Why Atlanta is a Great Place to LiveNow More
Trends, Events and A Look Ahead at 2007
by Avery Thibadeau
Home to businesses such as Delta, Coca-Cola, UPS, and Home Depot, Atlanta ranks third in the nation for Fortune 500 company headquarters. People and offices are moving in, reversing the past rush for the suburbs. Atlanta is growing upliterally. It isn’t just the climate that is attracting people; as Atlanta grows, it is changing in unprecedented ways, welcoming opportunity and innovation and redefining luxury. Here’s a look at Atlanta in 2007a city on the rise.
Atlanta is experiencing a trend toward intown living, and the increasing intown population is resulting in an increasingly populated skyline of high-rise buildings, many of them luxury condominium towers.
With such rapid strides forward in population and development, Atlanta’s appeal is growing accordingly, and the city is attracting attention from the likes of real estate mogul Donald Trump. Working with Marietta’s Wood Partners and Dezer Properties, Trump will develop two towers in Midtown Atlanta, at the intersection of 15th and West Peachtree streets. Trump Towers Atlanta, at 30 and 40 stories, will consist of luxury residences, boutique retailers and restaurants with desirable proximity to the Woodruff Arts Center. A price point has not yet been set, but with luxury abounding, these residences will undoubtedly enter the market at top dollar. Construction is expected to begin early in 2007.
Southeastern real estate development firm Novare Group is responsible for numerous high-rise developments throughout Atlanta, in Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead. The firm has already broken ground on several luxury high-rises, such as The Atlantic in Atlantic Station and ViewPoint in Midtown. Located near Centennial Park, TWELVE Centennial Park will be one of Downtown’s celebrated solutions to luxury living, with twin residential towers framing a boutique hotel.
Where all the Lights are BrightDowntown
Eight million gallons of water is bound to make anyone thirsty, and when the new World of Coke opens in summer of 2007, a quick jaunt across the adjoining green space will grant the world’s number one selling soda drink. Discover the story behind Atlanta’s own Coca-Cola with new state-of-the art technology and story-telling techniques, and visit crowd pleaser “Taste of the World,” where visitors can sample international Coca-Cola products.
There is certainly more to Atlanta than Midtown and Downtown, despite their growing popularity. Atlanta is a city of numerous neighborhoods, each with its own distinct personality and lifestyle.
Virginia Highlands is one of Atlanta’s most popular neighborhoods with its proximity to Midtown, quiet neighborhood streets and a trendy commercial strip, while Buckhead is the place to go for Atlanta’s hottest clubs and bars, upscale restaurants and designer shopping. But several intown neighborhoods are beginning to offer these traditional hot spots a run for their money as revitalization efforts take effect. These days, what’s old is new.
Attracting residents to its historic, stately homes, the growing West End neighborhood was designated a National Historic District in 2000. Home to Joel Chandler Harris’s Wren’s Nest, the neighborhood will soon feature a new shopping and residential center, Westside Village.
Once an industrial area, Castleberry Hill has now become an arts district, with unique galleries and fashionable coffee houses and bars. A neighborhood known for its lofts, the soon-to-open Castleberry Point mixed-use condominium development will blend the flatiron appearance of the neighborhood’s traditional structures with contemporary design.
East Atlanta has benefited from a concerted effort to attract new businesses and residents, and with communities like Glenwood Park, they have proved largely successful. The Old Fourth Ward has experienced similar growth. This formerly rough neighborhood, spotted with shotgun-style homes, bungalows and warehouses, is host to the internationally-known Carter Center and Martin Luther King, Jr. Preservation District, and more eclectic boutiques and dining hot spots set up shop every year.TransportationGetting in and around Atlanta
Cities grow where people can reach them. Let’s be honest, necessity and practicality do trump glamour and luxury, and perhaps the most significant hallmark of a great city is its system of transportation. Well situated for domestic and international travel, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (HJAIA) has long held the distinction of being “the world’s busiest passenger airport.” As a major connecting hub for destinations around the world, the airport is working hard at both cosmetic and structural improvement. Termed the largest public works project in Georgia’s history, the current 10-year airport development plan will utilize $5.4 billion in airport improvements and includes last year’s addition of a 9,000 foot runway, the highly anticipated Maynard H. Jackson, Jr. International Terminal and a consolidated rental car facility.
Improvements in Atlanta’s public transportation system, MARTA, will have more people leaving their cars parked at home. With a new state-of-the art smart card fare system, the old station turnstiles and troublesome tokens will soon be a thing of the past. The new system, appropriately named “Breeze,” uses cards containing computer chips encoded with time-based passes, trips or a dollar value. The two types of cards, designed for the frequent and infrequent traveler, feature fare options, automatic loading capabilities and insurance against loss or theft.
Working to provide the service that Atlantans need, MARTA now offers one-bus service from Lenox Square Mall all the way down Peachtree to the State Capitol. This new bus service, aptly called The Peach, will provide its riders the opportunity to hop off at many of the city’s most popular locations along the way, such as the Fox Theatre and High Museum of Art.
The recently opened Dozier Centre for the Performing Arts in Kennesaw has already succeeded in this, attracting artists to its expansive dance and recording studios, concert hall and theater, and rehearsal rooms. A performance center and the home of the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra, this also serves as a major arts educational center, with classes in dance, theater, vocal and music performance and digital media.
As Atlanta grows, celebrity spotting is becoming more and more common. A handful of celebrities have taken a vested interest in Atlantaor at least in what they eat. These restaurants, owned or run by local and global celebrities, will undoubtedly play host to several of your favorite 2007 meals.
A hot spot for many of Atlanta’s trendiest is Justin’s on Peachtree, which has long attracted patrons with its two full bars, A-list crowd and, of course, its proprietormusical artist and CEO of Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group Sean Combs, or Diddy. On the other end of the dining spectrum is Watershed Restaurant in Decatur. The creation of Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls, this restaurant is a favorite for many with its fresh, hip and healthy food and open, urban décor.
Then there are the chefs who, due to their wizardry in the kitchen have become celebrities. Guenter Seeger, of Seeger’s in Buckhead, is one such example. After a globe-spanning career, Seeger opened a five-star restaurant for Atlanta’s most discerning diners in a small 1920s house, offering limited seating and a prix fixe menu.
Known as the host of Turner South’s “Home Plate,” Chef Marvin Woods is now heading up the kitchen as executive chef at Spice in Midtown. The restaurant is attracting crowds with Woods’ “new American” approach to food, which features Southern and Caribbean influences.
And of course there is Emeril’s. The restaurant of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, it has become a favorite for many Atlantans with its impressive wine tower and even more impressiveand satisfyingtraditional Creole menu. Reflecting Atlanta’s own image, Emeril’s is a perfect blend of Southern culture and high-class sophistication.