By David Pendered
Kevin Green took time Tuesday to talk about his views of, and vision for, Midtown on the day he was named president and CEO of Midtown Alliance.
Green sees a bright future. Midtown faces good opportunities to continue growing into a pleasant and safe community, he says.
Read excerpts of a conversation with Green about seven different topics. And be sure to see his thoughts about the potential for new retail shops in Midtown.
Q: How do you plan to spend the next several months settling into your new position?
A: I am very excited to be taking on this new role. This is an organization that has achieved amazing things. I’ll be doing a lot of listening and learning. Obviously, I want to understand if there are any near-term decisions that need to be made. I want to understand all of the organization. I want to sit down with the team and see how they see the challenges and opportunities. I want to sit down with the board and have the same conversation.
Q: What do you see in terms of the future development of Midtown?
A: The economy certainly has slowed the pace of new development, as it has everywhere. As the tide comes back in, and it is, Midtown is exceptionally well positioned. Midtown took full advantage of the economy we had since the Blueprint was created. It will continue to attract high-quality investments and diverse people who want that walk-able urban experience. I think the trends favor Midtown.
Q: What are your thoughts about making it more pleasant to walk in Midtown?
A: Midtown already is doing this by building out substantial streetscape improvements that are underway – about 25 miles and over $80 million of investments. That helps. Midtown has a critical mass of daytime workers. There’s a growing market of vertical neighborhoods in addition to the established neighborhoods. There’s a critical mass of people and the next big thing is going to be building out more retail.
Q: What sort of retail market do you see emerging in Midtown?
A: This is an area I need to get smart in. I’m not a developer by training, but I can see the trends. Retail is definitely moving back to the city. Midtown is already a center for jobs, housing, arts and entertainment. It’s pedestrian friendly. There’s fantastic transportation accessibility. All the pieces are there. I think there are opportunities for lots of different types of storefront retail. As the economy continues to improve, Midtown is going to continue to excel, as it has in the past.
Q: What are your thoughts about public safety in Midtown?
A: Public safety is an essential part of a great urban experience. The 24/7 Midtown Blue is working hard to make sure we have a safe, secure community. Midtown Blue has done a great job and has shown a measurable decrease in criminal incidents. Through a combination of hard work and good leadership, and monitoring 30-some video cameras that are located in Midtown and the Atlanta Police Department’s 911 system, Midtown Blue is a very sophisticated public safety organization that is very well received by people who live and work in Midtown.
Q: What role can Midtown Alliance perform in Midtown’s arts and culture communities?
A: The Midtown Alliance already recognizes the arts and culture organizations and venues as an economic anchor that attracts more than 6 million visitors each year. These organizations help define Midtown’s character and are a catalyst for the future growth and development. Midtown Alliance can help provide good linkages, physically through streetscapes and transportation connections, and virtually through networks among the organizations, leadership, residents, workers and patrons.
Q: In closing, when you consider Midtown, what do you see?
A: It’s just amazing that it’s all there. If you think about all the pieces that are in place in Midtown: A grid layout; four MARTA stations; five bridges across the Downtown Connector; a job center with some 80,000 jobs; 30,000 residences in both new vertical neighborhoods and established, traditional neighborhoods; 250 acres of adjacent greenspace with the best park and the botanical garden to boot. If you want a vibrant, dense live-work-play community that’s walkable and linked to these wonderful [amenities], you have it in Midtown.