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Thought Leader Views From Peachtree

Where is Buckhead Heading?

By Jim Durrett, Executive Director, Buckhead CID

Last week I attended the launch party for HUB404, which will be the nation’s first Transit-Oriented Park with nine acres of elevated green space that connects to MARTA’s Buckhead station. As I looked out from the 11th floor of the Atlanta Financial Center at the space that will transform our community into a more walkable urban center, it was a reminder to me of the exciting years ahead for Buckhead. 

More than 15 years ago, the Buckhead Action Plan helped forge the development of our community into what it is today – one of the epicenters of commerce in Atlanta – with a daytime population of more than 140,000 people, new neighborhood parks and numerous multi-modal transportation corridors, including PATH400, which will connect to the BeltLine.

Yet it is evident by just one glance at our booming Tech Corridor that Buckhead’s growth is far from over. Atlanta, a “brain gain” city, is the country’s fourth fastest-growing market for tech jobs, a recent expert from CBRE has found. This is evident in Buckhead, which has become a tech hub for established technology firms like Salesforce, Amazon and Fleetcor Technologies to start-ups like QGenda, Peloton and Workday. The Atlanta Tech Village, the fourth largest tech space in the U.S., is home to numerous start-ups as well and has created more than 6,500 jobs since its inception just a few years ago. 

The housing needs of this influx of tech talent has resulted in a housing boom.  Across Atlanta, approximately 10,380 new apartments are anticipated by the end of 2019, according to a RENTCAFE study. In Buckhead, approximately 5,000 multifamily units are in the pipeline. Boutique hotels are also sprouting up, including Dream Atlanta Buckhead and the Thompson Hotel Buckhead.

The dynamic changes we have seen across Atlanta – the entrance of new industries, the push for mobility and employment opportunities – are unlikely to abate any time soon, thankfully. It’s no surprise to those of us who live and work here that metro Atlanta was named the fourth fastest-growing metro area in the nation last year. 

So, what does this mean for the future of Buckhead?  This is an exciting time for our community, which is already thriving, but has great plans to sustain that growth ahead. Yet, as Kevin Green rightly pointed out in his column earlier this month, there are many “elements to creating a place that gets even better as it grows.” 

For me and the Buckhead Community Improvement District, it’s essential that our growth continues to facilitate a more walkable, livable urban environment that is safe and accessible. Let’s continue the discussion about how we get that formula right.  

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