
8:54 am

I do not shop AS as I am not going to pay to park. The traffic here is heavy all the time and really none of the merchants are unique. Good luck to AS! Perhaps it will help them attract serious shoppers and reduce the traffic so quality shoppers could help the bottom line instead of just being a gathering place.


July 7th, 2011
9:01 am

I think this will be a long term hindrance to Atlantic Station. It’s always a mistake to impose fees based on a shortage that doesn’t exist. If you charge people to park when there is an abundance of available parking, people are going to drive somewhere else. But I guess you could just buy a pack of gum at Publix if nothing else.


July 7th, 2011
9:12 am

All of Atlanta’s parking should be free. Paid parking in a city like Atlanta is a rip-off.


July 7th, 2011
9:16 am

richs and davisons are out of business for a lot more reasons than downtown parking issues.


July 7th, 2011
9:30 am

I wonder if they are going to require a minimum purchase in order to take advantage of the free parking. Otherwise what is to stop people from purchasing a pack of gum from Publix like one poster said. When they announce that value, that may sway my decision to shop there in the future. There aren’t any unique shops there that I can’t find at other malls that offer free parking.


July 7th, 2011
9:57 am

AS is a business like any other-and the free parking has resulted in the place turning into a ghetto. It was a great place when it opened-and went quickly downhill with street trash walking around and hanging out. It’s the same reason the Spring-street LA Fitness “Esporta” flagship experiment failed-they didn’t charge everyone the higher rate to cover expenses. Higher rate, higher class of people, who have the $$ to buy things, and then you have a safe environment that’ll draw in the right retail mix.


July 7th, 2011
9:58 am

I just needed a space to say that Beverly Hall is a corrupt, cheating, money grubbing low life…oh, and did I say that she was really ugly, too?


July 7th, 2011
10:04 am

This has nothing to do with the economy and everything to do with the fact that AS has become a giant outdoor hangout with rowdy loiterers driving away true potential shoppers. If you don’t believe me, go get a feel for the area by trying to go see a movie there….good luck actually hearing it over some of the rude patrons.


July 7th, 2011
10:30 am

Living into a neighborhood very close to AS I applaud the decision to charge for parking as it will drive away the hang out “thug” element and make it better for those of us there to truly shop. Hope it helps to improve things.


July 7th, 2011
10:35 am

I would likely go elsewhere unless I know for certain that I will be making a purchase there. the “Thugs” as referenced in an earlier comment can walk or take public transportation to that location I believe that the solution to that problem lies somewhere else.


July 7th, 2011
10:41 am

I think the majority of those who will not be actually shopping in the AS are:

1. Products of the APS
2. Cannot do their ABC’s
3. Are definitely THUGS

I'm Just Saying

July 7th, 2011
10:50 am

Life in the big city! You have to pay to park at Pentagon City Mall in DC and the parking lot is always crowded… It’s no different than having to pay for parking to visit hotel’s for meetings etc… I’m Just Saying……


July 7th, 2011
11:00 am

Completely stupid idea for AS…you don’t start charging for parking after you have offered it for free for five years. Phipps and Lenox do not charge for parking, so why should AS which has far fewer shopping options. Of course the AS concept itself is completely flawed…a live, work, play development where the majority of the people who work there can not afford to live there. Doesn’t make any sense.

purple crayon

July 7th, 2011
11:17 am

I aint gots no car anywayz…i love me some fat white girls.


July 7th, 2011
11:28 am

As if I needed another reason not to go to Atlantic Station.


July 7th, 2011
11:32 am

Yawn! And who cares? The AS Publix charges double for everything, including their half-rotten produce. THIS is exactly why Atlanta is Mecca for far-flung, suburban strip centers. How long before the developers start asking the city for a “bail out” to keep them afloat. I would pay $2 an hour for an armed body guard to escort me around Atlantic Station while I shop, however!

Westside resident

July 7th, 2011
11:49 am

This is a good thing. In order to attract the kind of tenants that will make AS a desireable place, they need to do something to move the undesirables out. If AS brings in high end restaurants and unique shopping experiences then that clientele will come and buy. I live nearby and I do go to AS because it is east to get in and out of if you know where to park. My fear is that the Target parking lot will become the free place for those undesireables to park. Bring it on – CHANGE could save this place because otherwise it is just another outdoor mall.


July 7th, 2011
11:51 am

I’m an LA Fitness member; I talked to management when I saw the signs noting the change last Thursday. They are not charging for parking; it’s part of their contract with Atlantic Station. We will get validated like everyone else.


July 7th, 2011
12:08 pm

Interesting experiment. Follow up on this Henry to let us know how it worked. My guess is that once word of the parking charge gets around there will be a modest falloff in visitors who might otherwise go there just to hang out.


July 7th, 2011
12:11 pm

Yes lets charge too much so the blacks ( code words thug, ghetto, bad elemetns, etc) can stay out. You all are a bunch of racists! Georgias finest as usual…..ugh…I hate red necks…dumb, ignorant and racist.

Now to the question..if you are not buying anything you should not be taking up a parking space…..period!


July 7th, 2011
12:11 pm

I’ll continue to take MARTA like I always have. Maybe some of you could try it!


July 7th, 2011
12:33 pm

In addition, I like the improvements they’ve made. The colors are brighter in the parking area. There is a much more visible security presence. Also, they are putting advertising dollars behind Bodies (Amazing exhibit) and Dialog in the Dark (One of my friends said it’s the best show he’s ever seen) Also, as someone who goes to Atlantic Station every day I will say they have NEVER had a security problem. I once saw a police chase (on foot) at Underground. I’ve never seen anything remotely like that at AS. However, I don’t like seeing movies there because of the younger crowd. On the other hand, I don’t like going to movies in general because of a general lack of manners that is just as present in Alpharetta, Roswell, Fayetteville, or Buckhead. People should have to pay to park. I’m sure Target will crack down on the free loaders once they start infringing on their customers. Shoot, people already do that. Above all, they are going to change up some of the merchants and give it more of a local feel. They already have local artists playing on Thursday evenings by the LAF. The new owners are connected to the Grove in LA. I think they will do very well. Especially, with Streets of Buckhead stalling.

Esporta worked because it was in a horrid location for that type of Club. They needed a sexier address on Peachtree St if you want to go high end. That was my original LAF. So, I had the privilege of enjoying the amenities because I joined that club and remained a member throughout the parking deck debacle. New members at Esporta had to pay much higher rates and LAF people from other clubs did not have dual membership there. Location and the obvious connection to a very nice LAF 5 mins away were the main issues.


July 7th, 2011
12:37 pm

I have never been to AS but I am assuming that the “thugs” are probably riding MARTA into the area and then hanging out. Therefore, this change will not affect them. I have not ventured there due to hearing reports of the “thugs” hanging out and then causing problems.


July 7th, 2011
12:43 pm

I do think paid parking will keep some of the thug element out of AS,
However until management does something about all the non shoppers just hanging around, this place is nothing more than Overground Atlanta and I will not be shopping here.


July 7th, 2011
1:00 pm

You GA CRACKERS never cease to amaze me, i am a white man who loves Atlantic Station and think it’s very nice. If you don’t like it keep your a@@ at the trailer park and smoke meth and be miserable. Instead of throwing out code words like “thug” and “ghetto”. Be bold and just say you don’t want the black folks there. You are all pathethic by the way here is the definition of ghetto.A ghetto is a section of a city occupied by a group who live there especially because of social, economic, or legal pressure.

Shop Around

July 7th, 2011
1:02 pm

I only go to Atlantic Station to specifically purchase something- I never go “just to browse”, so the new parking rules won’t affect me. As for the racists on the thread, if you are that scared of Blacks and other minorities, perhaps Utah is the place for you.


July 7th, 2011
1:34 pm

@David -Yyour sentence structure leads me to believe you might have been educated by APS.


July 7th, 2011
1:38 pm

@David – Your sentence structure (case, lack of punctuation) leads me to believe you might have been educated by APS? It’s not just whites who are racist, but you probably wouldn’t admit it, would you?

Shameless Cracker

July 7th, 2011
1:41 pm

David, thug and ghetto are used because people can’t openly use the n word anymore. I don’t mind the black folks at all, but the ghetto and thug people are scary to be around. It’s like Chris Rock says: Black folks hate n—–s too!


July 7th, 2011
1:53 pm

I love the “I have never been to AS but I am assuming that the “thugs” are probably riding MARTA into the area” comment. Ignorance is bliss because MARTA doesn’t go there. I’ve never seen a gang of walking thugs. And, really love the fallacy of criminals riding MARTA to your steal your flat screen TV.

“No, officer, this TV is mine. I’m moving to Vinnings”.

Atlantic Station needs nicer stores!

July 7th, 2011
2:42 pm

Atlantic Station is a place I will no longer go to because of the fact they REFUSE to fix those broken bricks and have the nerve to charge for parking and try to say they will transform into an “upscale” outdoor shopping destination. I do not think so. Atlantic Station has too many FREE events to charge for parking! Every week some car company or national brand is holding a display in Central Park from CNN to Hello Kitty! Not only that but what about the people who stop by for Food Truck Friday? Will the food trucks offer validation as well? Or what if I stop by a restaurant there and get food to go? Will I still get a validation ticket? Atlantic Station has A LOT of improvements to make before I spend any more of my money or time there! It is more than just adding more security or installing surveillance cameras or painting the parking garage that will broaden the appeal! I will spend my money at the malls and department stores that do not charge for parking! Plus, I do not have to worry about Atlanta’s extreme weather when I am at the mall.


July 7th, 2011
2:57 pm

Maybe this will reduce the likelyhood of AS being a thug hangout! Wow really?
I never see “thugs” when I go there, maybe it takes a “thug’ to know one. If you are going to shop, dine, or see a movie then you actually will not have to pay to park. If you are complaining about the pay to park requirement , then you must be one of those that’s hanging out!


July 7th, 2011
3:00 pm

I would think if the event is FREE it would not be an issue to charge for parking. FREE event with $3-$5 for parking versus spending a hundred bucks to see a movie to get FREE parking. It seems like an easy choice to me.

If you spend money at a restaurant/food truck you will get a validation ticket for 2 hours worth of parking. It’s not hard.


July 7th, 2011
3:09 pm

I swear if I read the word “Thug” or “Ghetto” one more time on this thread i’m going to scream!….this little discussion fourm has quickly turned into a rant fest for people to speak their mind on how they feel about BLACKS walking around at a mall rather than parking. For starters if you have only been to AS once in the past 5-7 years…please don’t comment! Secondly if you really feel like you need an armed security guard to walk you from Dillards to KPC then you really don’t need to be living in a city like Atlanta! For the people who frequent the place a few times a year you know how this place opperates. It was poorly constructed and poorly designed to begin with. That non-stop blinking red light that you hit right after the first stop sign is an indication of a design flaw. The parking lot is actually not to bad IF YOU GO THERE OFTEN..if its your first time or second time it can be overwhelming (like any underground parking garage)! Finally, lets be honest..free parking is not what’s bringing more BLACK PEOPLE to AS and this little $2 fee is not going to drive BLACK PEOPLE away either. News report..black people in Atlanta have money and they like to shop just as much as anybody else. Even my $12 Long Island iced tea I just bought at Strip last weekend is called spending money!! Not to mention the countless number of dates i’ve brought to the movie theatre and the burrito money I’ve dropped at Moes! AS is what it is..if you don’t like it..then just stop going there…but the parking fee increase is BS (like a number of other things are in this wanna be major city) But until they get rid of the chain stores and get rid of that over priced Mexicano resturant and the horrible Cheesecake Bistro the clientel that AS is looking for is never going to come out BECASUE THEY DON’T HAVE A REASON TO BE THERE. The BLACKS however, do have a reason because of Fox Sports, Strip..ect places that look cool and attract 20 something girls and guys on a regular basis..not to mention its located in the dead center of the city! But for you people who like throw the Thug word around..I know what you mean…and honstly I wish you could say the N-word too so that way there is no more mystery…

Proud APS Graduate

July 7th, 2011
3:14 pm

@dmb, please use spell check. (”Yyour”)

Proud APS Graduate c/o 2000 (2013 Ph.D candidate) B.A./M.A. GA State University


July 7th, 2011
3:41 pm


I know what you mean and thanks for being mature in the way you stated your case instead of using the usual code words most of these cowards use on this site, but I couldn’t agree more.


July 7th, 2011
3:54 pm

Pay to park AND higher sales tax than suburban malls. Remind me why I’d bother going to Atlantic Station?????