Upgrades to Andrew Young International Boulevard, one of downtown's busiest tourist routes, have been discussed for years, but no significant improvements have materialized since the 1996 Olympic Games. The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the stars could be aligning to change that, as the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and Central Atlanta Progress have partnered to concentrate on sprucing up the boulevard from Centennial Olympic Park to the Downtown Connector. The hilly thoroughfare has long been considered an eyesore, and some business owners in the area are skeptical that tangible change will come now.
The hope is that new sidewalks, landscaping, lighting and public art could transform the corridor, which connects major hotels, and encourage more foot traffic, the newspaper reports. Catalysts could include the under-construction Atlanta Streetcar nearby and mega-events like the NCAA Men's Final Four, which will flood downtown with tourists in a few weeks. One minor sticking point: Funding for the upgrades has yet to be identified.
One venerable, International Boulevard business is leading the charge. PittyPat's Porch is spending nearly $500,000 to upgrade its façade to resemble a bona fide Southern mansion. One that will actually have an outdoor porch.
· Plan afoot to remake International Boulevard [Atlanta Business Chronicle]