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Sustainable Communities Thought Leadership

ULI Atlanta’s Center for Leadership (CFL) Class of 2021 Delivers Metro Atlanta projects

The unofficial theme of the ULI Atlanta Center for Leadership (CFL) Class of 2021 was rising to the moment and finding new pathways to connect, collaborate and conduct “business as usual” when the world was anything but. Much of the year focused on meaningful conversations about what Atlanta is getting right, and where challenges continue to lay ahead – and the class used these discussions to understand how to impact issues of growth, affordability, equity, and resiliency.

During the course of the nine-month program, participants had the opportunity to provide thought leadership on a critical Atlanta regional issue through a mini Technical Assistance Panel (mTAP). Working in teams, participants were responsible for sharing their expertise and advice to develop recommendations for a sponsor organization or municipality.

This year’s CFL class took virtual collaboration to the next level by being the first CFL class to have to collaborate almost exclusively in a virtual format with both their fellow classmates and with the clients they were assigned to assist. Since these projects are typically conducted in-person, this class had the extra task of building trust and comradery over Zoom and executed their entire planning process virtually – which further demonstrated agility in leadership. The projects touched geographies all across the Atlanta region, each with a set of distinct and unique challenges. These included the following clients and land use challenges:

City of Tucker Develop a highest and best use development feasibility study to trigger the redevelopment of a 38+ acre suburban strip retail center in the inner ring suburb of Tucker.
Invest Atlanta Highest and best use analysis for four contiguous parcels located in the Vine City neighborhood immediately west of downtown Atlanta, containing 7.8 acres of property formerly used by Morris Brown College.
Historic District Development Corporation (HDDC) A strategy to guide desired investment outcomes for our neighborhood: The Sweet Auburn Green & Equitable District will be Atlanta’s premier “equity-district,” creating a socially impactful ecosystem for the transitional neighborhood.
City of Chattahoochee Hills Assistance creating a master plan for a new downtown on 45 acres of city-owned property in the Rico Historic Crossroads Community.
City of Avondale Assistance identifying land use and development options that deliver a quality product with good urbanism along its “Main Street” corridor. 
Grove Park Foundation Development study identifying opportunities for Grove Park Foundation to leverage and revitalize parcels it controls (along with other friendly landowners) along “Main Street” to catalyze results that align with the multifaceted mission of equity, access and affordability.
MARTA Highest and best development option(s) for the 15-acre Windward Parkway Park + Ride lot that would complement and support the future Windward Parkway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Station. 


Each team delivered an impactful report which can all be found on ULI Atlanta’s website here: https://atlanta.uli.org/resources/mtaps/


Finally, each and every participant in the Class of 2021 helped to advance the mission of ULI to build better cities and navigate unchartered waters and will be able to apply these lessons at any point in their career. A special thanks goes to Ashley Jones, Sheba Ross, Marc Brambrut, and Kenwin Hayes for their leadership of stewardship of this program.  CFL truly takes a village – and 2021 was an incredible journey.


ULI Atlanta’s CFL program cultivates leadership and life-strategy skills by teaching emerging leaders in the real estate and land use industries how the Atlanta region gets built and how their decisions shape the future of the built environment.


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