Atlanta Downtown Improvement District celebrates 20 years of community projects
By Craig Jones
Twenty years ago, a group of committed downtown property owners created one of the region’s first community improvement districts, the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, or as it has become more commonly known, ADID.
Founded by the leadership of Central Atlanta Progress in 1995, the organization is governed by a nine member board of directors, with six members being elected by downtown commercial property owners, two members being appointed by the mayor and council president, and one member being the council member whose council district encompasses the largest geographical area within the district.
ADID’s mission is to build a 21st century downtown as the heart of the Atlanta region, a vibrant community with strong leadership and sustainable infrastructure that is safe, livable, diverse, economically viable, accessible, clean, hospitable and entertaining. From its formation in 1995, ADID has played a significant role in shaping downtown. The results over the last two decades have led to a transformation of the core of the city into the workplace of 118,000 metro Atlantans, a place of learning for over 62,000 university students, home to over 23,000 residents, and a destination for over 22 million visitors each year.
I’m proud to report that our hard work is truly paying off, not just for downtown property owners, but for the broader regional population. As reported in a recent collaborative study commissioned by the ADID, the MID (Midtown) and the BID (Buckhead), to assess and highlight the economic impacts generated by the districts to the city of Atlanta, ADID is a major fiscal engine for the region. The goal of the analysis was to measure the importance of these three districts — both individually and collectively — to the economy of the city (primarily), the region, and the state of Georgia. In summary, ADID generates substantially more revenue for the city and Atlanta Public Schools than it consumes in services, generating a net fiscal surplus of $61.6 million to the city and schools combined.
In the last decade alone, ADID has invested more than $73 million in a long list of transformational initiatives, like the acclaimed Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge. Working with Mayor Kasim Reed and his Office of Sustainability, ADID launched the challenge in 2011 as part of a national sustainability program under the U.S. Department of Energy. We’ve garnered participation throughout our city and Atlanta has gained recognition from our national partners and peers. To date, over 400 buildings are participating with more than 94 million square feet. Atlanta is well on its way to meeting — and winning — the national challenge of 20 percent reduction in water and energy use by 2020.
ADID has always enjoyed a close relationship with city leadership and now as a co-funder of the Atlanta Streetcar project, that connection is even stronger. Through our successful public-private partnership, we are leveraging the Streetcar to foster significant investment and redevelopment along its corridor. Since the 2010 Streetcar funding announcement, more than $560 million in capital investment in 36 projects has been completed within a five-minute walk of the route. Another 11 projects worth $280 million are on track to be completed in 2015.
ADID has had an incredible impact on downtown Atlanta during our 20 year history. There’s no doubt that our organization is committed to the core of the city and is gearing up for our next 20 years.