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Is Downtown Atlanta Really a Millennial Magnet?

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Hey, it's no Fayette County. And that's a good thing

MONEY magazine raised eyebrows last year by anointing Atlanta the country's second-best city for millennials (just behind rival Austin), based on the prevalence of millennials in the ATL (26 percent of the population) and a relatively low cost of living, among other factors.

A recent piece by GlobeSt.com gets more specific, suggesting that downtown Atlanta is really the place for millennials to be now and in the future. Although some observers — including the Atlanta Hawks new owner — believe the city's core still has a long way to go.

For perspective, the website tapped Cushman & Wakefield’s Dean McNaughton, who recently helped lure millennial-magnet restaurants Tin Lizzy's, Panbury's, and Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken to The Mall at Peachtree Center.

McNaughton says a resurgence in neighborhoods surrounding downtown is now having a spillover effect, as evidenced by downtown apartment projects undertaken by heavyweights such as Post Properties and Paces Properties, who revamped and revitalized a vacant office building on Piedmont Avenue.

More and more companies that covet millennials (and who doesn't?) are looking toward office options such as Peachtree Center. Why? McNaughton says beyond the advent of new dining options, downtown offers sidewalks, bike lanes, streetcar service, after-work entertainment options such as Hawks games, and perhaps most importantly, five MARTA stations, including the transit system's largest.

"Transit is among the top priorities for companies," McNaughton told the website. "They want to attract the best quality employees, including millennials, and in order to do this they need to be in an environment where there are transportation options and the ability to commute without driving."

Otherwise, you're left with a place like Fayette County, which is hemorrhaging millennials faster than any other area in the country — and where the phrase "millennial drain" is a real thing.