The year started with a bang for downtown Atlanta, and now talk of its potential is ubiquitous. Atlanta's often maligned core joined just eight other U.S. cities on the New York Times' widely acknowledged "52 Places to Go in 2014" list, and 11 Alive reports this week that tourism in Georgia is up 18 percent since the Recession, thanks largely to well-know attractions like the Georgia Aquarium. Everyone from the Hyatt Regency's PR team to the AJC's journalists has noted how 2014 is downtown's most transformative year since the 1996 Olympics. And now, in a can't-miss package of stories this week, Creative Loafing nods to the progress but steps back from the hyperbole to consider that, for instance, downtown doesn't even have a full-blown grocery store yet.
The alt-weekly taps 10 disparate voices for commentary on a simple question: "What will downtown Atlanta look like in a decade?" Most of the interviewees seem wildly optimistic: "Ten years from now, downtown is going to be one of the most vibrant and sexiest parts of the city to be in because of affordability," Mayor Kasim Reed told CL. And Mark Becker, Georgia State University president, seems to concur: "The Downtown residential population will increase significantly." Central Atlanta Progress president A.J. Robinson speaks of barriers that are MARTA stations, Underground Atlanta and government building facades, adding, "if we can get a couple of these things going, particularly Underground, I think you'll see a lot of activity down there." And Patrick Myers, the self-proclaimed "Mayor of Broad Street," thinks downtown will be "unbelievable" in a decade. "It's going to be like Little Five Points," Myers said. "The changeover is going to be like Kirkwood and places like that. You just have to start a little at a time."
· What will Downtown Atlanta look like in a decade? [CL]
· South Downtown Art Resurgence Continues With AJC Building [Curbed]
· Despite Delays, ATL Streetcar Anticipation Gets Palpable [Curbed]
· Georgia getting more promotion from ExploreGeorgia.org [11Alive]
· 52 Places to Go in 2014 [New York Times]
[ABOVE: A lively Broad Street. Photo: atlantarex.com]