Discovering South Fulton
Small-Town Feel, Big-City Convenience
By Muriel Vega
The area collectively known as south Fulton County is found in thebottom portion of the most populous county in Georgia and the primary county of metro Atlanta. This 125,000-acre stretch, separated from the central and northern part of the county by the city of Atlanta, enjoys its own specific identity. And these days, south Fulton—which includes southwest Atlanta and the cities of Chattahoochee Hills, College Park, East Point, Fairburn, Hapeville, Palmetto, South Fulton and Union City, as well as the unincorporated part of this half of the county—is experiencing a resurgence.
Home to several renowned businesses and the world’s busiest airport, the region is also a beneficiary of Georgia’s aggressive push to lure the entertainment industry to the state. And its alluring neighborhoods, appealing education options and convenient access to Atlanta are making the area a natural fit for businesses and residents.
South Fulton’s more than 306,059 inhabitants, who enjoy an average household income of $49,963, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, enjoy affordable housing options that are convenient to a variety of schools and downtown Atlanta.
“Housing in the area is very attractive,” says Dyan Matthews, the South Fulton Chamber of Commerce’s president and CEO. “You still get a lot for your money.”
New homes at Ravenwood in Union City range from the mid- to upper $100,000s. Two- and three-story homes at South Wind: The Estates in Fairburn start in the mid-$200,000s.
Throughout south Fulton, areas like College Park, Fairburn and Hapeville sport a peaceful, small-town feel with walkable neighborhoods and a live-work-play environment. Colorful neighborhoods like Historic College Park, filled with tree-lined streets and historic homes, and Cascade, an affluent community in southwest Atlanta, add to the area’s appeal.
Serenbe, a 1,000-acre sustainable-living community in Chattahoochee Hills, features quaint townhouses and cottage-style homes, shops and businesses. And Walton Lakes, a gated apartment community near Camp Creek Parkway, offers its own intimate environment with a cozy “Main Street” feel.
Those homes and neighborhoods are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to quality of life, says City of South Fulton Mayor William “Bill” Edwards, a former county commissioner and longtime advocate of the area. “There’s no traffic congestion, an exorbitant amount of greenspace, a lower crime rate compared to other metro cities and counties, and [low] home costs.”
Education and Business
All public schools in south Fulton are operated by the Fulton County Schools district, one of the oldest school systems in Georgia. The county also hosts a variety of independent and charter schools. Woodward Academy, in College Park, is the largest independent school in the continental U.S.
Business is growing in south Fulton, thanks in no small part to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, consistently recognized as the world’s busiest since 1998. The airport, which straddles Fulton and Clayton counties, is a principal part of the area’s economy.
“For a long time now the south Fulton area . . . has been a place where the only thing people would do is drive to that area to catch planes. If they land there, they go out into the metro area for meetings or conferences or whatever they are doing,” says Artie Jones III, economic development director for College Park. “We’re finding out there’s so much business being done around the airport that it becomes more advantageous to live in that area and not just travel there. People are getting tired of being in traffic jams.”
Hartsfield-Jackson is connected to the Georgia International Convention Center, the state’s second-largest convention facility, and the Gateway Center office and hotel development that also includes a multipurpose arena that opened in 2019.
The area is also a major shipping and transit hub, with easy access to Interstates 20, 75, 85 and 285 and a CSX Intermodal Terminal in Fairburn. South Fulton enjoys service from MARTA, Atlanta’s speed rail train, throughout much of the area.
“The exciting thing about south Fulton is that we have total access to interstate highways, the airport and rail,” says Edwards. “That’s attractive to people coming into the area, especially businesses, because those are three things that they use to move their goods and products.”
In fact, many prominent businesses call the area home. Hapeville is home to the corporate headquarters of Delta Air Lines and a Wells Fargo processing center. Porsche Cars North America has its headquarters in the city, as part of a $100 million development that features a 1.6-mile test track for drivers to test their dream machines. Porsche’s site is part of Aerotropolis, a 130-acre mixed-use development with office and retail space, restaurants and a hotel. The city maintains its own wireless network for use by residents, visitors and businesses to promote economic development.
In East Point, Tyler Perry Studios, a film production facility owned by the movie mogul, was built on most of the property at Fort McPherson, a former U.S. Army base. Union City is home to a manufacturing facility for the biotechnology company Dendreon, while Palmetto hosts the Community Medical Center and a Lowe’s distribution center. The historic Palmetto Train Depot offers a banquet room, meeting space and history museum. Retail shoppers can visit Camp Creek Marketplace, with more than 100 shops and restaurants, and Greenbriar Mall, which features more than 90 stores and vendors. Last but not least, south Fulton is home to a EUE/Screen Gems Studios facility, and numerous movie and television productions have filmed in the area.
Arts and Entertainment
South Fulton hosts many things to see and do year-round. The Taste of East Point festival serves up food and art on the first Saturday in May, while the Georgia Renaissance Festival brings thousands of visitors to Fairburn each year for jousting, live music and other medieval fare.
The area is home to two outdoor music venues, Wolf Creek Amphitheater and Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood. The Southwest Arts Center in Cascade features classrooms, exhibits and a performance theater.
Downtown Hapeville boasts a unique public art program, which started with giant butterflies painted by local students and artists and includes annual mural projects. The Hapeville Arts Alliance encourages a vibrant arts community in the city. The Hapeville Depot Museum features exhibits, railroad and aircraft artifacts and archives from the 1800s.
In East Point, Georgia Soccer Park provides playing fields for youth and adult recreation leagues, while the Dick Lane Velodrome is one of the premier bicycle racing facilities in the nation. The Cochran Mill Nature Center in Palmetto features wildlife exhibits and hiking trails.
Whether you’re a young professional or moving with your family, south Fulton has something to offer everyone, with great education, affordable housing, a growing economy, a relaxing community atmosphere and easy access to Atlanta.
South Fulton Information
City of South Fulton
South Fulton Chamber of Commerce
Fulton County Schools
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Georgia International Convention Center