Midtown Atlanta has been going through a real renaissance, with new high-rises, pop-up art, sustainable restaurants and boundaries that now stretch from Westside to Poncey Highlands. With growth projections for the city skewing toward walkable districts, it's an opportunity for Midtown, said Midtown Alliance President Kevin Green at the May 28 panel discussion, “Midtown Dialogues: The Urban Experience.”
Public art, an expanding Piedmont Park and public safety investments are reconnnecting neighborhoods, as more Atlantans choose to walk and bike around the city. “We have 300 acres of greenspace and several higher education institutions [SCAD-Atlanta, Georgia Tech], all in a 1.2-square-mile walkable district,” said Green. “The Midtown Alliance has built 15 miles of streetscapes and planted 900 trees in our first Special Public Interest District (SPI), and we even have a rotating boulder now on 10th and Peachtree.”
Chris Martorella, president of investment management for Integral Group, which has proposed the development of a 35-story residential building on 6th Street and Peachtree, told the gathering that “Midtown is Atlanta's best offering,” and that in terms of diverse housing stock, “other neighborhoods don't have the bones.”
“Not yet,” said Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, who represents District 2, another panelist.
The group also included Anne Dennington, executive director of Flux Projects, and Steve Simon, co-founder and partner of Fifth Group Restaurants. “Food is now entertainment for young people,” said Simon. Dennington added that Atlanta's arts community needs a more prosperous “ecosystem” similar to what has happened with its restaurant scene.
By Ben Young
Pictured: Midtown Alliance President and CEO Kevin Green at the "Midtown Dialogues: The Urban Experience" panel May 28 at the W hotel