Atlanta real estate and long-standing establishments face the essential merging of the old and the new. You can thank the native long-standing Gen Xers who arrived in the mid-90s to shape modern Atlanta and thus move the city from a Southeast hub to an international one. Today, if you ask someone how long have they been in Atlanta, you say “You’re from here” if the answer is more than 20 years.
Why are the Gen Xers to be thanked? Simple, we built a unified bridge between the the old and the new. We acted on the awareness that the city was changing, but wanted to preserve the best of what attracted us to the city. Sorry Baby Boomers, you got stuck in your ways after revolutionizing the country in the ’60s and early ’70s. Thankfully, you laid the foundation for the 1990s growth. Millennials, just being technology savvy with all this increased consciousness does make you the complete authority on everything. Gen Xers opened the door for you to see why Atlanta is so attractive.
What enabled the Gen Xers build the bridge? Many of the natives and long-standing residents experienced aspects of other cities that would improve ours. Walkability, Connectivity an Mass Transit an vital urban core are things we valued. We saw the writing on the wall that the commutes from the northern suburbs to Buckhead and south would only get worse, and started acting on it, starting 20 years ago.
How has this bridge manifested itself? Look at the most prominent projects – Atlantic Station, Atlanta BeltLine, Ponce City Market, Avalon, and soon to be renamed Buckhead Atlanta. Atlantic Station started the trend in 1998, and Ryan Gravel, originally from Houston, envisioned merging the old and the new with with his BeltLine thesis at Georgia Tech. As that gained traction, Buckhead Atlanta (entertainment hub that drew many Gen Xers to Atlanta along with a booming economy) started to show some wear and in comes Ben Carter. Now Jamestown President and Buckhead native Michael Phillips wants to embrace the best of the best of both generations, as evidenced by the town hall meeting on July 24th.(1) The best is yet to come with the fundamental transformation of the Westside Atlanta, specifically the English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods in which our generations of social consciousness merge to revitalize downtrodden neighborhoods while enabling current residents to stay there. Thank you Tom Cousins for the blue print when you went into East Lake.
(1) (We needed Oliver McMillan for a while, but they they did not embrace Atlanta, as evidenced by their presentation to Urban Land Institute in 2014.)