Midtown Alliance staff pose in front of the Midtown letters outside Colony Square. Top row (seated from L-R): Laura Troutt, Michelle Polak, Susannah Lee, Chris Leighty, Kevin Green, Winston Loggins, Thomas Wynn, Sarah Wilgus, Dan Hourigan, Jorge Cordero. Bottom row(standing from L-R): Than Hua, Kathleen Mitcham, Andre Turner, Kyle Guess, Ike Carter, Bradley Mason, Timothy James, Debra Brown, Shannon Powell, Veado Johnson, Reginald Woodall, Brian Carr, Marwesi Woodard, Terry Ward, Ashley Jaberi, Jonathan Hurst, Daniel Istok, Cladie Washburn, Courtney Richardson, Rusty Bishop, Alecea Connor, James Ricketson, Lauren Bohn. Not pictured: Ginny Kennedy, Kristian McClendon, Terrance Nelson, Mark Noll, Yusef Traylor, Karen Young.
After rising from the ashes of the Civil War, Atlanta adopted the motto resurgens, Latin for rising again. The story of Midtown personifies this motto—a neighborhood that rose along with Atlanta and enjoyed a long post-war boom, fueling the development of such landmarks as Piedmont Park, the Georgian Terrace Hotel, the Biltmore Hotel, the Fox Theatre, and countless mansions lining Peachtree Street.
Post-World War II suburban sprawl left Midtown vulnerable once again, however, a commercial and residential center now largely abandoned and forgotten. Refusing to leave Midtown’s future to chance, a group of business leaders and community volunteers came together in 1978 to form Midtown Alliance, a nonprofit organization committed to the neighborhood’s present and future.
Today, nearly 40 years later, Midtown’s resurgence is due in large part to Midtown Alliance, which has carefully guided the neighborhood’s planning and development. The result is the progress we see today: a safe and accessible live-work-play community with a very high quality of life. All the good they do happens in partnership and coordination with the City of Atlanta.
If you’ve counted the number of cranes across the Midtown skyline, followed news stories of major employers moving to Midtown, enjoyed an exceptional urban art, culture, shopping, or dining experience, or simply felt the energy of this neighborhood, Midtown Alliance would probably tell you that none of these things is accidental or coincidental, and it all started with Blueprint Midtown.
Beginning in 1997, Midtown Alliance spearheaded a remarkable community planning process that went on to become an award-winning, nationally recognized model of excellence. According to Midtown Alliance, the Blueprint “stimulated dramatic changes to Midtown by providing a framework and catalyst for new housing, desirable office space, transportation improvements, public safety initiatives, environmental clean-up, and a pedestrian-friendly streetscape program.”
Midtown Alliance engaged the community throughout the process, seeking ideas, feedback, leadership, and support, and the results were, quite literally, groundbreaking. During this six-year period of transformation, Midtown experienced the largest rezoning in the city’s history and more than $4.5 billion in new investment, including 6.2 million square feet of office space, more than 7,600 residential units, 656,000 square feet of retail, and more than 1,300 hotel rooms. Critical to the success of Midtown Alliance was the creation of the Midtown Improvement District, a voluntary assessment of commercial property owners that has raised and helped to leverage more than $100 million to implement the Blueprint.
Midtown Alliance went on to design and implement Blueprint Midtown II beginning in 2003, and is now building on the success of these efforts. Blueprint 3.0 highlights include:
- Building an “art walk” that connects the Midtown and Arts Center MARTA stations.
- Installing dynamic bridgescapes as gateways into Midtown at 10th and North Avenue.
- Implementing a robust, low-stress bike network for Midtown.
- Constructing a pedestrian-and-bike-only bridge at Peachtree Place crossing over the Downtown Connector linking the east and west sides of Midtown.
- Incorporating a one-acre public park into a new development on the south side of the District.
- Constructing a park over the Downtown Connector.
- Adding new east-west, high-capacity transit connections on North Avenue and 10th Street.
At the heart of Midtown Atlanta’s next great chapter is the redevelopment of Colony Square at the corner of Peachtree and 14th Streets, the first mixed-use development in the Southeast. Opening its doors in the mid-1970s but languishing in recent years due to a fiercely competitive commercial market, Colony Square was recently purchased by North American Properties and is in the planning stages of a major renovation.
Want to become a part of Midtown’s progress? Attend the Midtown Alliance annual meeting that happens in February at the Fox Theatre and consider becoming a member of Midtown Alliance, and enjoy 10% discounts at participating businesses. MidtownATL.com