MARTA’s desire for mixed-use, transit-oriented development around Lindbergh Center Station is close to getting a long-sought zoning designation that could make the vision easier to achieve. That’s significant as negotiations continue on a major apartment, hotel and retail project on Piedmont Road.

NPU-B on Dec. 4 approved including Lindbergh Center in the Special Public Interest District 15 zoning, which currently applies to the other side of Piedmont, replacing a previous designation that allows more traditional, and often car-centric, commercial uses, among other factors.

Nearly 20 years ago, Lindbergh Center was planned as MARTA’s first transit-oriented development, but ended up more mall-like. At the same time, it was left out of SPI-15, though with the understanding it would one day be included.

Now MARTA is trying to do better mixed-use at Lindbergh, where the transit agency is also headquartered. The owners of a vacant Shoney’s restaurant at 2450 Piedmont earlier this year won a bid from MARTA for two neighboring parcels and are proposing the large mixed-use project. A

MARTA spokesperson said that talks about that project continue and that the transit agency has not put any other parcels out to bid yet.

The SPI-15 zoning, which still needs city approval, would give “better teeth” to mixed-use zoning intent, city planner Tshaka Warren told the NPU.