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Can Real Housewives Work Magic on, um, Auburn Avenue?

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As any Atlantan knows, the Real Housewives of Atlanta set the trends in this city. So when season seven premiered this week featuring, of all things, Auburn Avenue, we knew immediately that improvements in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood would hit overdrive. Right? In fact, as though the neighborhood had a premonition for the show, things have been quickly morphing from rundown and abandoned to shiny and lively. Whether it's because of, or in spite of, the Real Housewives being there, there's $400 million of investments going on in the area. And that could be huge.

In its heyday, Auburn Avenue was the heart of the vibrant Sweet Auburn neighborhood. Following the pattern of decline in inner-city neighborhoods in the middle of the 20th Century, things turned bleak. And until recently, the area was characterized by poverty and dereliction. However, the neighborhood has a new lease on life and nothing short of a real estate boom, thanks in part to the flood of investment that's joined the big blue streetcars that now ply the avenue.

In part, the success of the neighborhood hinges on the area's rich history. Fortunately much of it is being saved through mounting preservation efforts, such as the push to save the old Trio Laundry Building at 20 Hillard Ave. in the 11th hour. The reuse of the historic Daily World building as apartments and retail gives a sense of the new Auburn Avenue. With a slated $14 million expansion and renovation of the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, things are really on the upswing.

But don't be confused. It's not the newly opened Atlanta Streetcar that's driving development of a neighborhood that had for too long been languishing. It's those real housewives and the reality show that so accurately portrays our city. In any case, the national spotlight will probably bring more good than harm. Or maybe not.

· Where Sweet Auburn meets 'Real Housewives' [CL]
· The Real Housewives' Effect on Atlanta's Real Estate Market [Curbed Atlanta]
· On Auburn Ave., Plans Continue for Real Estate Rebound [Curbed Atlanta]
· 'Daily World Apartments,' Retail Slated for Auburn Ave. [Curbed Atlanta]
· This Stunning Fulton Co. Library Just Opened. More are Coming. [Curbed Atlanta]